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New audit finds that electronic reporting system would save money for truckers and highways

New audit finds that electronic reporting system would save money for truckers and highways

Before deciding on a new approach, ODOT asked state auditors to review the performance of a company’s device

SALEM – A new audit has determined that a private sector electronic system of collecting weight/mile data would save money for the trucking industry and the State Highway Fund. The audit was conducted at the request of the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is considering a public-private partnership with a company that uses a global positioning device and cellular technology to capture and transmit operating data from trucks that is used to determine how much the companies pay into the Highway Trust Fund.

“This is a great example of how state auditors can help government and business use cutting edge technology to save money and improve performance,” said Secretary of State Kate Brown.

Secretary Brown praised ODOT Director Matt Garrett for seeking the audit before deciding to partner with the New Zealand-based EROAD, Inc.

“Too often, auditors are brought in because something has gone wrong. Director Garrett’s decision to have auditors review a pilot project before the state entered into a partnership demonstrates just the kind of innovative thinking we need in government.”

Oregon taxes commercial vehicles based on their weight and the number of miles they travel in order to calculate the true damage to the state’s highways. Taxes collected under the system totalled about $252 million in Fiscal Year 2012 – about 15% of ODOT’s revenues. Weight/mile taxes go into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to build, improve and maintain the state’s public highways, roads, streets and roadside rest areas.

About 277,000 trucks are registered to operate in the state, including more than 41,000 from Oregon-based companies.

In January, ODOT asked the Secretary of State’s Audits Division to evaluate a pilot project that sought to test the accuracy and reliability of EROAD’s services, which offered to cut down on costs and reduce errors by replacing a manual reporting system with an automated one.

The audit team concluded that the services both accurately, reliably and securely reported weight/mile data.

The auditing team included William K. Garber, CGFM, Deputy Director; Neal E. Weatherspoon, CPA, CISA, CISSP, Audit Manager; Erika A. Ungern, CISA, Principal Auditor; Teresa L. Furnish, CISA, Senior Auditor; Amy M. Mettler, CPA, CGFM, Staff Auditor; and Matthew C. Owens, CISA, Staff Auditor.

The report, including the agency response, can be found at sos.oregon.gov/audits.

Tony Green
Written by Tony Green

Tony is the principal media contact for the Secretary of State's office. He joined the office in January, 2013. Previously, he worked in the Chief Operating Officer's office and the Department of Justice. For nearly 22 years, he worked as a reporter for The Oregonian covering legal issues, politics and crime.