This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-09-435T 
entitled 'Transportation Programs: Challenges Facing the Department of 
Transportation and Congress' which was released on March 10, 2009.

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part 
of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every 
attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 
the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 
descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 
end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 
but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 
version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 
replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 
your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 
document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban 
Development, and Related Agencies; Committee on Appropriations; 
House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT:
March 10, 2009: 

Transportation Programs: 

Challenges Facing the Department of Transportation and Congress: 

Statement of Katherine Siggerud, Managing Director: 
Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

GAO-09-435T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-09-435T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; 
Committee on Appropriations; House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

A safe, efficient, and convenient transportation system is integral to 
the health of our economy and quality of life. Our nationís vast 
transportation system of airways, railways, roads, transit systems, and 
waterways has served this need, yet is under considerable pressure due 
to increasing congestion and costs to maintain and improve the system. 
Calls for increased investment come at a time when traditional funding 
for transportation projects is increasingly strained. The authorizing 
legislation supporting transportation programs will soon expire. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) implements national 
transportation policy and administers most federal transportation 
programs. DOT received funds for transportation infrastructure projects 
through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to aid in 
economic recovery. DOT also requested $72.5 billion to carry out its 
activities for fiscal year 2010. 

This statement presents GAOís views on major challenges facing DOT and 
Congress as they work to administer recovery funds and reauthorize 
surface transportation and aviation programs. It is based on work GAO 
has completed over the last several years. GAO has made recommendations 
to DOT to improve transportation programs; the agency has generally 
agreed with these recommendations. To supplement this existing work, 
GAO obtained information on the recovery funds provided to DOT. 

What GAO Found: 

The Department of Transportation received about $48 billion of recovery 
funds for investments in transportation infrastructure from the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As with other executive 
agencies, DOT is faced with the challenges of using these funds in ways 
that will aid economic recovery, making wise funding choices while 
spending the money quickly, and ensuring accountability for results. 
GAO will report to Congress bimonthly on how states and localities use 
the recovery funds received from DOT. 

DOT and Congress will also be faced with numerous challenges as they 
work to reauthorize surface transportation and aviation programs. 

* Funding the nationís transportation system. Revenues to support the 
Highway Trust Fund are not keeping pace with spending levels and the 
Highway Account was nearly depleted last summer. In addition, the 
excise taxes that fund Airport and Airway Trust Fund revenues have been 
lower than previously forecasted, and forecasts of future revenues have 
declined. Declining revenues in both trust funds may adversely affect 
DOTís ability to continue to fund surface transportation and aviation 
programs at levels previously assumed. 

* Improving transportation safety. Although the number of traffic 
crashes and the associated fatality rate has decreased over the last 10 
years, the number of fatalities has remained at about 42,000 annually. 
The continued high level of fatalities and difficulties experienced by 
states in implementing grant programs raise issues for Congress to 
consider in restructuring these programs during reauthorization. While 
the U.S. commercial aviation industry is among the safest in the world, 
accidents can have catastrophic consequences. The lack of performance 
measures and complete data limit DOTís ability to improve safety and 
manage safety risks. 

* Improving transportation mobility. Despite large increases in 
transportation spending, congestion on our nationís highways has 
increased over the last 10 years and increased demand will further 
strain the system. Flight delays and cancellations at congested 
airports continue to plague the U.S. aviation system. For example, 
almost one in four flights either arrived late or was canceled in 2008, 
and the average flight delay increased despite a 6 percent annual 
decline in the total number of operations through December 2008. 
Congestion poses serious economic as well as environmental and health 
concerns for the nation. 

