Management Actions Needed to Improve Federal Highway Safety Programs

CED-76-156: Published: Oct 21, 1976. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1976.

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A 1972 GAO report stated that more federal-aid construction funds should be used to improve highway safety. Although spending on highway safety increased from $100 million in 1971 to $1.1 billion in 1975, neither the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) nor the states had assurance that the funds obligated were for projects offering the greatest safety benefits. The Highway Safety Act of 1966 required the states to establish systematic procedures for selecting safety construction projects. None of the eight states GAO reviewed had fully met this requirement. Furthermore, FHwA had not developed adequate procedures to measure the states' progress in implementing their systems, and did not know what progress had been made or when the states would meet the spirit of the act. FHwA should: (1) work with each state to develop, monitor, and evaluate a project selection system; (2) require a plan with realistic time frames for implementation; (3) ensure that safety projects financed with regular and safety construction funds are selected through a systematic approach; and (4) fix a reasonable date by which safety projects are selected from inventories of cost-effective projects.

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