Transportation Infrastructure

Department of Transportation Highway and Mass Transit Program Reauthorization Proposals Gao ID: T-RCED-91-26 April 18, 1991

GAO discussed the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA), the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and proposed legislation concerning future federal transportation spending, consolidation of highway programs, increased funding for mass transit and highways, and the outlook for highway safety. GAO noted that: (1) highway and highway safety program funding would experience growth in the next 5 years, while transit funding would decline; (2) for fiscal years (FY) 1992 and 1996, the administration proposed authorizations of $89.1 billion for highways and highway safety programs and $16.3 billion for mass transit; (3) between FY 1981 and 1991, federal funding for transit assistance declined in real terms by about 50 percent; (4) pressures for reducing the budget deficit lessened the prospects of obtaining large increases in transportation program funding levels; (5) proposed reductions in federal matching shares for highway and transit projects should be phased in, since some state and local governments could have difficulty in raising the matching funds; (6) the consolidation of program categories into a more flexible system would allow states to customize their spending of federal funds; and (7) the administration could do more to ensure that states addressed issues concerning interstate preservation and deficient bridges, eliminate biases that favor highway project construction selection over mass transit, and strengthen FHwA enforcement of motor carrier safety.

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