* Transforming the nationís air traffic control system. The air traffic 
control modernization program is technically complex and costly. The 
Federal Aviation Administration will need to accelerate the 
implementation of new and existing technologies, consider incentives 
for aircraft operators to acquire those technologies, and sustain the 
current system while transitioning to the new one, among other things. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-435T] or key 
components. For more information, contact Katherine Siggerud at (202) 
512-2834 or siggerudk@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this hearing to discuss 
the challenges facing the Department of Transportation (DOT) and 
Congress as they work to aid economic recovery and address the 
reauthorization of the surface transportation and aviation programs. A 
safe, efficient, and convenient transportation system is critical to 
the nation's economy and affects the daily life of most Americans. 
However, this system is under pressure, and estimates to repair, 
replace, or upgrade aging infrastructure--as well as expand capacity to 
meet increased demand--top hundreds of billions of dollars. Calls for 
increased investment in transportation coincide with growing strains on 
traditional funding for transportation projects. For example, revenues 
to support the Highway Trust Fund are not keeping pace with spending 
levels, and the fund's Highway Account was nearly depleted last summer. 
[Footnote 1] Similarly, excise tax revenues to support the Airport and 
Airway Trust Fund have been lower than previously forecasted, a trend 
which is likely to continue given the downturn in the economy.[Footnote 
2] The federal government's current financial condition and the 
nation's weakening economy will further strain funding sources for 
transportation projects. 

DOT will immediately be faced with overseeing the distribution of 
economic stimulus funds that were provided in the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act of 2009 to states and localities.[Footnote 3] Congress 
and DOT will also soon face the challenge of allocating federal 
resources to meet demands for a wide range of surface transportation 
infrastructure projects, as the current authorization of federal 
surface transportation programs expires at the end of fiscal year 2009. 
Furthermore, federal aviation programs have been operating under a 
series of funding extensions since the authorizing legislation expired 
at the end of fiscal year 2007. Timely reauthorization is critical to 
ensuring the continuity of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 
current programs and progress in transforming the nation's air traffic 
control system. DOT faces these challenges with few officials named or 
confirmed to appointed posts. 

My statement is primarily based on work that we have completed over the 
past several years. (A list of related GAO products is included with 
this statement.) To supplement our existing work, we also obtained 
information on the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 and the 
President's budget for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 
2010.[Footnote 4] 

Background: 

The safe, efficient, and convenient movement of people and goods 
depends on a vibrant transportation system. Our nation has built vast 
systems of roads, airways, railways, transit systems, pipelines, and 
waterways that facilitate commerce and improve our quality of life. 
However, these systems are under considerable strain due to increasing 
congestion and the costs of maintaining and improving the systems. This 
strain is expected to increase as the demand to move people and goods 
grows resulting from population growth, technological change, and the 
increased globalization of the economy. 

DOT implements national transportation policy and administers most 
federal transportation programs. Its responsibilities are considerable 
and reflect the extraordinary scale, use, and impact of the nation's 
transportation systems. DOT has multiple missions--primarily focusing 
on mobility and safety--that are carried out by several operating 
administrations. (See table 1.) For fiscal year 2010, the President's 
budget requested $72.5 billion to carry out these and other activities. 

Table 1: Primary Missions of the Department of Transportation: 

DOT operating administration: Federal Highway Administration; 
Mission: Enhancing the quality and performance of the nation's highway 
system and intermodal connections. 

DOT operating administration: Federal Aviation Administration; 
Mission: Promoting the safety and efficiency of the national airspace 
system. 

DOT operating administration: Federal Transit Administration; 
Mission: Supporting locally planned and operated public mass transit 
systems. 

DOT operating administration: National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration; 
Mission: Reducing motor vehicle crashes and their associated deaths and 
injuries. 

DOT operating administration: Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration; 
Mission: Reducing commercial motor vehicle-related (large trucks and 
buses) fatalities and injuries. 

DOT operating administration: Federal Railroad Administration; 
Mission: Improving safety on the nation's rail systems and providing 
grants for intercity passenger rail activities. 

DOT operating administration: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration; 
Mission: Maintaining the safety and integrity of the nation's pipeline 
transportation system and the safety of transporting hazardous 
materials. 

DOT operating administration: Maritime Administration; 
Mission: Strengthening the nation's maritime transportation system, 
including infrastructure, industry, and labor. 

Source: DOT. 

Note: This table does not include the Research and Innovative 
Technology Administration or the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development 
Corporation. In addition, the Surface Transportation Board, which has 
jurisdiction over such areas as railroad rate and service issues and 
rail restructuring transactions, is an economic regulatory agency that 
is decisionally independent but administratively affiliated with DOT. 

[End of table] 

DOT carries out some activities directly, such as employing more than 
15,000 air traffic controllers to coordinate air traffic. However, the 
vast majority of the programs it supports are not under its direct 
control. Rather, the recipients of transportation funds, such as state 
departments of transportation, implement most transportation programs. 
For example, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides funds 
to state governments each year to improve roads and bridges and meet 
other transportation demands, but state and local governments decide 
which transportation projects have high priority within their political 
jurisdictions. 

