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11 CHAPTER 1 SUMMARY OF PREVIOUS SURVEYS AND LITERATURE REVIEW Before drafting survey questions, the research team vided insight into the challenges facing public entities prepar- reviewed previous surveys, existing literature, and current ing to implement GASB 34. studies on the approaches taken by state DOTs to comply The NASACT survey findings were that, of the 28 respon- with GASB 34 requirements. The research team (1) uncov- dents, approximately one-half (13) planned to implement the ered the strengths and weaknesses in previously conducted modified approach and an equal number of states planned to surveys and (2) integrated areas of concern for the DOTs into implement depreciation; two states were planning to imple- the draft survey. ment both methods. The NASACT survey and database provided a great deal of information about the states' most challenging issues. TENNESSEE DOT SURVEY--JUNE 2001 PB Consult's earlier participation in (1) the survey con- GEORGIA DOT SURVEY ducted by the Tennessee DOT and (2) the GASB 34 confer- ence sponsored by the Tennessee DOT provided valuable With 100 questions, the Georgia DOT survey explored insight into constructing a more comprehensive survey instru- many implementation issues in detail. The Georgia DOT sur- ment. Of the 37 responding states, close to 60% had decided vey provided useful indications for the NCHRP survey in on or were leaning toward the modified approach. This early anticipating the challenge states would have in developing a inclination toward the modified approach led the research team method to establish historical cost and current value. How- to incorporate many detailed questions about the mechanics ever, the pool of participating states was limited to 27. Of the of implementing the modified approach. However, because responding states, 14 (52%) anticipated that they would later at least 40% of the states anticipated implementing the depre- implement the modified approach for roads; 12 states (44%) ciation method, the research team balanced the NCHRP sur- anticipated that they would use the modified approach for vey with a broad array of detailed questions on depreciation bridges. as well. The Tennessee DOT survey provided an interesting back- drop to the results of the NCHRP survey. Although 60% of NCHRP SURVEY states were initially inclined toward implementing the mod- ified approach, this percentage decreased to 44% when the In performing the NCHRP survey, the research team states reported for the first time under their respective pro- gained important insights to further probe from the previ- grams for GASB 34 compliance. ous survey questions and results. Those areas included, but were not limited to, the following categories: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE AUDITORS, COMPTROLLERS, AND · Methods of classifying assets, TREASURERS SURVEY · Key issues by classifying asset, · Most challenging compliance issues, The research team studied a 2001 survey and an "Imple- · Innovative approaches by classifying asset, and mentation Database" originally developed in 1999 by the · Impact on departmental operations and finances. National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers (NASACT). The database was updated on a rolling As a result of this review and the research team's own basis as governments submitted questions and responses. The knowledge of asset management and GASB 34, the research database was set up as a clearinghouse for questions and pro- team identified several topics for further exploration. Mem- posed solutions that arose as states and localities began to bers of the research team independently proposed questions implement GASB 34. This review of these resources pro- to be asked in phone interviews with select DOTs. After a
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12 review process, the team used a final set of 14 questions to heading the GASB 34 implementation initiative had a differ- conduct phone interviews with 11 DOTs. The research team ent title. The research team reviewed these preliminary sur- conducted interviews lasting between 30 and 60 minutes, veys to determine additional issues not yet covered by the which produced additional insights to help develop the larger team and to word questions using terminology that was com- survey. Typically, the person interviewed was the DOT Chief mon and clear to those who would be responding to the longer Financial Officer (CFO), although in some cases the person survey.