Transport infrastructure projects. Performance Audit

The Icelandic National Audit Office recommends that the authorities examine the possibility of changing the organisation of transport infrastructure matters so as to transfer all administrative powers in this field to an independent public body. A second body would be assigned the management of all transport infrastructure projects and a third the responsibility of operating and maintaining transport installations. At the same time, independent of such changes, rules and methods must be developed which will lead to greater economy and efficiency in transport infrastructure projects than has previously been the case.
The performance audit of the National Audit Office Transport infrastructure projects is directed at the organisation and management of the Icelandic Road Administration (ICERA) and the Icelandic Maritime Administration (IMA) as well as the transport infrastructure projects carried out by these bodies and ISAVIA. In addition, attention is focused on possible changes to the organisation of transport matters that apply to the above public bodies as well as to the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (ICAA) and the Road Traffic Directorate.

The reports reveals that the organisational charts of ICERA and IMA are for the most part logically constructed, although ICERA has not been as successful as it should in the implementation of its chart. Furthermore, the operation of these bodies has been, almost without exception, within budget appropriations. Both have focused on developing quality systems, and a proportion of IMA’s operation has received quality certification. However, the National Audit Office is of the opinion that national transport policies are changed too extensively and too rapidly, which tends to have a negative effect on project preparations. Furthermore, increased attention must be brought to assessing and taking account of project profitability and ensuring better management of cost estimates in all preparatory stages.

The Icelandic National Audit Office recommends that the authorities examine the possibility of changing the organisation of transport infrastructure issues so as to transfer all administrative powers in this field to an independent public body. Such body would take over the administrative tasks performed by ICERA and IMA as well as tasks performed by the ICAA and the Road Traffic Directorate. Furthermore, a second body would be assigned the management of all transport infrastructure projects, i.e. developing and preparing a transport policy and managing the implementation of such policy on its approval by the Althingi, including the design of installations, preparation of cost estimates, tendering projects and monitoring projects. This body would take over tasks performed by IMA, ICERA, ISAVIA and the Ministry of Communications. Finally a third public body would be assigned the operation and maintenance of transport infrastructure installations, i.e. the road system and airports, as well as related installations, such as lighthouses and information systems that manage aircraft and shipping traffic. Such body would take over tasks performed by IMA, ICERA and ISAVIA.

In addition to such changes, the National Audit Office is of the opinion that it is important to formulate rules and methods that encourage greater economy and efficiency in transport infrastructure projects than is currently the case. These include greater discipline in the implementation of the transport policy to minimise deviations from the policy and more detailed analysis of different options, where, among other things, account would be taken of the initial costs of the project, maintenance and operating costs, road capacity, shortening of travel time, weather conditions, accident frequency and regional interests. Furthermore, clearer standards on road construction must be established and an effort made to follow such standards. Also, economy of size must be utilised more efficiently than is currently the case. Finally, the National Audit Office is of the opinion that pollution prevention should be the responsibility of IMA or a new public body for transport issues in the event of the establishment of such a body.