Barcode scanners are being used to track trucks cleaning up the debris along the northeast coast left by Hurricane Sandy. The system is used by municipalities to track the trucks, which eliminates the chance contracting companies falsely report the resources and time they spend cleaning up the mess - as some did after Hurricane Katrina.
At the time Katrina hit, a civil engineering firm won a $200 million contract to clean up the wreckage in six Mississippi counties after the storm, the article stated. The company used a subcontractor and the subcontractor's trucks to haul away the debris, and was using paper tickets to track the trucks. The owner of the subcontracting company, however, peeled off the tickets, and sent trucks back to get ticketed again, which falsely inflated the number of trucks used and the volume of debris hauled. By the time the owner of the trucking company was caught, he had submitted more than $700,000 worth of paper tickets, federal prosecutors found.
To avoid that happening after Sandy, a system has been implemented that electronically tracks trucks and sends the information back to a central database, Reuters reported.
"I've been in debris-removal projects all over the country - Florida, California, Texas, Virginia - huge hurricanes, wildfires, floods,'' said Russ Towndrow, a former Mississippi Emergency Management Agency official, according to Reuters. "This real time data is a game-change."
Hurricane Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage to state infrastructure. New York officials said the state will need $41.9 billion to repair damaged houses, parks and other infrastructure, and New Jersey needs $29.4 billion for damage to its transit system and coastline, Reuters reported.