B-199409, JUL 7, 1980

B-199409: Jul 7, 1980

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: WE NOTE THAT SENATE BILL 2720 WAS PASSED BY THE SENATE ON JUNE 25. SINCE THIS SECTION WAS ADDED DURING THE FLOOR DEBATE ON THE BILL. WE WERE UNABLE TO COMMENT ON IT BEFORE THE BILL WAS PASSED. WE ARE OFFERING THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS ON THIS PROVISION SINCE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS CONSIDERING RELATED LEGISLATION. WE BELIEVE THAT LEGISLATION REQUIRING A GAO STUDY OF RURAL TRANSPORTATION NEEDS IS UNDESIRABLE. WE HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF STAFF WITH THE SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES NEEDED TO PERFORM A STUDY OF THIS NATURE. THESE STAFF ARE ALREADY ASSIGNED TO OTHER IMPORTANT WORK. ARE CONCERNED THAT DIVERTING THE STAFF NEEDED TO PERFORM THIS STUDY WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON OUR OTHER WORK AND PRESENT MAJOR PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES.

B-199409, JUL 7, 1980

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

HAROLD T. JOHNSON, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

WE NOTE THAT SENATE BILL 2720 WAS PASSED BY THE SENATE ON JUNE 25, 1980. TITLE II, THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY AMENDMENTS OF 1980, IN SECTION 203 DIRECTS THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO CONDUCT A STUDY OF TRANSPORTATION NEEDS IN RURAL AREAS. SINCE THIS SECTION WAS ADDED DURING THE FLOOR DEBATE ON THE BILL, WE WERE UNABLE TO COMMENT ON IT BEFORE THE BILL WAS PASSED. HOWEVER, WE ARE OFFERING THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS ON THIS PROVISION SINCE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS CONSIDERING RELATED LEGISLATION, HOUSE BILL 6417, THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1980.

WE BELIEVE THAT LEGISLATION REQUIRING A GAO STUDY OF RURAL TRANSPORTATION NEEDS IS UNDESIRABLE. THE STUDY REQUIRED BY SECTION 203 OF S. 2720 WOULD BE EXTREMELY LARGE AND COMPLEX, AND WOULD REQUIRE A SUBSTANTIAL PROPORTION OF OUR STAFF RESOURCES. WE HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF STAFF WITH THE SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES NEEDED TO PERFORM A STUDY OF THIS NATURE, AND THESE STAFF ARE ALREADY ASSIGNED TO OTHER IMPORTANT WORK. ARE CONCERNED THAT DIVERTING THE STAFF NEEDED TO PERFORM THIS STUDY WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON OUR OTHER WORK AND PRESENT MAJOR PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES.

AS AN ALTERNATIVE, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COULD BE DIRECTED TO CONDUCT A STUDY OF RURAL TRANSPORTATION NEEDS. THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS THE LOGICAL AGENCY TO CONDUCT SUCH A STUDY, SINCE IT ALREADY COLLECTS AND ANALYZES MUCH OF THE STATISTICAL DATA ON RURAL TRANSPORTATION ACTIVITIES WHICH WOULD BE NECESSARY. WE WOULD BE PLEASED TO ASSIST THE COMMITTEE IN MONITORING AND ASSESSING THE PROGRESS AND RESULTS OF SUCH A STUDY, AND WOULD PROVIDE SUCH ASSISTANCE AT YOUR REQUEST. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS ARRANGEMENT WOULD MAKE BETTER USE OF THE EXPERTISE AND STATISTICAL RESOURCES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND OUR AUDITING AND EVALUATION CAPABILITIES.

WE HOPE THAT THE PRECEDING COMMENTS WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU. WE ARE SENDING COPIES OF THIS LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE'S RANKING MINORITY MEMBER; THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MINORITY MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE'S SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION; THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MINORITY MEMBER OF THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND URBAN AFFAIRS, COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING AND URBAN AFFAIRS; AND THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MINORITY MEMBER OF THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION, COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS.