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    Subject Term: Bridges

    8 publications with a total of 17 open recommendations
    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: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to develop a standardized definition for bridge contracts and incorporate it as appropriate into relevant FAR sections.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, staff from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) stated that OFPP will be convening the FAR Council to discuss regulatory action after it completes the development of management guidance. The management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff includes a definition of bridge contracts, has been drafted and reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives. OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide a date as to when they expected the management guidance would be finalized.
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should, as an interim measure, until the FAR is amended, provide guidance to agencies on (1) a definition of bridge contracts, with consideration of contract extensions as well as stand-alone bridge contracts; and (2) suggestions for agencies to track and manage their use of these contracts, such as identifying a contract as a bridge in a Justification and Approval (J&A) when it meets the definition, and listing the history of previous extensions and stand-alone bridge contracts back to the predecessor contract in the J&A.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, OFPP has drafted management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff, includes a definition of bridge contracts. The guidance, which was reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives, was originally expected to be issued to agencies by the end of calendar year 2016. However, OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance from the agencies, and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide an update as to when management guidance would be completed.
    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: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency and provide Congress and the public greater visibility into the types of highway activities funded with Highway Trust Fund monies, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore the costs, feasibility, and options for collecting and publicly reporting consistent aggregate project-level spending data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHWA agreed with the recommendation and stated that it was reviewing the feasibility and options for collecting and reporting aggregate project-level highway spending data, and that it intended to complete this review by December 2015. In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Sec. 1402 of the Act requires DOT to annually report, for all projects administered by FHWA with a total estimated cost of $25 million or more (and for all other projects to the extent practicable), on the total cost of funded projects, the amount of federal funds obligated, and other information, and to make this information "available in a user-friendly manner on the public Internet website of the Department of Transportation." GAO is monitoring DOT's efforts to implement this provision of the Act and the extent to which it fulfills GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Rectanus, Lori
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to collect data, on an ongoing basis, about which local public agencies are administering federal-aid projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us it had no plans to collect data about which local public agencies are administering federal-aid projects.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to collect information, on an ongoing basis, from state DOTs on local public agencies' capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us that it did not plan collect information on the capabilities of local public agencies on an ongoing basis. In 2017 FHWA released the results of a compliance assessment review which assessed the capabilities of selected local public agencies. We are reviewing FHWA's efforts and the extent to which they address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to identify and disseminate minimum and uniform qualification criteria for state DOTs to determine whether local public agencies are capable and equipped to administer federal-aid projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us it had no plans to identify and disseminate minimum and uniform qualification criteria for state DOTs to determine whether local public agencies are capable and equipped to administer federal-aid projects.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore opportunities to make administration of federal-aid projects by local public agencies more efficient by examining: (a) the circumstances in which issuing guidance on administrative flexibilities targeted at local agencies would be appropriate, and (b) a potential dollar threshold under which the use of federal funds may no longer be cost-effective.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us that it did not plan to explore a dollar threshold under which the use of federal funds may no longer be cost-effective. However, FHWA told us it has provided guidance in this regard, and has continued disseminating guidance on administrative flexibilities beneficial to locally administered projects. We are reviewing FHWA's actions and the extent to which its these efforts address our recommendation.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should identify and carry out steps that can be taken to help CBP port officials overcome challenges to consistent implementation of existing wait time estimation methodologies. Steps for ensuring consistent implementation of these methodologies could include, for example, implementing the fiscal year 2008 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative report recommendations to use closed-circuit television cameras to measure wait time in real time and provide a standardized measurement and validation tool.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP officials report that in order to avoid further investment in a manual wait time methodology, the agency plans to focus resources on developing an enterprise-wide solution for automating the measurement of border delays. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should, in consultation with Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs, assess the feasibility of replacing current methods of manually calculating wait times with automated methods, which could include assessing all of the associated costs and benefits, options for how the agency will use and publicly report the results of automated data collection, the potential trade-offs associated with moving to this new system, and other factors such as those influencing the possible expansion of existing automation efforts to the 34 other locations that currently report wait times but have no automation projects under way.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports working to identify a feasible and cost effective wait time solution to measure commercial vehicle delays along the southern border. Specifically, CBP officials report that they have been partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas A&M's Transportation Institute on the deployment of an automated radio-frequency identification measurement solution to measure commercial delays at eight crossings. To verify the accuracy of the automated wait time data, CBP officials report that in June 2016 they conducted a ground-truth analysis with mixed results. CBP officials report DHS Science and Technology directorate delivered their final report in February 2017 and by the end of September 2017, pending review and acceptance of the report's findings, CBP will coordinate efforts to develop the required communication protocols and data schematics for near real-time commercial vehicle wait time updates to the CBP Border Wait Time website and Border Wait Time app. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that CBP's Office of Field Operations' (OFO) staffing processes are transparent and to help ensure CBP can demonstrate that these resource decisions have effectively addressed CBP's mission needs, the Commissioner of CBP should document the methodology and process OFO uses to allocate staff to land ports of entry on the southwest border, including the rationales and factors considered in making these decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports that they have adopted a workload staffing model to identify CBP staffing requirements at land ports of entry. CBP officials report that the workload staffing model provides senior leadership with a decision-support tool to identify the number of required resources for each location and accounts for distinct operating environments, unique variables, and major functions and activities. CBP officials report that they use the workload staffing model results in its budget requests and when allocating staff to the ports of entry. However, CBP has not provided GAO with documentation showing how staff are allocated among land ports of entry including how workload staffing model results are used in this process. CBP officials report that in May 2017 OFO began working with contracted experts to synthesize the quantitative and qualitative data available and develop a comprehensive CBP position allocation methodology. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in March 2018.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Executive Director of the United States Global Change Research Program or other federal entity designated by the Executive Office of the President should work with relevant agencies to identify for decision makers the "best available" climate-related information for infrastructure planning and update this information over time.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Science and Technology Policy: U.S. Global Change Research Program
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 7/27/17, no federal entity has identified the best available climate-related information for infrastructure planning.
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Executive Director of the United States Global Change Research Program or other federal entity designated by the Executive Office of the President should work with relevant agencies to clarify sources of local assistance for incorporating climate-related information and analysis into infrastructure planning, and communicate how such assistance will be provided over time.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Science and Technology Policy: U.S. Global Change Research Program
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 7/27/17, no federal entity has comprehensively clarified sources of local assistance for incorporating climate-related information and analysis into infrastructure planning.
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality should finalize guidance on how federal agencies can consider the effects of climate change in their evaluations of proposed federal actions under the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Council on Environmental Quality
    Status: Open

    Comments: On August 1, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued final guidance to federal departments and agencies on how to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change when evaluating proposed federal actions in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. However, in March 2017, the White House issued Executive Order 13783, directing CEQ to rescind the guidance, among other things. CEQ rescinded the guidance on April 5, 2017.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-6570

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to put the Emergency Relief program on a sound financial footing, Congress may wish to consider the expected future demands on the program and reexamine the appropriate level and sources of funding--including whether to increase the $100 million annual authorized funding and whether the Highway Trust Fund, the General Fund, or some combination would allow the program to accomplish its purpose in a fiscally sustainable manner.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, Congress has not yet taken action on this recommendation. The Emergency Relief Program is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Recommendation: Congress may also wish to consider tightening the eligibility criteria for Emergency Relief funding, either through amending the purpose of the Emergency Relief program, or by directing FHWA to revise its program regulations. Revised criteria could include limitations on the use of Emergency Relief funds to fully finance projects with scope and costs that have grown as a result of environmental and community concerns.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, Congress has not yet taken action on this recommendation. The Emergency Relief Program is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.