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16 CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDY OVERVIEW PROCEDURES Following the interviews, the research team prepared a summary of the remarks and provided these to each state for Case study interviews were conducted with six state review and comment. All comments suggested by the states DOTs--three (i.e., Michigan, Tennessee, and Washington) were accepted and incorporated into the reports, as reflected were modified approach states, two (i.e., South Carolina and in Appendix F to this report (which is available in NCHRP Vermont) selected the depreciation approach, and one (i.e., Web Document 63). Texas) used both approaches for different major asset classes. Four of the interviews (i.e., South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington) were conducted on site during all- OVERVIEW day sessions. In the interest of economy, two interviews (i.e., Michigan and Vermont) were conducted via extended con- The selection of approach--modified or depreciation-- ference calls. To facilitate comparison of the interview results, was influenced by many factors, but the most important appears a structured question-and-answer format, tied to survey top- to be the maturity of the DOT's asset management informa- ics, was developed by the research team. A generic version tion system. Those DOTs with information systems in place that generated the information necessary to support the mod- of this interview structure was previously submitted to the ified approach tended to select that approach; absent such sys- NCHRP panel for review and comment. The panel approved tems, the depreciation approach was preferred. the structure with some comments and suggestions, which The detailed questionnaires that follow this section address were incorporated into the document. Individualized inter- a wide range of GASB 34 implementation issues, while this view structures were then developed for each of the six states, overview focuses on seven issues judged to be of particular tied to each state's specific responses to the electronic survey. interest: The individualized interview questions were then trans- mitted to each of the states at least 2 weeks before the inter- Implementation procedure/organization--each of the view date to permit them to conduct any necessary research interviewed DOTs had some involvement with central and to identify the appropriate personnel to take part. For the state finance entities (e.g., comptroller's office, division on-site interviews, the research team conducted a series of of finance and administration, or state auditor), but in all sessions with each of the Department offices involved in cases the DOT's infrastructure assets represented the GASB 34 implementation and met with a representative from overwhelming majority of the state total. The DOTs pri- the State Comptroller's Office or other member from the cen- marily relied on internal committees to conduct the work tral state government. These sessions were generally con- with little or no contribution from new hires or consul- ducted without monitoring from the Department finance office tants. An early start was generally deemed to be critical in order to encourage a candid expression of views. Other to success, with 18 months prior to the close of FY02 office representatives were asked only those questions that the typical beginning date. affected their areas of responsibility. Determination of condition targets--for modified Although the interviews benefited from the structure of approach states, the calculation of meaningful condition prepared questions, the research team did not rigidly follow targets was a key step in the process, and various meth- this format. If a topic was of particular interest to a state rep- ods were employed. Different condition targets were resentative or that participant's state had employed an espe- adopted for the two principal asset classes, roads and cially noteworthy approach, the researchers tried to follow bridges; targets were not established for other asset that discussion wherever it might lead. It was thought that the classes. Fiscal constraint was an important aspect in particulars thus obtained were more important than ensuring determining these targets in order to ensure that they that each particular question was rigidly addressed by each were realistic. state. All interviews were conducted by at least two, and Estimated cost to achieve targets--linking targeted sometimes three, members of the research team. On the DOT conditions to required expenditures is problematic for side, participants ranged in number from 2 to 10. the modified approach states. The principal difficulties