An audit of the Georgia Department of Transportation has not only revealed a deficit of $456 million, but that its right-of-way office, which acquires land for road development, has forced people to sell their land and then let it languish. DOT doesn’t even know how much land it owns.
In one case, for a project on Ga. 316 and Ga. 81 in 1999, DOT told a man it needed land that he had bought less than six months before, intending to build a gas station.
It usually takes years for a project to arrive at the construction stage, and the man asked DOT if it would let him build his station and make what profit he could until the agency was ready to build its ramps.
DOT refused, saying the project was “imminent,” and condemned his land.
“Eight years later, GDOT continues to have no formal construction plans for the project and the project is not on GDOT’s Long Range Program,” according to the audit.
The audit also revealed that 52% of the people that fought the DOT appraisal of their property that was being taken ultimately received higher compensation calling in to question the qualifications of DOT appraisers.
DOT’s press release concerning the audit can be found here.