Urban Mass Transportation Administration's New Formula Grant Program:

Operating Flexibility and Process Simplification

RCED-85-79: Published: Jul 15, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1985.

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GAO reviewed the Urban Mass Transportation Administration's (UMTA) new formula assistance grant program to determine what changes have occurred in the organizations and activities of federal, state, and local participants as a result of the program.

GAO found that: (1) transit authorities were using most of the Section 9 program features that provided them with increased flexibility; (2) most transit authorities did not include contingency projects on their grant applications or transfer funds between urbanized areas; and (3) although authorities had considerable flexibility in using section 9 funds, they continued to fund the same types of projects under the section 9 program that they funded under prior UMTA programs. GAO noted that: (1) about 62 percent of the transit authorities submitted a single grant application to UMTA covering all of the projects they planned to fund with fiscal year 1984 section 9 funds; (2) under the prior UMTA program, authorities had to submit a separate grant application for each project, which resulted in similar documentation for each project; and (3) authorities self-certified their compliance with certain statutory and UMTA requirements, in lieu of submitting lengthy statements of compliance. GAO also found that: (1) there is an advantage to listing contingency projects so that a grantee can substitute those projects if some projects are subsequently deleted or delayed; (2) participants were able to implement the section 9 program with little change in activities; and (3) administrative work loads remained the same or increased as a result of the section 9 program.

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