The nation's economy and its citizens' quality of life depend on our transportation system. While all government levels have made significant investments in transportation, projections of future passenger and freight travel indicate that considerable investment will be needed to maintain the system. However, this comes amid growing concern about the size of the federal budget deficit and increasing demands on state and local government revenue. As a result, careful decisions will need to be made to ensure that transportation investments maximize the benefits of each dollar invested. The House Appropriations Committee report accompanying the fiscal year 2004 Departments of Transportation and Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, required GAO to review the benefits and costs of various transportation modes. (See GAO-05-172.) As part of this study, GAO convened an expert panel that included some of the leading transportation economists and practitioners from throughout the nation. The panel discussed the benefits and costs of highway and transit investments.
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