The Recovery Act requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the use of ARRA funds by states and localities every two months. Its reports are below:
October 15, 2012
Recovery Act: Most DOE Cleanup Projects Are Complete, but Project Management Guidance Could Be Strengthened
From October 2009 through March 2012, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and working on Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) cleanup projects peaked at about 11,000 FTEs in the quarter ending September 2010, according to data on the federal government's Recovery Act website. By the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, as projects were completed, FTEs had decreased to about 1,400 FTEs; 12 of 17 sites reported no Recovery Act FTEs; and about $5.6 billion of a total $6 billion in Recovery Act funds had been spent. According to EM data, as of April 30, 2012, 78 of the 112 Recovery Act-funded cleanup projects were complete, and 72 of the 78 projects met DOE's performance standard of completing project work scope without exceeding the cost target by more than 10 percent.
GAO Highlights (PDF 96 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.62 MB)
June 18, 2012
Recovery Act: Housing Programs Met Spending Milestones, but Asset Management Information Needs Evaluation
Almost all public housing authorities (PHA) met their spending deadlines for the Public Housing Capital Fund formula and competitive grant programs. As mandated, all but one PHA spent 100 percent of their formula grants by March 17, 2012. According to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials, PHAs with competitive grants were on track to meet their September 2012 spending deadlines. PHAs we interviewed cited various challenges to meeting the grant deadlines, such as the tight time frames and many attributed their ability to meet deadlines to good planning within their organizations and help from HUD. According to analyses of HUD data, about 3,100 PHAs planned to undertake improvements with their formula grants that affected about 495,000 housing units. Many used their grants to make improvements that enhanced energy efficiency, such as installing energy-efficient windows and appliances. GAO determined that HUD’s monitoring strategy for these programs incorporated key internal controls, such as developing and implementing measures that allowed HUD staff to compare actual with planned results. At specific sites that GAO visited, PHAs were able to demonstrate work was under way or had been completed.
GAO Highlights (PDF 84 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.37 MB)
December 16, 2011
Recovery Act: Progress and Challenges in Spending Weatherization Funds
As of September 2011, the 58 state-level grant recipients were awarded approximately $4.75 billion from DOE to implement the Weatherization Assistance Program under the Recovery Act and reported spending about $3.46 billion (about 73 percent). DOE expects to meet or exceed its production target of 607,000 homes and spend most of the act’s funds because some recipients have been able to exceed their production targets because of a lower average cost of weatherizing homes and lower training and technical assistance expenses than anticipated. In response to GAO’s prior recommendation that DOE clarify production targets and funding deadlines, among other things, DOE officials provided documentation showing actions taken concerning targets but failed to provide clarification of the consequences for not meeting the targets.
GAO Highlights (PDF 104 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.81 MB)
September 22, 2011
Recovery Act Education Programs: Funding Retained Teachers, but Education Could More Consistently Communicate Stabilization Monitoring Issues
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided $70.3 billion for three education programs--the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF); Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I); and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B. One goal of the Recovery Act was to save and create jobs, and SFSF also requires states to report information expected to increase transparency and advance educational reform. This report responds to two ongoing GAO mandates under the Recovery Act. It examines (1) how selected states and local recipients used the funds; (2) what plans the Department of Education (Education) and selected states have to assess the impact of the funds; (3) what approaches are being used to ensure accountability of the funds; and (4) how Education and states ensure the accuracy of recipient reported data. To conduct this review, GAO gathered information from 14 states and the District of Columbia, conducted a nationally representative survey of local educational agencies (LEA), interviewed Education officials, examined recipient reports, and reviewed relevant policy documents.
GAO Highlights (PDF 88 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.81 MB)
June 29, 2011
Recovery Act: Funds Supported Many Water Projects, and Federal and State Monitoring Shows Few Compliance Problems
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided $4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and $2 billion for the agency's Drinking Water SRF. The Recovery Act requires GAO to review funds made available under the act and comment on recipients' reports of jobs created and retained. These jobs are reported as full-time equivalent (FTE) positions on a Web site created for the Recovery Act on http://www.Recovery.gov. GAO examined the (1) status and use of Recovery Act SRF program funds nationwide and in nine states; (2) EPA and state actions to monitor the act's SRF program funds; (3) EPA and selected states' approaches to ensure data quality, including for jobs reported by recipients of the act's funds; and (4) challenges, if any, that states have faced in implementing the act's requirements. For this work, GAO, among other things, obtained and analyzed EPA nationwide data on the status of Recovery Act clean and drinking water funds and projects and information from a nonprobability sample of nine states that represent all but 1 of EPA's 10 regions. GAO also interviewed EPA and state officials on their experiences with the Recovery Act SRF program funds.
