B-118653, OCT. 14, 1960

B-118653: Oct 14, 1960

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156
jonessa@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

MONTANA STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF OCTOBER 7 REQUESTING THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR A REPORT DATED OCTOBER 4. THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS IS DESIGNATED BY LAW AS THE AGENCY TO ADMINISTER THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM. A SIGNIFICANT CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS PROGRAM IS THAT IT IS CARRIED OUT BY THE INDIVIDUAL STATES SUBJECT TO FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY LEGISLATION AND RELATED REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE BUREAU. THE STATES ARE REIMBURSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE BUREAU FOR A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE OF THE ELIGIBLE COSTS ACCORDING TO THE TYPE OF HIGHWAY. ONE OF THE BUREAU'S PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS IS TO SEE THAT FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS ARE PLANNED AND CONSTRUCTED AS EFFICIENTLY AND ECONOMICALLY AS POSSIBLE.

B-118653, OCT. 14, 1960

TO MR. HARRY L. BURNS, CHAIRMAN, MONTANA STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF OCTOBER 7 REQUESTING THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR A REPORT DATED OCTOBER 4, 1960, BY OUR OFFICE TO THE CONGRESS ON OUR REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM AS ADMINISTERED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS IN THE STATE OF MONTANA.

THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS IS DESIGNATED BY LAW AS THE AGENCY TO ADMINISTER THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM. A SIGNIFICANT CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS PROGRAM IS THAT IT IS CARRIED OUT BY THE INDIVIDUAL STATES SUBJECT TO FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY LEGISLATION AND RELATED REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE BUREAU, AND THE STATES ARE REIMBURSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE BUREAU FOR A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE OF THE ELIGIBLE COSTS ACCORDING TO THE TYPE OF HIGHWAY. THUS, ONE OF THE BUREAU'S PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS IS TO SEE THAT FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS ARE PLANNED AND CONSTRUCTED AS EFFICIENTLY AND ECONOMICALLY AS POSSIBLE. OUR AUDIT OF THE BUREAU IS DIRECTED TO EVALUATING THE VARIOUS ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE BUREAU IN ADMINISTERING THIS FUNCTION. BECAUSE THESE ACTIONS DEAL WITH PROGRAM ACTIVITIES OF THE STATES, SUCH AS HIGHWAY PLANNING, PROJECT PROGRAMING, DESIGN, PRELIMINARY AND CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING, CONSTRUCTION, ACQUISITION OF RIGHTS-OF-WAY, AND PLANS, SPECIFICATIONS AND ESTIMATES, OUR AUDIT NECESSARILY REQUIRES US TO REVIEW THE PRACTICES OF THE STATES WITH REGARD TO THESE ACTIVITIES. OUR CONCERN WITH THESE PRACTICES IS SOLELY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THEIR RELATION TO AND EFFECT UPON THE FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

IN OUR REVIEW OF THE BUREAU'S ADMINISTRATION OF THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM IN MONTANA, WE EXAMINED VARIOUS BUREAU AND STATE FINANCIAL, STATISTICAL, AND NARRATIVE RECORDS AND REPORTS, PROJECT FILES, CORRESPONDENCE FILES, TRANSCRIPTS OF MEETINGS AND HEARINGS, FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATION, AND BUREAU POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, AND WE HAD DISCUSSIONS AND INTERVIEWS WITH RESP0NSIBLE OFFICIALS OF THE BUREAU AND THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT. IN MONTANA, WE ALSO EXAMINED THE REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AND THE TRANSCRIPT OF PUBLIC HEARINGS HELD IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 1959 BEFORE THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE 36TH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY INVESTIGATING THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT. OUR ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THESE FILES, REPORTS, RECORDS, DISCUSSIONS, AND INTERVIEWS FORM THE BASIS FOR OUR VIEWS ON THOSE OPERATIONS OF THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM WHICH WE EXAMINED AND OUR RECOMMENDATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN OF THOSE OPERATIONS WHICH WE CONSIDERED TO WARRANT CORRECTION OR IMPROVEMENT.

DURING THE COURSE OF OUR EXAMINATION OF THE HIGHWAY PROGRAM IN MONTANA, AS IN OTHER STATES, ALL OF THE FINDINGS WHICH WERE ULTIMATELY INCLUDED IN OUR REPORT TO THE CONGRESS WERE DISCUSSED THOROUGHLY WITH BUREAU OFFICIALS AT THE DIVISION, REGIONAL, AND WASHINGTON OFFICES OF THE BUREAU. THE VIEWS OF THESE OFFICIALS ON ALL MATTERS INCLUDED IN THE REPORT WERE OBTAINED FROM THE BUREAU'S REGIONAL ENGINEER AND THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR. THESE VIEWS WERE FULLY CONSIDERED, IN KEEPING WITH THE POLICY OF OUR OFFICE, TO ASSURE THAT OUR REPORTS ARE AS COMPLETE AND OBJECTIVE AS POSSIBLE. BUREAU OFFICIALS WERE GENERALLY RECEPTIVE TO OUR FINDINGS AND INFORMED US THAT CORRECTIVE MEASURES HAVE BEEN TAKEN OR ARE PROPOSED WITH RESPECT TO MANY OF THE MATTERS ..END :