Report finds emergency radio system upgrade still on budget
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A $45 million project to upgrade Pennsylvania’s emergency radio communications system is on time and within the budget, but the purchasing process has encountered some glitches, the state auditor general said Thursday.
A report released by Democratic Auditor General Eugene DePasquale identified errors in the bidding process but concluded they would not have changed the 2016 contract award. It also said there was inadequate documentation about the qualifications of people involved in awarding the contract.
The statewide radio project, known as PA STARNet, began with a $179 million expenditure in 1996 that developed into a massive boondoggle, eventually costing the state more than $850 million. It produced a system that was badly flawed, with poor reception, software problems, short battery life and reliability shortcomings.
Officials said the new open-standard P-25 radio system being implemented by Motorola Solutions Inc. is currently in operation in 45 of the state’s 67 counties, and will go into use in the Poconos-based state police troop in the coming week.
Capt. Sean Georgia with the state police’s Radio and Information Services Division said the new system has encountered issues related to interference from dash camera signals and compatibility with vehicles’ digital repeaters.
The new system is expected to be fully implemented by June 2021.
A state law signed in June requires the Pennsylvania inspector general’s office to investigate the statewide radio network project and make a report by the end of August.