Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/11/2013 07:01:36 PM PDT

The San Bernardino Valley’s public busing service, Omnitrans, violated multiple federal guidelines in awarding contracts for its sbX Rapid Transit Bus line, including one no-bid contract worth $15 million and another that included a 15 percent markup on all change orders, according to a Federal Transit Administration audit.

The contracts and how they were awarded and managed are in violation of federal guidelines for the procurement of grant monies for major transportation projects, according to the audit, called a procurement system review, conducted between April 15 and 18 and made public last week.

The sbX line is being constructed between north San Bernardino and Loma Linda. Service is expected to begin early next year.

Omnitrans board members will discuss findings from the audit at its meeting on today, Omnitrans spokeswoman Wendy Williams said in an email Friday.

In response to the 19 deficiencies cited by the FTA in its sbX audit, Omnitrans disagreed with some and agreed with others, including the awarding of what is called a cost-plus-percentage of cost contract, which is forbidden by the FTA for projects it awards grants for.

A cost-plus contract is one in which a contractor is covered by the hiring agency for the cost of the project plus a tacked-on percentage to allow for additional profit.

“Omnitrans agrees with this assessment and has already initiated a contract amendment,” Omnitrans stated in its response included in the audit.

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