GAO says WMATA's SafeTrack project planning was weak

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WASHINGTON — More than halfway into its year-long safety blitz, the Government Accountability Office says the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority SafeTrack program “does not align with leading project management practices.”

The report, published March 14, says that WMATA did not have an adequate project management process in place before embarking on SafeTrack.

SafeTrack, which is still under way, is intended to complete long-neglected infrastructure repairs and safety upgrades on the Metrorail system that have drawn severe criticism from the federal government and the private sector.

The GAO said that Metro's inspections and data analysis were incomplete. While WMATA developed three alternatives for SafeTrack, it did not determine which would be most efficient, cost-effective, and least disruptive to passengers. However, the government watchdog agency noted that WMATA was under pressure to get its infrastructure into a state of good repair.

WMATA General Manager acknowledged the GAO's summary, and said the agency is already working to address the recommendations. He added that the report didn't reflect the dire circumstances under which SafeTrack was launched.

“We are concerned that the report does not accurately reflect the urgent safety state that demanded that we move as quickly as possible to start SafeTrack,” Wiedefeld said in a letter. “The report does not clearly express the true level of crisis the agency was facing almost one year ago.”

The GAO's report is available online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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