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    Subject Term: "Federal aid for transportation"

    10 publications with a total of 15 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOT and FHWA to effectively guide the transformation of federal surface transportation programs to a more performance-oriented approach, and to help states and MPOs overcome anticipated challenges, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to take the following two actions: 1. Develop a formal TPM implementation plan to include overarching implementation goals, specific actions FHWA plans to take to help states and MPOs successfully implement TPM, and corresponding timelines. 2. Publicly communicate this plan and approach to build a shared understanding of the goals and purpose of the transformation with its grantees.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To leverage and build upon the ongoing efforts within individual DOT modal administrations and to address concerns raised by experts regarding collaboration and coordination, data quality and analytics, regulation development, project delivery processes, and addressing emerging issues, the Secretary of Transportation should: (1) conduct a department-wide review of DOT's current efforts to address these concerns; and (2) develop an action plan with specific steps to implement improvements, as identified, in these areas.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to develop an efficiency measure or measures that demonstrate the linkage between the federal funding of bridges and the desired performance outcomes, such as maintained or improved bridge conditions, and report the resulting information to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported to GAO that FHWA will review bridge project information and cost data that is currently being collected and review Office of Management and Budget's guidance and other examples for developing meaningful performance measures and measures that were proposed in prior FHWA proposed rulemaking efforts. Following those reviews, FHWA reported that an applicable efficiency measure will be developed that links federal funding and condition of bridges. FHWA reported that this review and evaluation will be completed by January 31, 2018 and once the efficiency measure is implemented it will be reported and incorporated in one of FHWA's existing reports to Congress.
    Director: David J. Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that transit agencies have appropriate and current guidance to assist them when procuring transit buses, the Administrator of FTA should update its Best Practices Procurement Manual and assess its other related guidance identified in this report and update that guidance as needed.

    Agency: Department of Transportation: Federal Transit Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide a more efficient and cost-effective way for transit agencies to procure transit buses while complying with federal procurement requirements, the Administrator of FTA, in conjunction with the Administrator of the General Services Administration, should submit a legislative proposal to Congress that would authorize transit agencies that are recipients of FTA grants to access GSA sources of supply for the purchase of transit buses.

    Agency: Department of Transportation: Federal Transit Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve stewardship over the nation's highways and bridges, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to conduct a study on state oversize- and overweight-permitting practices, including automated vehicle routing and escort driver certification, to identify areas of best practice and share the results with states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) concurred with this recommendation. According to an FHWA letter, they will conduct a review of permitting practices, which will include findings from several recent and ongoing research projects related to oversize and overweight permitting. FHWA plans to complete this review by September 30, 2017, and share the results with states through peer exchanges and forums.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote and enhance federal, state, and local NEMT coordination activities, the Secretary of Transportation, as the chair of the Coordinating Council, should convene a meeting of the member agencies of the Coordinating Council and complete and publish a new or updated strategic plan that, among other things, clearly outlines a strategy for addressing NEMT and how it can be coordinated across federal agencies that fund NEMT service.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2016, FTA stated that Administrator-level members of the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) met in July 2016 to begin the process of developing a strategic plan. A follow-up meeting of the same group is planned for December 2016. According to FTA, it is anticipated this meeting will result in agreement on a strategic plan framework and that interagency working groups will begin implementation of the framework in early 2017. Based on the minutes of the July 2016 CCAM meeting, emerging themes identified for the strategic plan included improved access to medical care and to better coordinate transportation planning, particularly integrating transportation planning into healthcare planning. This recommendation will be kept open pending finalization of the strategic plan framework and how it relates to NEMT.
