Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness of Metropolitan Planning Organizations

CED-82-47: Published: Mar 10, 1982. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO studied the role and function of metropolitan planning organizations (MPO's) in urban and regional transportation planning to determine whether they are economical, efficient, and effective.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) are conducting a comprehensive review which is focused on: (1) defining a reduced Federal role in the planning process; (2) reevaluating technical and document requirements; and (3) reevaluating the way in which the planning process is funded. Because FHWA and UMTA are addressing the same issues that GAO has been reviewing, GAO agreed to report on its findings to date. GAO found that: (1) although nearly all the officials contacted who expressed an opinion believed that the planning process could be simplified, there was no consensus as to how documents and requirements should be changed; (2) the adequacy of long-range planning did not appear to be a major issue, although some MPO's were having difficulty developing realistic plans because of funding uncertainties; and (3) MPO accountability varied because local areas have discretion regarding how much authority and responsibility they give to MPO's.

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