Mass Transit:

Issues Related to Fiscal Year 1995 Appropriations

T-RCED-94-180: Published: Apr 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1994.

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GAO discussed mass transit appropriation issues, focusing on the: (1) changes in capital investment planning for transit systems; (2) challenges facing transit agencies in implementing paratransit requirements; and (3) administration's proposal to reduce the transit operating assistance budget. GAO noted that: (1) the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) are implementing changes to improve the planning process for major transit investment projects which include increasing the reliability of ridership forecasts and promoting alternative modes of transportation; (2) the new planning process will allow FTA to share its project assessment responsibility with a wider range of entities involved with transportation planning; (3) FTA and FHwA have not yet developed mechanisms to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the new planning process; (4) the effect of recent disability legislation on transit agencies will vary depending on the availability of paratransit services and routes; (5) transit agencies could face difficulties in meeting paratransit requirements, determining who is eligible for paratransit services, and financing paratransit services; (6) although the administration plans to reduce mass transit funding by 25 percent in its 1995 budget request, the effect of the reduction on transit operations and unfunded federal mandates is uncertain; and (7) Congress will need to evaluate whether increases to capital or operating assistance are necessary so that FTA can meet its transportation requirements.

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