GAO Highlights (PDF 84 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.15 MB)
June 29, 2011
Recovery Act: Funding Used for Transportation Infrastructure Projects, but Some Requirements Proved Challenging
This report responds to two GAO mandates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). It is the latest report on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in selected states and localities, focusing on the $48.1 billion provided to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to invest in transportation infrastructure. This report also examines the quality of recipients' reports about the jobs created and retained with Recovery Act transportation funds. This report addresses the (1) status, use, and outcomes of Recovery Act transportation funding nationwide and in selected states; (2) actions taken by federal, state, and other agencies to monitor and ensure accountability for those funds; (3) changes in the quality of jobs data reported by Recovery Act recipients of transportation funds over time; and (4) challenges faced and lessons learned from DOT and recipients. GAO analyzed DOT and recipient reported data; reviewed federal legislation, guidance, and reports; reviewed prior work and other studies; and interviewed DOT, state, and local officials.
GAO Highlights (PDF 76 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 893 KB)
April 7, 2011
Recovery Act: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Recipients Face Challenges Meeting Legislative and Program Goals and Requirements
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided $3.2 billion for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) to develop and manage projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions. The Recovery Act requires GAO to review funds made available under the act and to comment on recipients’ estimates of jobs created or retained.
GAO Highlights (PDF 92 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.05MB)
December 15, 2010
Recovery Act: Head Start Grantees Expand Services, but More Consistent Communication Could Improve Accountability and Decisions about Spending
This report responds to two mandates for GAO under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). First, it is the latest report on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in selected states and localities. Second, it comments on recipients' reports of the jobs created and retained. The Recovery Act provided $2.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, primarily to expand services. GAO addressed four questions: (1) How have Head Start and Early Head Start grantees used Recovery Act funds, including for expanding enrollment? (2) What challenges have grantees encountered in spending Recovery Act funds? (3) How has the Office of Head Start (OHS) monitored the use of Recovery Act funds? (4) How has the quality of jobs data reported by Recovery Act recipients, particularly Head Start grantees, changed over time? In this report, GAO also updates the status of open recommendations from previous bimonthly and recipient reporting reviews. To address these questions, GAO interviewed grantees, analyzed federal agency and recipient reported data, and interviewed officials.
GAO Highlights (PDF 84 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.35 MB)
September 20, 2010
Recovery Act: Opportunities to Improve Management and Strengthen Accountability over States' and Localities' Uses of Funds
As of September 3, 2010, about $154.8 billion of the approximately $282 billion of total funds made available by the Recovery Act in 2009 for programs administered by states and localities had been paid out by the federal government. GAO's latest report in its ongoing series continues to focus on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in 16 selected states and the District of Columbia and also reports on jobs estimated in recipient reports. GAO makes 5 new recommendations to federal agencies to improve management and strengthen accountability and updates the status of agencies' efforts to implement GAO's 58 previous recommendations.
GAO Highlights (PDF 80 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 4.83 MB)
May 26, 2010
Recovery Act: States' and Localities' Uses of Funds and Actions Needed to Address Implementation Challenges and Bolster Accountability
As of May 7, 2010, $114.8 billion, or 41 percent of the approximately $282 billion of total Recovery Act funds for programs administered by states and localities, had been paid out by the federal government. GAO's report is the latest in a series on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in 16 selected states and in the District of Columbia. The report also responds to GAO's mandate to comment on the jobs estimated in recipient reports. In addition, the report updates the status of efforts by various federal agencies to implement GAO's previous recommendations and makes 24 new recommendations to improve management and strengthen accountability.
