Transportation Infrastructure

Preserving the Nation's Investment in the Interstate Highway System Gao ID: RCED-91-147 August 2, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined: (1) the condition of the Interstate Highway System; and (2) federal and state efforts to ensure its preservation.

GAO found that: (1) the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) noted that over 40 percent of all interstate pavement was rated in fair or poor condition; (2) interstate conditions are not expected to improve beyond 1989 levels because future interstate investment needs significantly exceed funding levels, interstate capacity-enhancement needs will increasingly compete with preservation needs, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) has no goals for minimally acceptable interstate pavement conditions; (3) adequate and timely preventive maintenance could delay costly pavement reconstruction; (4) highways in four of the seven states GAO reviewed had significant maintenance backlogs that could adversely affect the structural integrity of roadways and bridges and the safety of the motoring public; (5) FHwA has not developed measurable criteria or standards for assessing the adequacy of state maintenance and weaknesses in the FHwA inspection process further weakened its oversight of state maintenance efforts; and (6) the Interstate Resurfacing, Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction (4R) Program could affect how states prioritize highway projects by funding such capital-intensive preservation activities as resurfacing and reconstruction at a 90-percent federal matching share and by not funding preventive maintenance.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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