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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Transportation

GAO-21-591PR Published: Jun 25, 2021. Publicly Released: Jul 01, 2021.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 16 priority open recommendations for the U.S. Department of Transportation as of June 2021. For example, in 2020, we made 2 recommendations to improve how the FAA oversees aircraft registration and to help the agency detect potential fraud in applications.

Since our previous letter in April 2020, DOT implemented 6 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In April 2020, GAO identified 16 priority recommendations for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Since then, DOT has implemented 6 of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to address safety oversight of uncrewed aircraft systems and to prioritize local freight-related congestion in its national freight policy.

In June 2021, GAO identified 6 additional priority recommendations for DOT, bringing the total number to 16. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • identifying program leadership and developing comprehensive plans.
  • addressing safety risks.
  • reducing fraud and abuse risks.
  • improving transparency and communication.
  • managing cybersecurity risks and information technology (IT).

DOT’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact David Trimble at (202) 512-2834 or

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