HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — The Pennsylvania auditor general’s office says a $45 million project to upgrade emergency radio communications system in Pennsylvania is on time and within the budget.

But the report issued Thursday also says the purchasing process has encountered some glitches, including errors in the bidding process and inadequate documentation about the qualifications of people involving in awarding the contract.

“My team found that the State Police and Office of Administration followed all applicable procedures in the latest radio system upgrade, which had a price tag of $44.5 million,” DePasquale said in a press release.

“Importantly, the new system will use some of the existing infrastructure such as towers and microwave relays, so taxpayers did not have to buy those items all over again.”

DePasquale thanked State Police and the Office of Administration for their cooperation throughout the audit.

Both agencies said they agree with and accept all of his audit team’s findings and recommendations, which include better documenting final operational tests of the new system.

“Given the history of problems involving the old system, I believe State Police should go above and beyond to document that the new system is working as designed,” DePasquale added.

“Our emergency responders and the residents they protect deserve nothing less.”

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.

Its poor reception, software problems, short battery life and reliability shortcomings led to the current upgrade project that auditors reviewed.

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