Why Urban System Funds Were Seldom Used for Mass Transit

CED-77-49: Published: Mar 18, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 1977.

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Since 1973, few communities have used Highway Trust Fund monies made available by Congress for mass transit under the Urban System Program.

Only 13 urban areas in 8 states used the program for mass transit projects such as buying buses and rail passenger cars. Most communities continued using Urban System funds for local roads because Urban Mass Transportation Administration grants were available for mass transit projects and because highways needed work. Other reasons Urban System funds were not used for mass transit included the fact that less matching shares were required for federal mass transit than for highway programs; federal regulations for implementing mass transit projects were not issued; and some smaller communities experienced delays or confusion in obtaining project approval.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish procedures for setting target dates for issuing regulations which implement Department of Transportation programs, especially those requiring coordination by Department agencies; and require the agencies to report periodically to the Secretary on their programs. To improve the administration of the Urban System Program, the Secretary should direct the Federal Highway and Urban Mass Transportation Administrations to issue, as soon as possible, final regulations on the use of highway funds for mass transit projects. If Congress wants more Urban System funds to be used for mass transit, it should provide further incentives to local communities.

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