    Recommendation: To promote and enhance federal, state, and local NEMT coordination activities, the Secretary of Transportation, as the chair of the Coordinating Council, should convene a meeting of the member agencies of the Coordinating Council and finalize and issue a cost-sharing policy and clearly identify how it can be applied to programs under the purview of member agencies of the Coordinating Council that provide funding for NEMT.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FTA concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2016, FTA stated that Administrator-level members of the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility met in July 2016 to begin the process of developing a strategic plan. A follow-up meeting of the same group is planned for December 2016. According to FTA, it is anticipated the December meeting will result in agreement on a strategic plan framework and that interagency working groups will begin implementing the plan in early 2017. FTA expects development of a cost-sharing policy and proposed model will be an objective in the strategic plan. We plan to keep this recommendation open pending completion of the strategic plan framework and further information related to implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To promote and enhance federal, state, and local NEMT coordination activities, the Secretary of Transportation, as the chair of the Coordinating Council, should convene a meeting of the member agencies of the Coordinating Council and using the on-going work of the Health, Wellness, and Transportation working group and other appropriate resources, (1) identify the challenges associated with coordinating Medicaid and VA NEMT programs with other federal programs that fund NEMT, (2) develop recommendations for how these challenges can be addressed while still maintaining program integrity and fraud prevention, and (3) report these recommendations to appropriate committees of Congress. To the extent feasible, the Coordinating Council should implement those recommendations that are within its legal authority.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FTA said they concurred in part with this recommendation. FTA announced the selection of 19 Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility pilot projects, totally about $7.3 million, in September 2016. According to FTA, seven of the 19 projects have a NEMT focus. In addition, during 2016 FTA conducted outreach sessions in various cities throughout the United States to discuss partnership opportunities between the health and transportation industries. FTA stated that a new series of NEMT-specific listening sessions is now underway and additional sessions are planned for 2017. The purpose of these sessions is to identify challenges related to NEMT coordination that will be addressed by Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) working groups in the future. CCAM is also in the process of developing a strategic plan framework. FTA anticipates agreement on this framework in December 2016. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requires CCAM to develop and publish a strategic plan. FTA anticipates issues related to this recommendation will be developed through 2020. We plan to keep this recommendation open to further monitor CCAM and FTA progress and the extent challenges are identified and addressed related to better coordinating Medicaid and VA NEMT with other NEMT programs in the federal government, through the strategic plan framework or other actions resulting from the listening sessions.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to clarify the federal role related to freight-related local traffic congestion, in implementing MAP-21 and any subsequent reauthorization, in its final guidance on state freight plans, Secretary of Transportation should incorporate additional information to help states define and prioritize local community impacts of national freight movements, including traffic-congestion impacts, and to establish what data could be consistently collected and analyzed in order to prioritize impacts of freight on local traffic congestion.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: On October 14, 2016, DOT finalized guidance on state freight plans and state freight advisory committees. Among other things, the guidance incorporates information to help states define and prioritize local community impacts of national freight movements and identifies data sources to assist in collecting and analyzing data to prioritize impacts of freight on local traffic congestion. Including this information in the final guidance to states, will assist in better defining the extent of freight-related congestion, prioritizing projects to mitigate such impacts at both the state and national level and in DOT establishing a clear federal role for addressing these issues.