GAO Highlights (PDF 92 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 8.33 MB)
Mar. 3, 2010
Recovery Act: One Year Later, States' and Localities' Uses of Funds and Opportunities to Strengthen Accountability
As of February 12, 2010, $88.7 billion, or a little more than 30 percent, of the approximately $282 billion of total Recovery Act funds for programs administered by states and localities had been paid out by the federal government. GAO's latest report is its fifth on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in 16 selected states and in the District of Columbia. It is also the second GAO report commenting on jobs created or retained as reported by recipients of Recovery Act funds. In addition, the report updates the status of efforts by various federal agencies to implement GAO's 23 previous recommendations and makes 5 new recommendations to improve accountability.
GAO Highlights (PDF 100 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 2.12 MB)
Dec. 10, 2009
One-Quarter of Recovery Act Funds Administered by States and Localities Has Been Paid Out
In its fourth report, GAO found that as of November 27, 2009, $69.1 billion, or about one quarter of the approximately $280 billion of total Recovery Act funds for programs administered by states and localities, had been paid out. GAO's work continues to focus on selected states' and localities' uses of and accountability for the Recovery Act funds. GAO also updates the status of federal agencies' efforts to implement prior GAO recommendations to help address a range of accountability issues.
GAO Highlights (PDF 216 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 3.89 MB)
Nov. 19, 2009
Recipient Reports: Good Initial Efforts to Ensure Accurate Reporting but Significant Data Quality Issues Need Addressing
GAO’s first review of recipient reported jobs data found that while the recipients GAO contacted appear to have made good faith efforts to ensure complete and accurate reporting, GAO’s fieldwork and initial review and analysis of recipient data from www.recovery.gov, indicate that there are a range of significant reporting and quality issues that need to be addressed. GAO recommended steps OMB should take in continuing to work with federal agencies to increase recipients’ understanding of the jobs (full-time-equivalent) reporting requirements and guidance. GAO also recommended that OMB should work with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and federal agencies to re-examine quality assurance processes, procedures, and requirements in light of identified data quality issues in the first round of recipient reporting.
GAO Highlights (PDF 160 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.14 MB)
Sept. 23, 2009
GAO Issues Report on Recovery Act Funds: Need for Accountability and Reporting Challenges to Be Fully Addressed
In its third bimonthly report, GAO found that as of September 11, 2009, the Department of the Treasury had outlayed about $48 billion of the estimated $49 billion in Recovery funds to states and localities in federal Fiscal Year 2009. GAO reviewed selected states' and localities' uses of, accountability for, and evaluations of the impact of the Recovery Act funds. GAO will make recommendations to federal agencies administering the Recovery programs on how to address accountability and transparency issues and to the Office of Management and Budget regarding clearer accountability for recipient financial data and timely notification of funding provided within a state.
GAO Highlights (PDF 89 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 1.66 MB)
July 8, 2009
GAO Issues Report on States' and Localities' Uses of Recovery Act Funds While Facing Fiscal Stresses
For this second bimonthly report, GAO focused on nine federal programs that are expected to account for approximately 87 percent of Recovery Act funding to states and localities in Fiscal Year 2009. GAO looked at selected states' and localities' current and planned use of these Recovery funds, along with their approaches for ensuring accountability of the funds received, and evaluating the impact of the funds. The report recommended several ways to improve the monitoring of Recovery Act programs at the state level, such as:
- The Office of Management and Budget should leverage Single Audits as an oversight tool for evaluating Recovery Act programs. The Single Audit Act requires state and local governments and nonprofit organizations receiving more than $500,000 in federal awards in a year to obtain an audit.
- Congress should consider a mechanism to help fund the additional costs and efforts for auditing Recovery Act programs.
GAO Highlights (PDF 129 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 5.8 MB)
April 28, 2009
GAO Issues First Report on Recovery Act Accountability
The Recovery Act calls for $280 billion to be administered through states and localities. The Act requires the GAO to do bimonthly reviews of the use of funds by selected states and localities. In this first report, GAO describes selected states' and localities' uses and planning of Recovery Act funds, accountability approaches, and plans to evaluate the impact of funds received. GAO's work is focused on 16 states and the District of Columbia—representing about 65 percent of the U.S. population and two-thirds of the intergovernmental federal assistance available through the Recovery Act. The report makes recommendations to strengthen accountability for these funds.
GAO Highlights (PDF 126 KB) GAO Full Report (PDF 2.6 MB)