Faced with a projected 50% increase in the U.S. population in the next 50 years, communities across the nation must address the challenges of planning for and managing growth. Concerned about how federal programs and policies affect the ability of state and local governments to plan for and manage growth, the General Accounting Office (GAO) was asked to identify (1) growth-related challenges facing local communities, (2) tools and techniques that state and local governments are using to help plan for and manage growth in their communities, and (3) federal programs and policies that state and local governments believe serve as barriers or aids in their efforts to plan more effectively for and manage growth. To accomplish these objectives, the GAO visited five metropolitan areas and surveyed nearly 2,000 city and county governments - all U.S. cities with populations of more than 25,000 and all counties located within U.S. metropolitan areas. Briefly, overall infrastructure needs, traffic congestion, and the adequacy of their local tax base for supporting schools and services were the growth-related concerns most frequently cited by the cities and counties responding to GAO's survey. Communities are also concerned about "sprawl" - development characterized by, among other things, low densities, rapid land consumption, and dependence on the automobile. State and local governments are changing how they plan for and manage growth. States are updating planning laws, creating incentives for growth in designated areas, and setting aside funds to acquire and conserve open space. The federal government has opportunities to help America's communities plan for the future, but challenges such as the following come with these opportunities. Achieving greater consistency between local land-use planning and transportation planning and giving greater consideration to the growth implications of infrastructure projects would present challenges. The challenges in reviewing the level of flexibility built into federal programs include determining the appropriate balance between giving communities the decision-making authority they desire and ensuring that the programs will still meet the national purposes they were designed to accomplish.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 161 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00801961
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-00-178
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 2 2000 12:00AM