Transportation Infrastructure Construction Project False Claims

One area that has not received the false claims attention it deserves is transportation infrastructure construction projects.

The False Claims Act applies to any federal contractor who directly or indirectly receives government funds. Transportation infrastructure projects are subject to the FCA because they involve substantial federal and state funding. Such projects include the construction or renovation of tunnels, bridges, highways, stations and ports, as well as publicly funded railroad capital improvements. For example, in the greater New York City area alone, a multitude of projects are underway at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Amtrak, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road, Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) and New Jersey Transit (see below for a partial list). The FCA applies to similar construction projects nationwide.

The purpose of the False Claims Act is to punish the dishonest use of government money and thus deter others from defrauding taxpayers. Examples of false claims include:

  • Falsely certifying a condition of payment
  • Billing for services not done or that are unnecessary
  • Overbilling
  • Billing for substandard goods or services
  • Failing to pay or refund money owed to the government

A six-year statute of limitations applies, so any false claims going back six years are fair game.

The FCA imposes triple damages and fines against the defrauding party and entitles the whistleblower relator to receive 15 to 30 percent of the total. However, FCA cases are fraught with hurdles and pitfalls. They can only be brought by an attorney on behalf of a whistleblower. Only the first relator to file can recover a bounty. The complaint must be filed under seal. And any public disclosure or breach of the seal can be fatal to a relator's case.

So here is the message to all the managers and employees involved in such transportation construction projects: Be on the lookout for potential false claims. If you have concrete information showing the misuse of federal or state money within the past six years, do not go public until you contact an experienced FCA attorney to ensure that you follow the special procedures of the FCA. Any discussion will be kept confidential, and any resulting FCA complaint will be filed under seal.

So remember, when confronted with evidence that taxpayer dollars are being lost to fraud or waste, do the right thing and call me to discuss your rights. You may receive a multimillion-dollar bounty for protecting taxpayer dollars.

Here are some examples of transportation infrastructure construction projects with the potential to generate FCA actions:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

  • Second Avenue subway line
  • Line 7 Extension to West Side
  • East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal
  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) third track
  • Metro-North Railroad access to Penn Station

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)

  • The Gateway Program trans Hudson River rail tunnel, also known as the Gateway Tunnel or the Hudson Tunnel Project
  • Expansion of PATH from Newark Penn Station to Newark Liberty International Airport's Air Link Station
  • LaGuardia Airport redevelopment
  • AirTrain LaGuardia
  • Portal Bridge North project
  • Goethals Bridge replacement project
  • Bayonne Bridge rebuilding
  • New Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan
  • George Washington Bridge overhaul and rehabilitation

Amtrak or National Railroad Passenger Corporation

  • Penn Station Post Office or Moynihan Station construction
  • Hudson River tunnels
  • Connecticut River Bridge
  • Niantic River Bridge
  • New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program
  • Portal Bridge replacement
  • Washington Union Station modernization

Know Your Rights

Before taking any action you may come to regret, contact attorney Charles Goetsch for a free initial consultation.