There's one thing on which Gov. Kate Brown and legislative leaders in both parties agree—they all badly want to pass a transportation-funding package in the 2017 legislative session that opened today.
"Our economy and the safety of our communities cannot wait," Brown said in a statement of her agenda last month.
But Joe Cortright, a Portland economist who's been a longtime critic of the Oregon Department of Transportation, says a new audit of the agency timed to give lawmakers confidence in its operations is "worse than useless."
In particular, Cortright says, the audit produced by McKinsey & Co. purports to assess whether ODOT can complete projects on time and on budget—but omits the agency's biggest screw-ups from its analysis.
"This would be rather like the White Star Line reporting the on-time arrivals of its ships traveling between London and New York with a footnote saying "This data doesn't include the indefinitely delayed arrival of RMS Titanic," Cortright writes.
ODOT's effectiveness is important because the agency would be responsible for spending the $400 to $500 million or more lawmakers and Brown hope raise this session.
The Oregon Transportation Commission will meet on Feb. 2 at 10 am for a special meeting to review the audit.