Without any real public notice, Metro (Bi-State) has postponed the promised "end of the year" re-opening of the Forest Park Parkway. Many of us wonder what’s going on over there.
In the document offering bonds for sale to cover the cost-overruns of its Cross County extension project, Bi-State officials explain to prospective purchasers the agency’s view about a state audit being undertaken by Auditor Claire McCaskill:
"The Agency’s Board has consented to a financial audit, providing it is performed in conjunction with the Illinois Auditor General, but has raised questions regarding the authority of the State Auditor to conduct a performance audit of the Agency. The Agency has also expressed concerns about the potential impact an audit could have on its lawsuit against CCC. While St. Louis County, Missouri, had announced its intent to hire an engineering consultant to review the Agency’s plans for completion of the Project, the County has subsequently indicated to the Agency that it has decided not to require such a review."
I believe that Bi-State is making a serious mistake in trying to impose conditions on Missouri’s examination of the transportation agency’s financial records, structure, and decision-making. A “conditional audit” will — at best — win only conditional credibility for an agency that badly needs to regain voters’ trust. After all, the “performance audit” undertaken everyday by riders and detoured motorists is hardly reassuring.
I plan to talk to County elected officials about retaining an independent consultant. And I want to get a straight answer out of someone about the Forest Park Parkway.