We have previously reported that current surface transportation 
programs--authorized in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)--do not 
effectively address the transportation challenges the nation faces. As 
a result, we have called for a fundamental reexamination of the 
nation's surface transportation programs to (1) have well-defined goals 
with direct links to an identified federal interest and federal role, 
(2) institute processes to make grantees more accountable by 
establishing more performance-based links between funding and program 
outcomes, (3) institute tools and approaches that emphasize the return 
on the federal investment, and (4) address the current imbalance 
between federal surface transportation revenues and spending.[Footnote 
5] 

We have also called for a timely reauthorization of FAA programs that 
expired at the end of fiscal year 2007 and have continued under a 
series of funding extensions. Such short-term funding measures could 
delay key capital projects and may affect FAA's current programs and 
progress toward the Next Generation Air Transportation System. 

Aiding Economic Recovery and Ensuring Accountability for Recovery 
Funds' Use: 

Congress and the presidential administration have fashioned the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help our nation 
respond to what is generally reported to be the worst economic crisis 
since the Great Depression. DOT received about $48 billion of these 
funds for investments in transportation infrastructure--primarily for 
highways, passenger rail, and transit--mostly for use through fiscal 
year 2010. (See table 2.) As with other executive agencies, DOT now 
faces the challenges of using these funds in ways that aid economic 
recovery, making wise funding choices while spending the money quickly, 
and ensuring accountability for results. 

Table 2: 2009 Recovery Act Funds Provided to the Department of 
Transportation: 

Area: Highway; 
Uses: Capital assistance to states and localities to restore, repair, 
and construct highways and passenger and freight rail transportation 
and port infrastructure; 
Amount: $27.5. 

Area: Intercity passenger rail; 
Uses: Capital assistance for high-speed rail, intercity passenger rail, 
and Amtrak; 
Amount: $9.3 billion. 

Area: Transit; 
Uses: Capital assistance for transit projects; 
Amount: $8.4 billion. 

Area: Supplemental discretionary awards[A]; 
Uses: Capital assistance to states and localities for capital 
improvements in surface transportation infrastructure; 
Amount: $1.5 billion. 

Area: Aviation; 
Uses: Capital assistance to airports for improvements and for FAA 
facilities and equipment; 
Amount: $1.3 billion. 

Area: Maritime; 
Uses: Capital assistance to small shipyards; 
Amount: $0.1 billion. 

Total: $48.1 billion. 

Source: GAO summary of information in the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

[A] These funds are for investments in surface transportation 
infrastructure in addition to the other amounts listed in the table. 
The funds are to be awarded competitively for highway, bridge, public 
transportation, passenger and freight rail, and port infrastructure 
projects. 

[End of table] 

The act largely provided for increased transportation funding through 
existing programs--such as the Federal-Aid Highways, the New Starts 
transit, and the Airport Improvement programs. Channeling funding 
through existing programs should allow DOT to jump start its spending 
of recovery funds. However, there is a need to balance the requirement 
in the recovery act to get funds out quickly to help turn around the 
economy with the equally powerful need to make sure that funds are 
spent wisely on infrastructure investments and are not subject to 
waste, fraud, and abuse. 

We have reported on important design criteria for any economic stimulus 
package including that it be timely, temporary, and targeted.[Footnote 
6] This is a difficult challenge for transportation infrastructure 
projects.[Footnote 7] First, they require lengthy planning and design 
periods. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), even those 
projects that are "on the shelf" generally cannot be undertaken quickly 
enough to provide a timely stimulus to the economy.[Footnote 8] Second, 
spending on transportation infrastructure is generally not temporary 
because of the extended time frames needed to complete projects. Third, 
because of differences among states, it is challenging to target 
stimulus funding to areas with the greatest economic and infrastructure 
needs. 

