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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4842 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 473 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 9 of 9 Recommendations, including 1 Priority Recommendations

National Highways: Analysis of Available Data Could Better Ensure Equitable Pavement Condition

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The Deputy Administrator of FHWA should analyze pavement condition data, such as Highway Performance Monitoring System data, to examine the concentration of poor pavement in specific areas within states and differences in pavement condition by community or other characteristics, which could include race and ethnicity, poverty, or population density. Such an analysis could also incorporate more recent pavement condition data, control for additional factors that may affect pavement condition, or include statistical modeling of pavement conditions within a state. (Recommendation 1)
Open

DOT partially concurred with both recommendations and noted some steps it plans to take, such as examining where National Highway Performance Program funds are invested and the contributing factors driving those investment decisions. According to DOT, FHWA will use the results of this analysis to identify potential strategies to help states mitigate investment decision-making processes that may potentially lead to inequitable outcomes. We believe these actions, if fully implemented, will better position FHWA to examine and help states address inequitable pavement conditions. However, we

Federal Highway Administration Based on the outcome of FHWA's analyses of pavement condition data, the Deputy Administrator of FHWA should identify potential strategies to help states detect and address issues that could contribute to concentrations in poor pavement and differences in pavement condition by community or other characteristics, which could include race and ethnicity, poverty, or population density. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DOT partially concurred with both recommendations and noted some steps it plans to take, such as examining where National Highway Performance Program funds are invested and the contributing factors driving those investment decisions. According to DOT, FHWA will use the results of this analysis to identify potential strategies to help states mitigate investment decision-making processes that may potentially lead to inequitable outcomes. We believe these actions, if fully implemented, will better position FHWA to examine and help states address inequitable pavement conditions. However, we

Highway Trust Fund: Federal Highway Administration Should Develop and Apply Criteria to Assess How Pilot Projects Could Inform Expanded Use of Mileage Fee Systems

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The Acting Administrator of FHWA should develop and apply criteria to assess the scalability of the STSFA pilot projects.
Open

In May 2022, DOT officials told GAO that FHWA plans to work with subject matter experts to develop and document scalability criteria by March 2023. Once scalability criteria is developed and as funding permits, FHWA plans to apply the criteria as part of its evaluations of individual mileage fee pilot projects to determine whether lessons learned from these pilots could inform to the operation of a national mileage fee pilot. GAO will continue to monitor DOT's implementation of this recommendation.

Highway Bridges: Federal Highway Administration Could Better Assist States with Information on Corrosion Practices

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The Administrator of FHWA should ensure that FHWA's ongoing bridge preservation efforts include activities, such as peer exchanges and case studies that focus on addressing the challenges states face with determining the circumstances under which specific corrosion practices and materials are most effective. (Recommendation 1)
Open

FHWA concurred with the recommendation and indicated in its 180-day letter from January 2022, that it plans to conduct two regional peer exchanges related to corrosion, one for Midwest and Northeast states that experience frequent freeze-thaw cycles and use de-icing chemicals on their highway bridges and one for Southeast states that experience freeze-thaw cycles or have highway bridges exposed to saltwater. These exchanges will focus on states' practices and materials used to mitigate corrosion. FHWA plans to publish case studies or communicate its findings to states and expects to complete

Pedestrians and Cyclists: Better Information to States and Enhanced Performance Management Could Help DOT Improve Safety

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The FHWA Administrator should more fully use performance management practices to guide its pedestrian and cyclist safety activities, such as (1) by developing performance measures for FHWA and the program offices responsible for implementing pedestrian and cyclist safety activities to demonstrate how these activities contribute to safety goals, and (2) by using performance information to make any necessary changes to advance pedestrian and cyclist safety efforts. (Recommendation 3)
Open

In November 2021, DOT stated that it partially concurred with this recommendation and identified steps that FHWA would be taking to more fully use performance management practices. In particular, FHWA plans to use project information reported by states to develop performance measures on pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure countermeasure implementation. These measures will include the number of projects completed and total expenditures funded through FHWA programs. Further, FHWA will track its efforts delivering resources to states, regional, and local governments to address the safety of

Highway Emergency Relief: Federal Highway Administration Should Enhance Accountability over Project Decisions

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2 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of FHWA should require FHWA division offices to document the rationale for classifying projects as emergency repairs, such as a description of why an emergency repair is necessary and which alternative strategies or repairs were considered, and to more clearly define the circumstances under which projects are classified as emergency repairs, including what constitutes restoration of essential traffic. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Previously, DOT distributed a memorandum directing division offices to document the rationale for classifying projects as emergency repairs, along with the elements we recommended be included, and plans to incorporate this requirement in FHWA's primary guidance document-the Emergency Relief Manual. As of January 2023, DOT officials updated the timeline for these changes to July 2023. To fully implement our recommendation, FHWA should compete the revisions to the Emergency Repair Manual. This action would help ensure that emergency relief funds are being used for the purposes intended or put to

Federal Highway Administration The Administrator of FHWA should identify a specific timeline for clarifying the policy on the acceptable time frames for accomplishing emergency repair projects undertaken under expedited contracting and environmental requirements, and require FHWA division offices to document the rationale for decisions to extend projects beyond these time frames. (Recommendation 2)
Open

Previously, DOT distributed a memorandum clarifying the time frames for accomplishing emergency repair projects and allowable justifications and documentation requirements for extending those time frames. According to DOT officials, FHWA plans to incorporate this requirement in FHWA's primary guidance document-the Emergency Relief Manual. As of January 2023, DOT officials updated the timeline for these changes to July 2023. DOT officials also noted this memo is intended to apply to all emergency repairs and does not provide exemptions for situations where an event is provided 100 percent

Tribal Consultation: Additional Federal Actions Needed for Infrastructure Projects

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration should document in the agency's tribal consultation policy how agency officials are to communicate with tribes about how tribal input from consultation was considered in agency decisions on infrastructure projects. (Recommendation 14)
Open

As of November 2021, the Federal Highway Administration indicated it plans to implement the recommendation by July 2022.

Highway and Transit Projects: Evaluation Guidance Needed for States with National Environmental Policy Act Authority

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Highway Administration The FHWA Administrator should offer and provide guidance or technical assistance to NEPA assignment states on developing evaluation methodologies, including baseline time frames and timeliness measures. (Recommendation 1)
Open

As of April 2022, FHWA has not agreed to offer and provide guidance or technical assistance on evaluation methodologies for NEPA assignment states. GAO continues to believe further evaluation guidance is needed, and will continue to monitor FHWA's actions.

Have a Question about a Recommendation?

For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.