$1.3 million in city bills for terminal questioned

$1.3 million in city bills for terminal questioned

By Kelly Yamanouchi The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 5:57 a.m. Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Atlanta sent the federal government $1.3 million in "questionable" reimbursement requests for baggage screening construction at the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, a federal inspector general’s report found.

The city and the Transportation Security Administration, which runs screening operations, say they are working to respond to the report. A city spokeswoman said Atlanta has compiled supporting documents for the invoices.

The report concerns $13 million in federal money allotted to cover 90 percent of the costs of the checked baggage inspection system at the terminal, which opened May 16.

The city, which owns the airport and managed the terminal project, sought the money as reimbursement for costs of putting in the system.

A review by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found about $11.5 million in reimbursement invoices were proper. It questioned about $1.3 million of invoiced costs.

The report said the billings were based on the maximum that could be invoiced for the costs, rather than actual costs incurred. The amounts — $916,914 for design services and $437,826 for project and construction management — were not supported by accounting records, the report said.

The TSA has until June 30 to file its response to the inspector general’s report, issued in March. The agency said it has analyzed documentation provided by the city but has not yet determined its response.

The inspector general’s report said the issue will remain unresolved until the TSA gives a written response with either documentation of corrective actions or targeted completion dates.

Sonji Jacobs, a spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, said the inspector general’s report was "favorable" overall, noting it concludes the city properly submitted quarterly reports, paid prevailing wages and used American iron, steel and manufactured goods as required for the project.

The $1.4 billion terminal was funded primarily through bonds backed by future airport revenue and passenger facility fees, along with federal money.

Find this article at: http://www.ajc.com/news/1-3-million-in-1457111.html

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