The General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the experiences of five states (California, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas) participating in the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Combined Road Plan demonstration program. The demonstration program is similar to a block grant in that it gives state officials greater latitude (than would be allowed under a traditional categorical program) in determining how certain federal-aid highway funds will be spent. Specifically, GAO (1) reviewed how the states have benefitted from the funding flexibility provided by the demonstration program, (2) identified the administrative advantages the states have derived from streamlined operating procedures provided by the demonstration program, and (3) reviewed how the states' administration of the federal-aid highway program compares with federal administration of the program. Briefly, GAO found that all five states have benefitted to a varying extent from the flexibility afforded them through the demonstation program. The states have, however, identified a number of areas in which the demonstration program could be expanded to provide even more flexibility. Regarding administrative advantages, the states perceive that elimination of FHWA's approval for design exceptions and final inspections has resulted in time and paperwork savings. They report that the project approval process has been streamlined by having FHWA approve a group of projects annually instead of each project individually. Additionally, the states report that the processing time for design exceptions and final inspections has decreased under state administration of these functions. FHWA officials believe that there is little risk to safety in having the states perform final inspections. Also, the states' actions in approving design exceptions indicate their concern for maintaining safety standards.

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 24 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00497336
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-90-126
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1990 12:00AM