Unexpended Obligational Authority in Four Accounts

PAD-78-60: Published: Mar 9, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1978.

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Analyses of four accounts from the Veterans Administration (VA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transporation (DOT), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were part of a study of unexpended obligational authority in the civil agencies. The total unobligated balance for the accounts at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1976 was $45 billion, but the amount decreased to $22 billion by the end of FY 1977. The VA Construction, Major Projects account had an actual unexpended balance at the end of FY 1977 of $708 million, of which $501 million was unobligated. Many factors contributed to the large unexpended balances. The balances are earmarked by both VA and Congress for specific construction projects, and VA obligational rates for construction activity were much slower than indicated in data submitted to Congress. Unexpended balances at the end of FY 1976 transition quarter in the EPA Construction Grants account were $15.6 billion, of which $6.7 billion was unobligated. The FY 1977 unexpended balance was $14 billion, of which only $1.6 billion was unobligated. A $5.1 billion decrease in unobligated balances took place during FY 1977. In spite of the fact that EPA has consistently understated unobligated balances, the balances have significantly decreased between FYs 1976 and 1977. The unexpended balance in the DOT Urban Mass Transportation Fund account at the end of FY 1977 was $12.6 billion, of which $9.6 billion was unobligated. This large balance exists primarily because of funding through multiyear contract authority. The HUD account selected (the Assisted Housing account) was eliminated in the FY 1979 budget.

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