Audit: GPS weight-mile data saves truckers money

POSTED: 12:43 PM PST December 12, 2013 
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SALEM, Ore. -

A new audit has determined that a private sector electronic system of collecting weight/mile data would save money for the trucking industry and the State Highway Fund, Secretary of State Kate Brown said Thursday.

The audit was conducted at the request of the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is considering the feasibility of using a global positioning device and cellular technology to capture and transmit operating data from trucks, and using it to determine how much the companies pay into the Highway Trust Fund.

"This is a great example of how state auditors can help government and business use cutting edge technology to save money and improve performance," Brown said. 

Brown praised ODOT Director Matt Garrett for seeking the audit to evaluate the system developed by the New Zealand-based EROAD, Inc. 

"Too often, auditors are brought in because something has gone wrong," she said. "Director Garrett's decision to have auditors review a pilot project before the state proceeded demonstrates just the kind of innovative thinking we need in government."

Oregon taxes commercial vehicles based on their weight and the number of miles they travel in order to calculate the true damage to the state's highways.

Taxes collected under the system totaled about $252 million in Fiscal Year 2012 -- about 15% of ODOT's revenues.

Weight/mile taxes go into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to build, improve and maintain the state's public highways, roads, streets and roadside rest areas.

About 277,000 trucks are registered to operate in the state, including more than 41,000 from Oregon-based companies.

In January, ODOT asked the Secretary of State's Audits Division to evaluate a pilot project that sought to test the accuracy and reliability of EROAD's services, which offered to cut down on costs and reduce errors by replacing a manual reporting system with an automated one. 

The audit team concluded that the services both accurately, reliably and securely reported weight/mile data.

The auditing team included William K. Garber, CGFM, Deputy Director; Neal E. Weatherspoon, CPA, CISA, CISSP, Audit Manager; Erika A. Ungern, CISA, Principal Auditor; Teresa L. Furnish, CISA, Senior Auditor; Amy M. Mettler, CPA, CGFM, Staff Auditor; and Matthew C. Owens, CISA, Staff Auditor.

The report, including the agency response, can be found at sos.oregon.gov/audits.