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Maryland Withholds Over $55.5M In Funding From WMATA Over 'Lack Of Cooperation'

ANNAPOLIS, MD. (WJZ) — The State of Maryland notified the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority that the state will withhold a partial payment because of a lack of cooperation to conduct financial audits, Gov. Hogan's office said Monday.

A February 2016 legislative audit of the Maryland Department of Transportation conducted between 2011 and 2015 found that "there was a lack of assurance that Maryland's portion of WMATA's allocated operating deficit and capital project costs was accurate and supported,"

In response to these findings, the MDOT Office of Audits tried to conduct an audit of WMATA's operating and capital subsidies for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

However, they said WMATA was unwilling to comply with these audits and refused to provide data requested for the purposes of auditing its FY17 capital program.

As a result, MDOT withheld $1,189,264 of the FY18 fourth quarter capital payment, they said in a release.

They also found a miscalculation in WMATA's operating fund formula, which resulted in a $1,256,224 reduction in payment to the operating subsidy. WMATA was to be paid once they complied with the audit requests for FY18, but they never did.

In FY2019, the MDOT Office of Audits again tried to complete a compliance audit of WMATA's operating subsidy and capital program-- however that audit has also not concluded, and MDOT said WMATA has refused to offer details on how they calculate the operating subsidy and has not provided the requested information on the capital program.

Consequently, the state of Maryland will be withholding $55,590,425 in capital funds that were due to be dispersed to WMATA on July 1.

The WMATA operating funds from the State of Maryland will not be impacted, they said.

Secretary Rahn, who is joining the WMATA board, wrote in a letter Monday, "This is the latest unfortunate, but necessary, step the State of Maryland believes it must take in response to an ongoing pattern of fiscal obfuscation and a lack of cooperation from WMATA."

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