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Highlights

GAO discussed challenges facing the Department of Transportation (DOT) and its agencies. GAO noted that: (1) 66 percent of current DOT budget is apportioned for surface transportation activities; (2) because significant amounts will be distributed to states to preserve and improve surface transportation infrastructure and address safety problems, sound transportation project management and oversight can help ensure that resources are distributed equitably and effectively; (3) changes to the funding formula the Federal Highway Administration uses to distribute funds to states could result in state highway funding gaps; (4) Amtrak estimates it will need $5.5 billion over the next 6 years to improve its system, particularly along the Northeast Corridor; (5) cost increases and schedule delays to Federal Aviation Administration modernization projects will reduce overall funding and could cause transportation safety and efficiency problems; (6) FAA projects a funding shortfall of $12 billion between 1997 and 2002; and (7) although the Coast Guard is considering installing or upgrading its vessel traffic service systems, there is a lack of widespread support for this project and the expected safety improvements are questionable.

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