Transportation Infrastructure:

Issues for Congressional Consideration During Reauthorization of Surface Transportation Programs

T-RCED-91-56: Published: May 14, 1991. Publicly Released: May 14, 1991.

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GAO discussed highway and highway safety reauthorization issues, focusing on the proposed Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. GAO noted that: (1) the proposed funding would increase overall surface transportation purchasing power; (2) it was unclear whether the funding increases would actually be realized, given the anticipated competition between transportation and other federal discretionary spending; (3) the bill would allow several states to more easily absorb significant reductions in the federal share for most highway projects; (4) the bill set a higher federal share for preservation than for capacity enhancement activities, and required development of interstate preservation standards; (5) states could use tolls on federal-aid highways to increase available funds for highway construction and maintenance; (6) the bill proposed that the Department of Transportation (DOT) adopt a level-of-services (LOS) methodology to identify bridges eligible for federal aid, but the methodology did not allow for varying magnitudes of deficiency; (7) a proposed intermodal investment strategy would address congestion and clean air goals; (8) metropolitan planning organizations' experience in programming highway funds varied significantly, as did their organizational structures and public support; and (9) the bill emphasized use and enforcement of motorcycle helmet and automobile safety belt laws.

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