Saturday, 2:15 PM
Auditor's report: MBTA wasted $15.4 million on Charlie Card system
By Globe Staff
The MBTA wasted $15.4 million because of inadequate planning and oversight of the design of the CharlieCard automated fare collection system, State Auditor Joe DeNucci's office said today.
The system was originally supposed to cost $75 million. The authority paid another $19 million for change orders authorizing work that wasn't originally specified in the contract, said auditor's spokesman Glenn Briere.
DeNucci's office questioned $15.4 million of the change orders, which were authorized between 2003 and 2008. It also said the change orders had delayed the implementation of the system by a year, losing the MBTA the opportunity to save another $2.9 million in revenue by eliminating fare evasions.
"This is another example of a multimillion-dollar project costing more than it should because there wasn't enough oversight," DeNucci said in a statement. "The taxpayers and the MBTA's riders are paying for that extra cost. In the future, the T management should provide more oversight of the design process and make sure that its contractors live up to their obligations."
MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas said he had taken over the authority in May 2005 and installed new leadership on the project in August 2005. "While there may be disagreements over particular matters, the general finding that there should have been improved communication, coordination and oversight during the development of the design specifications is consistent with my observations," he said in a statement.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo also emphasized that the CharlieCard system had been a success. He said it captured $13.5 million in its first year of operation that would have "leaked" from the old fare collection system.