Metropolitan Atlanta's Rapid Transit System:

Problems and Progress

PSAD-80-34: Published: Apr 9, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1980.

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A review was made of the status of development and performance of Metropolitan Atlanta's rapid transit system and the problems being encountered.

Although the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has been successful in completing project milestones close to its plan, management weaknesses and trade-offs have contributed to increased costs of $50 million over the initial estimate for one segment and delays in construction because contracts were awarded before rights-of-way were acquired and the design completed. Ineffective administration of the railcar contract has resulted in late delivery of cars, with cars currently being accepted 8 months behind schedule even though MARTA continues to make progress payments as if they were on schedule. Other problems include: replacement housing costing more than originally estimated, an inadequate warranty program, and authorizations which do not include restrictions and incentives for complete development or limit Government participation in cost overruns. In some instances, more thorough Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) review and guidance could have eliminated, or at least lessened, the management weaknesses of MARTA. However, MARTA has also demonstrated a commitment to effective management by establishing an independent internal audit function which UMTA should require other local transit authorities to adopt.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to: assure that local transit authority procurement and procurement-related practices and procedures are adequate before UMTA waives its prior review and approval requirements; incorporate restrictions and incentives limiting Government participation in cost overruns to extraordinary costs into its no-prejudice authorizations similar to those included in the MARTA phase A agreement; direct MARTA, in future procurements, to formally incorporate all contract changes into the contract; assure that contracts are being properly administered in accordance with contract provisions; develop a better understanding of warranties, prepare and implement guidelines to assure provisions are properly enforced; require that an organizationally independent internal audit function be established at other transit authorities receiving Federal grants; and disallow for Federal participation the cost of the replacement housing in excess of the established just compensation value.

    Agency Affected:


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