Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority

Capital Planning Practices: Rochester Central Station

The Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority provides public transit services and mandated services for the disabled in and around the City of Rochester and in four adjacent counties. In 1999, the Authority’s Board of Commissioners approved the construction of a Rochester Central Station to help meet customer service goals established in the Authority’s Strategic Plan. Plans for the Station include an underground bus bay area, access to retail services and connections to other transportation. At the time of our audit, however, the Authority had yet to break ground on the Station, despite having spent more than five years in planning the project, and having paid consultants nearly $4.5 million for planning/design services.

In evaluating Authority capital planning practices, we found the Authority undertook the Station project without adequately documenting the need for a Station or analyzing the project’s economic benefits. For example, the Authority conducted only a limited study to assess customer demand, and decided on an underground bus staging area without the approval of its Board of Commissioners, and without analyzing this feature’s feasibility or cost. Since this major scope change increased estimated construction cost by 78 percent, the Authority opted to defray future operating cost by planning for a public/private economic development project rather than a stand-alone Station. However, the Authority made this decision based on unreliable operating revenue factors and incomplete documentation of estimated operating cost. Since the project cost now exceeds available federal and State funds, the Authority plans to finance the difference with existing reserves and a future bond. We recommended the Authority improve capital planning practices for the Station and for future capital projects.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-S-34 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.