The act will substantially increase the federal investment in the 
nation's surface transportation system. However, the current federal 
approach to addressing the nation's surface transportation problems is 
not working well. Many existing surface transportation programs are not 
effective at addressing key challenges because goals are numerous and 
sometimes conflicting, roles are unclear, programs lack links to the 
performance of the transportation system or of the grantees, and 
programs in some areas do not use the best tools and approaches to 
ensure effective investment decisions and the best use of federal 
dollars. In addition, evidence suggests that increased federal highway 
grants influence states and localities to substitute federal funds for 
state and local funds they otherwise would have spent on highways. In 
2004, we estimated that states used roughly half of the increases in 
federal highway grants since 1982 to substitute for state and local 
highway funding, and that the rate of substitution increased during the 
1990s.[Footnote 9] Our work has also shown that there is still room for 
improved oversight in surface transportation programs including the 
Federal-Aid Highway program. For example, we and the DOT Inspector 
General have each recommended that FHWA develop the capability to track 
and measure the costs of federally-aided projects over time.[Footnote 
10] 

Among other things, the act gives our office the responsibility of 
reporting to Congress bimonthly on how selected states and localities 
are using the recovery funds. We will work with the department's Office 
of Inspector General and with the state and local audit community to 
coordinate our activities.[Footnote 11] We also anticipate that 
committees of jurisdiction will request that we assess specific issues 
related to the department's use of recovery funds. We look forward to 
working with this subcommittee and others to meet Congress's needs. 

Addressing Funding, Safety, Mobility, and Modernization Challenges in 
Surface Transportation and Aviation Reauthorization Efforts: 

DOT and Congress will be faced with numerous challenges as they work to 
reauthorize the surface transportation and aviation programs. In 
particular, the department and Congress will need to address challenges 
in (1) ensuring that the nation's surface transportation and aviation 
systems have adequate funding, (2) improving safety, (3) improving 
mobility, and (4) transforming the nation's air traffic control system. 
Surface transportation program funding is one of the issues on our high-
risk list.[Footnote 12] 

Funding the Nation's Transportation System: 

Revenues from motor fuels taxes and truck-related taxes to support the 
Highway Trust Fund--the primary source of funds for highway and 
transit--are not keeping pace with spending levels. This fact was made 
dramatically apparent last summer when the Highway Account within the 
trust fund was nearly depleted. The balance of the Highway Account has 
been declining in recent years because, as designed in SAFETEA-LU, 
outlays from the account exceed expected receipts over the 
authorization period. Specifically, when SAFETEA-LU was passed in 2005 
estimated outlays from Highway Account programs exceeded estimated 
receipts by about $10.4 billion. Based on these estimates, the Highway 
Account balance would have been drawn down from $10.8 billion to about 
$0.4 billion over the authorization period. This left little room for 
error. Assuming all outlays were spent, a revenue shortfall of even 1 
percent below what SAFETEA-LU had predicted over the 5-year period 
would result in a cash shortfall in the account balance. 

Figure 1: Highway Account Balance, Fiscal Years 1998 through 2009: 

Refer to PDF for image: line graph] 

Fiscal year: 1998; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $16.5 billion; 

Fiscal year: 1999; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $19.2 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2000; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $22.6 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $20.4 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $16.1 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $13 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $10.8 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $10.6 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $9 billion; 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $8.1 billion; 
End of year balance, without $8 billion transfer: 8.1 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2008 (estimate); 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $10 billion; 
End of year balance, without $8 billion transfer: 2 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2009 (estimate); 
End of year balance, with $8 billion transfer: $2.7 billion; 
End of year balance, without $8 billion transfer: -3.1 billion. 

Source: GAO analysis of FHWA data. 

[End of figure] 

In fact, actual Highway Account receipts were lower than had been 
estimated, particularly for fiscal year 2008. Account receipts were 
lower in fiscal year 2008 due to a weakening economy and higher motor 
fuel prices that affected key sources of Highway Trust Fund revenue. 
For example, fewer truck sales, as well as fewer vehicle miles traveled 
and correspondingly lower motor fuel purchases resulted in lower 
revenues. As a result, the account balance dropped more precipitously 
than had been anticipated and was nearly depleted in August 2008--1 
year earlier than the end of the SAFETEA-LU authorization period. In 
response, Congress passed legislation in September 2008 to provide $8 
billion to replenish the account. However, according to CBO, the 
account could reach a critical stage again before the end of fiscal 
year 2009. Without either reduced expenditures or increased revenues, 
or a combination of the two, shortfalls will continue. 

