UPDATE: Audit finds $100,000 MDOT gravel study had too much industry influence and was not a good use of tax dollars
Auditors say the Michigan Department of Transportation gave the gravel industry considerable influence in the commissioning and scoping of a state-paid study on whether Michigan has enough aggregates to do future highway construction projects.
The investigative audit released Friday says the industry influence may have undermined the study's credibility because the industry wants to expand the mining of mineral aggregates. The Office of Auditor General says the transportation agency inappropriately split the study in two to circumvent maximum contract amounts, did not ensure that contractors did what was required and the $100,000 study had "limited usefulness."
In June, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Michigan Aggregates Association was behind the study that gravel companies point to when wanting to open or expand mines that are opposed by neighbors.