Transportation Infrastructure:

Implementation of Funding Flexibility Under ISTEA and Use of Transportation Control Measures

T-RCED-94-50: Published: Oct 14, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1993.

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GAO discussed the development of integrated transportation systems, focusing on: (1) funding flexibility provisions; (2) the factors that influence the flexible use of funds; (3) the effectiveness of transportation control measures (TCM) in attaining air quality goals; and (4) the adequacy of analytical tools for comparing transportation alternatives and measuring the impact of transportation projects. GAO noted that: (1) states and localities have made limited use of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act's (ISTEA) flexible funding provisions and have focused on congestion mitigation and air quality improvement; (2) the factors that influence the flexible use of ISTEA funds include congestion and air quality concerns, state restrictions on the use of fuel taxes, highway and mass transit infrastructure needs, and slow adaptation to program changes; (3) there is not adequate information available to make reliable projections of the impact of TCM and other transportation measures on air quality; (4) market-based TCM, although more effective than traditional TCM, are more costly and will generate more public resistance; (5) improved data and analytical tools are needed to make overall transportation investment decisions; (6) common measures for comparing transportation alternatives are not available; and (7) state and metropolitan planning organizations' transportation investment decisions are complex and involve the public's increasing reliance on automobiles to meet transportation needs, divergent interests, and acceptance of transportation alternatives.

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