In the past, we have reported on several strategies that could be used 
to better align surface transportation expenditures and revenue. 
[Footnote 13] Each of these strategies has different merits and 
challenges, and the selection of any strategy will likely involve trade-
offs among different policy goals. The strategies related to funding 
sources are also included in the recent report from the National 
Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.[Footnote 
14] 

* Altering existing sources of revenue. The Highway Account's current 
sources of revenue--motor fuel taxes and truck-related taxes--could be 
better aligned with actual outlays. According to CBO and others, the 
existing fuel taxes could be altered in a variety of ways to address 
the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation, including 
increasing the per-gallon tax rate and indexing the rates to inflation. 

* Ensure users are paying fully for benefits. Revenues can also be 
designed to more closely follow the user-pay concept--that is, require 
users to pay directly for the cost of the infrastructure they use. This 
concept seeks to ensure that those who use and benefit from the 
infrastructure are charged commensurately. Although current per-gallon 
fuel taxes reflect usage to a certain extent, these taxes are not 
aligned closely with usage and do not convey to drivers the full costs 
of road use--such as the costs of congestion and pollution. We have 
reported that other user-pay mechanisms--for example, charging 
according to vehicle miles traveled, tolling, implementing new freight 
fees for trucks, and introducing congestion pricing (pricing that 
reflects the greater cost of traveling at peak times)--could more 
equitably recoup costs. 

* Supplement existing revenue sources. We have also reported on 
strategies to supplement existing revenue sources. A number of 
alternative financing mechanisms--such as enhanced private-sector 
participation--can be used to help state and local governments finance 
surface transportation. These mechanisms, where appropriate, could help 
meet growing and costly transportation demands. However, these 
potential financing sources are forms of debt that must ultimately be 
repaid. 

* Reexamine the base. Given the federal government's fiscal outlook, we 
have reported that we cannot accept all of the federal government's 
existing programs, policies, and activities as "givens." Rather, we 
need to rethink existing programs, policies, and activities by 
reviewing their results relative to the national interests and by 
testing their continued relevance and relative priority. 

* Improve the efficiency of current facilities. Finally, better 
managing existing system capacity and improving performance of existing 
facilities could minimize the need for additional expenditures. We have 
reported that the efficiency of the nation's surface transportation 
programs are declining and that the return on investment could be 
improved in a number of ways, including creating incentives to better 
use existing infrastructure. 

In addition to better aligning revenues and outlays, improving existing 
mechanisms that are intended to help maintain Highway Account solvency 
could help DOT better monitor and manage the account balance, thereby 
reducing the likelihood of a funding shortfall. For example, statutory 
mechanisms designed to make annual adjustments to the Highway Account 
have been modified over time--particularly through changes in SAFETEA- 
LU--to the extent that these mechanisms either are no longer relevant 
or are limited in effectiveness.[Footnote 15] Furthermore, monitoring 
indicators throughout the year that could signal sudden changes in the 
Highway Account revenues could help DOT better anticipate potential 
changes in the account balance that should be communicated to Congress, 
state officials, and other stakeholders. We recently made 
recommendations to help DOT improve solvency mechanisms for the Highway 
Account and communication on the account's status with stakeholders. 

Turning to aviation funding, the excise taxes that fund Airport and 
Airway Trust Fund revenues have been lower than previously forecasted, 
and forecasts of future revenues have declined because of a decline in 
airline passenger travel, fares, and fuel consumption.[Footnote 16] 
Moreover, the uncommitted balance in the Trust Fund has decreased since 
fiscal year 2001. (See figure 2). For the short run, lower-than-
expected excise tax revenues will reduce the Trust Fund balance even 
further and could affect funding for FAA programs this year and next. 
In the longer run, continued declines in Trust Fund revenues may 
require Congress to reduce spending on FAA operations and capital 
projects, increase revenues for the trust fund by introducing new fees 
or increasing taxes, or increase FAA's funding provided by the General 
Fund. 

Figure 2: Airport and Airway Trust Fund End-of-Year Uncommitted 
Balance, Fiscal Years 1998 through 2008: 

[Refer to PDF for image: line graph] 

Fiscal year: 1998; 
Balance: $4.589 billion. 

Fiscal year: 1999; 
Balance: $7.363 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2000; 
Balance: $7.074 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
Balance: $7.345 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Balance: $4.815 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Balance: $3.898 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Balance: $2.447 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Balance: $1.94 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Balance: $1.773 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Balance: $1.533 billion. 