    Recommendation: In order to clarify the federal role related to freight-related local traffic congestion, in implementing MAP-21 and any subsequent reauthorization, the Secretary of Transportation should include in the National Freight Strategic Plan a written statement articulating the federal role in freight-related local congestion impacts, by clearly identifying potential objectives and goals (under the general area DOT has established for the Freight Transportation Conditions and Performance Report of reducing adverse environmental and community impacts) for mitigating local congestion caused by national freight movements and the type of role federal and state stakeholders could play in achieving each objective and goal, and including a written strategy for improving the availability of national data needed to quantify, assess, and establish measures on freight trends and impacts on local traffic congestion.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation, and has developed a draft National Freight Strategic Plan, for which the public comment period ended in April 2016. In December 2016, DOT noted that it is continuing to review public comments received and beginning work on a final draft plan that will address the federal role in freight-related local congestion, as well as the other elements of GAO's recommendation. DOT stated that it plans to release a final National Freight Strategic Plan by its statutory due date of December 4, 2017. A number of our recommendations to DOT to address national freight issues are tied to the issuance of DOT's National Freight Strategic Plan.Implementing our recommendation in connection with development of the freight strategic plan expeditiously would help maximize the efficient movement of freight and ensure accountability around identified national interests and goals.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrators of FTA and FEMA to establish specific guidelines to monitor, evaluate, and report the results of collaborative efforts--including their communications program and protocol--for Hurricane Sandy as well as future disasters.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FTA and FEMA concurred with the recommendation and reported they took two actions in response. First, FTA and FEMA executed the communications protocol contemplated in the memorandum of agreement governing and collaboration between the two agencies in future disasters. This protocol established a joint tracking system to prevent duplicative assistance and included provisions for coordinating funding and for collaborating where insurance settlements and share grantees are involved. Second, in May 2017, FTA and FEMA published an after action report on coordination between the agencies in response to Hurricane Sandy. This report described the coordination that occurred during the Hurricane Sandy response, and discussed lessons learned to be applied to future events, such as the need for more frequent regularly scheduled meetings. We are evaluating FTA's and FEMA's responses.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrators of FTA and FEMA to establish specific guidelines to monitor, evaluate, and report the results of collaborative efforts--including their communications program and protocol--for Hurricane Sandy as well as future disasters.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FTA and FEMA concurred with the recommendation and reported they took two actions in response. First, FTA and FEMA executed the communications protocol contemplated in the memorandum of agreement governing and collaboration between the two agencies in future disasters. This protocol established a joint tracking system to prevent duplicative assistance and included provisions for coordinating funding and for collaborating where insurance settlements and share grantees are involved. Second, in May 2017, FTA and FEMA published an after action report on coordination between the agencies in response to Hurricane Sandy. This report described the coordination that occurred during the Hurricane Sandy response, and discussed lessons learned to be applied to future events, such as the need for more frequent regularly scheduled meetings. We are evaluating FTA's and FEMA's responses.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 202-512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish additional accountability measures for management of the TIGER program to (1) establish clear procedures for addressing late-arriving applications and communicate its decisions to either accept or reject these applications to the public, and (2) document and approve major decisions in the application evaluation and project selection process through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism that provides a clear rationale for decisions to: (a) advance for senior review applications other than those rated as highly recommended; (b) not advance applications rated as highly recommended; and (c) change the technical evaluation rating of an application.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reviewed DOT's TIGER application evaluation process for the 2014 and 2015 funding rounds and found that DOT established guidance that it would no longer accept late-arriving TIGER applications and it improved its internal procedures for documenting major decisions in its application evaluation database, including decisions to advance for senior review applications other than those rated as "highly recommended." However, DOT did not document these procedures through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism to ensure a consistent and transparent process for approving major decisions in these and future TIGER rounds. Moreover, in reviewing the 2015 TIGER application evaluation process, GAO noted that DOT altered its procedures for evaluating applications while the review process was ongoing. According to DOT's Financial Assistance Guidance Manual, grant evaluations must be conducted in accordance with the evaluation plan created prior to the announcement, and may not be changed once applications have been received. As of August 2017, the Department's Inspector General is conducting an audit of the TIGER program to assess DOT's application evaluation procedures. GAO will review the Inspector General's findings when they become available.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202)512-5731

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve FTA's ability to determine the extent to which transit grants, current formula incentives, and FTA program activities have had a positive effect on local transit agency performance--and to the extent that FTA finds current data sources to be appropriate and reliable for such purposes-- the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to further analyze and use data submitted to FTA by local transit agencies. As part of this analysis, FTA may want to identify and evaluate, when applicable, (1) the extent to which transit grant programs are accomplishing their established goals; (2) the areas of performance in which FTA should concentrate its program activities to increase the performance of local transit agencies and the federal transit program in general; and (3) the extent to which formula incentives and other performance accountability mechanisms have influenced the activities and performance of local transit agencies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, FTA had published the final National Safety Plan and a final rule on state of good repair for transit assets. However, the final Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan rule is under additional review per the transition in administration. FTA does not expect publication until the end of this calendar year at the earliest. We will continue to monitor DOT actions pertaining to this rulemaking.