FEDERAL AID TO TRANSPORTATION. AN ANALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT OBLIGATIONS BY MODE

This report was prepared to provide an overview of the levels of Federal subsidies obligated each year to the major modes of domestic transportation and ocean shipping. The modes of transportation included in this analysis are highways, air, domestic water, ocean shipping, mass transit and rail. Whenever possible within each mode, figures are provided for Federal Government obligations as opposed to appropriations or authorizations. With the exception of the areas of ocean shipping and mass transit, the 1975 and earlier data in this report is from a 1977 study on Federal rail subsidies, and updating has been done to produce 1976 through 1978 figures. One point becomes apparent from analysis of this data. A true comparison of the balance sheets of airlines, intercity bus and intercity rail is not possible. The costs and subsidies of airports and operating costs for the airway system are not reflected in the financial statements of the airlines, nor are similar costs such as highway construction and maintenance, shown for intercity bus companies. On the other hand, because of its public funding, the financial statements for intercity rail show the costs and subsidy levels for similar kinds of support but are much less in the amount dollars involved. In review, direct Federal aid to transportation has played a crucial role in building up the U.S. transportation system. A major point made by DOT's Study of Federal Aid to Rail Transportation is that the money provided by this Federal aid allowed improvements to be made to transportation modes at a faster pace than if the private sector had provided all the financing. The report continues: Federal involvement, which enables mobilization of resources on a scale that cannot be matched by the private sector and the states, permits the compression of time. The great disadvantage of Federal direct aid policy vis-a-vis the railroads is not so much that this industry received no Federal assistance, but that the Federal aid provided to the competitive modes vastly accelerated and increased the adjustment problems which the railroads had to face from the new technologies, further compounded by the deaf Federal ear turned to the notion of simultaneously providing the railroads any form of transitional assistance and allowing the railroads to meet the new competitive environment they were encountering. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    United States Conference of Mayors

    1620 Eye Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20006
  • Publication Date: 1979-5

Media Info

  • Pagination: 15 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00335415
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 29 1982 12:00AM