Wallop-Breaux Trust Fund

T-RCED-88-38: Published: Apr 28, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund's Boat Safety Account, from which the Coast Guard administers payments to states to support their recreational boating safety activities. GAO noted that states: (1) received two-thirds of account funds; (2) typically spent $4 for every federal dollar, exceeding the requirements to match federal funds dollar-for-dollar; (3) typically requested all funds available to them; and (4) spent about 45 percent of the funds on law enforcement and boating safety education equipment and supplies, 17 percent on safety inspections and marine casualty investigations, and 14 percent on boating access. GAO also noted that the Coast Guard: (1) used its share of the funds for program administration expenses; (2) provided adequate oversight of states' expenditures for boating safety activities; (3) did not attempt to determine how effectively states spent their funds; and (4) inconsistently categorized data in its compilation of states' expenditures. GAO believes that proposed legislation which would raise the cap for the account's revenues and allocate more funds would not necessarily increase funding for boating safety, since the: (1) Coast Guard would probably continue to spend its share of funds to offset operating expenses; and (2) relationship between the size of states' program budgets and boating safety is unclear.

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