Transportation Issues

CED-78-159: Published: Oct 10, 1978. Publicly Released: Oct 10, 1978.

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Because of the complexity and importance of the U.S. transportation system, government at all levels; Federal, State, and local has assumed a wide range of roles and responsibilities in transportation. At the Federal level, these responsibilities include: promoting the development of an efficient and accessible national transportation system; promoting fair competition and protecting the public from abuse of monopoly power; protecting the safety of travelers and cargo; and balancing environmental, social, and energy goals with transportation needs.

Current transportation issues involve: rail freight transportation, rail passenger service, urban mass transit, highway and auto safety, trucking industry regulation, air transportation, inland waterways, ocean transportation, and pipelines. Future developments in three areas; energy, environmental quality, and new technology are likely to have particular importance for the U.S. transportation system. GAO has been involved in: developing and coordinating balanced national transportation policies and programs; evaluating efforts at restructuring and rehabilitating the railroad freight transportation system; evaluating programs to develop a safe motor vehicle, highway transportation system; evaluating the management of Federal assistance programs for highway construction and maintenance; and evaluating the justifications for transportation regulation. Other GAO activities have included audits of Amtrak's management role and studies of aircraft safety and economic regulation. The GAO role in developing economically viable urban public transit systems has been limited.

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