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Federal review of Petersburg transit finds deficiencies

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A review of Petersburg Area Transit (PAT) done by the U.S. Department of Transportation began in January and wrapped up in early September.

The 24-page review highlights several area where PAT completed noteworthy projects, such as the addition of two new routes along with the purchase of a trolley bus, snow plow, two paratransit replacement buses and new shop equipment.

But the report also lists deficiencies ranging from PAT not having financial policies and procedures in place to effectively manage grant money to having excess cash problems.

The vehicle maintenance program is described in the report as inadequate citing "it was discovered PAT's facility/equipment maintenance program lacks mission critical, safety and security items."

There were deficiencies in terms of US DOT requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act including that "PAT does not monitor its ADA complementary paratransit service reservation and scheduling system for capacity constraints".

The report also said there was an unreported transit vehicle purchased.

And in terms of paying vendors, the report found about $600,000 in checks that were written, but then held instead of being sent to the vendors within three days.

All total,there are 13 items that need to be corrected and the information sent to the Federal Transit Administration by December 5.

Several members of Petersburg City Council said they were unaware of the Sept. 7 report until CBS 6 began inquiring about it.

Wednesday afternoon, the 24-page report had been sent to all members of council.

In a statement released to CBS 6, Acting City Manager Dironna Moore Belton says

"Petersburg Area Transit is working to remedy any corrective actions listed in the report by the deadline.  The Federal Transit Administration Review is a mechanism to ensure the agency meets FTA requirements by providing corrective actions to become a better agency".