HIGHWAY DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS: IMPROVED SELECTION AND FUNDING CONTROLS ARE NEEDED

The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation and Assistance Act (STURAA) of 1987 authorized a 5-year, $70-billion federal-aid highway program which included $1.3 billion for 152 highway demonstration projects (HDPs) in 38 states. The General Accounting Office (GAO) evaluated 66 of the 152 STURAA projects in 8 states to determine: (1) their relationship to state and regional transportation plans; (2) progress and problems encountered in implementing such projects; (3) their estimated costs and impact on other highway project funding; and (4) options that the Congress may wish to consider if demonstration projects are included in the 1991 federal-aid highway program reauthorization. In brief, GAO found the following: The HDPs were generally either not included in any state or regional transportation plans or were included without any identified funding. Ten of the HDPs would not have been eligible for federal highway program funds, since the projects were for local roads not entitled to receive federal program assistance. Progress in starting and completing construction on the HDPs has been slow. Furthermore, $25 million may never be used because no action has been taken on 7 of the 66 HDPs, and there is no provision for recapturing or using the funds for alternative transportation projects. The funds needed to complete the 66 projects--$1.9 billion--far exceed the federal funds authorized plus the anticipated state matching funds. An estimated $1.2-billion shortfall is expected. GAO found that if the funds had been provided instead to states on the basis of their percentage share of federal-aid highway program allocations, 35 states would have received an equal or greater share of federal highway funds. The remaining 15 states would have received less funds. Options to ensure that (1) HDPs are better aligned with state and regional highway priorities and (2) federal funding authorized for these projects is better controlled are numerous. Two such options are: (1) limit HDP selection to projects already included in state and regional plans; and (2) limit the amount of funds authorized for all demonstration projects.

  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1991-5

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: 12 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00610171
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-91-146
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 30 1991 12:00AM