Fiscal year: 2008; 
Balance: $1.435 billion. 

Source: Treasury Income Statements. 

[End of figure] 

Improving Transportation Safety: 

Improvements in transportation safety are needed to reduce the number 
of deaths and injuries from transportation accidents, the vast majority 
of which occur on our nation's roads. We recently reported that 
although the number of traffic crashes and the associated fatality 
rates has decreased over the last 10 years, the number of fatalities 
has, unfortunately, remained at about 42,000 annually and some areas 
are of particular concern.[Footnote 17] For example, in 2007, over half 
of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not using safety belts 
or other proper restraint, nearly one-third of the total fatalities 
were in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and motorcyclist fatalities 
increased for the 10th year in a row. 

Figure 3: Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate, 1998 through 2007: 

[Refer to PDF for image: combination vertical bar and line graph] 

Year: 1998; 
Total fatalities: 41,501; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.58. 

Year: 1999; 
Total fatalities: 41,717; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.55. 

Year: 2000; 
Total fatalities: 41,945; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.53. 

Year: 2001; 
Total fatalities: 42,196; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.51. 

Year: 2002; 
Total fatalities: 43,005; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.51. 

Year: 2003; 
Total fatalities: 42,884; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.48. 

Year: 2004; 
Total fatalities: 42,836; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.44. 

Year: 2005; 
Total fatalities: 43,510; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.46. 

Year: 2006; 
Total fatalities: 42,708; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.42. 

Year: 2007; 
Total fatalities: 41,059; 
Fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles traveled: 1.36. 

Sources: NHTSA and FHWA. 

[End of figure] 

While the U.S. commercial aviation industry is among the safest in the 
world, aviation safety is also a major concern because when accidents 
or serious incidents occur they can have catastrophic consequences. 
Moreover, last year there were 25 serious runway incursions--nine of 
these involved commercial aircraft--when collisions between aircraft on 
runways were narrowly avoided. Runway incursions can be considered a 
precursor to aviation accidents.[Footnote 18] Figure 4 shows the number 
of serious incursions involving commercial aircraft from fiscal year 
2001 through fiscal year 2008. 

Figure 4: Total Number of Serious Runway Incursions Involving at Least 
One Commercial Aircraft, Fiscal Years 2001 through 2008: 

[Refer to PDF for image: stacked vertical bar graph] 

Fiscal year: 2001; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 26; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 27. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 11; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 26. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 9; 	
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 23. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 9; 	
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 19. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 9; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 20. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 10; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 21. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 8; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 16. 

Fiscal year: 2008; 
Serious incursions involving at least one commercial aircraft: 7; 
Serious incursions not involving commercial aircraft: 16. 

Source: FAA. 

[End of figure] 

DOT has taken steps to address surface and aviation safety concerns. To 
improve traffic safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) has made substantial progress in administering 
traffic safety grant programs and high-visibility enforcement programs 
which, according to state safety officials, are helping them address 
key traffic safety issues, such as safety belt use and alcohol-impaired 
driving. NHTSA has also taken steps to improve the consistency of its 
process for reviewing states' management of traffic safety grants. To 
maintain and expand the margin of safety within the national airspace 
system, FAA is moving to a system safety approach to oversight and has 
established risk-based, data-driven safety programs to oversee the 
aviation industry. FAA has also taken recent actions to improve runway 
safety, including conducting safety reviews at airports and 
establishing an FAA-industry team to analyze the root causes of serious 
incursions and recommend runway safety improvements. 

Despite NHTSA's progress in administering and overseeing traffic safety 
programs, several challenges may limit the effectiveness of the 
programs and NHTSA's ability to measure and oversee program 
effectiveness: 

* The grant programs generally lack performance accountability 
mechanisms to tie state performance to receipt of grants. 

* Some states have faced challenges passing legislation required to 
qualify for some traffic safety incentive grants. 

* Each safety incentive grant has a separate application process, which 
has proven challenging for some states to manage, especially those with 
small safety offices. 

* Some states also would have preferred more flexibility in using the 
safety incentive grants to focus on key safety issues within the state. 

Over the past several years, we have made recommendations to help NHTSA 
further improve its ability to measure and oversee surface traffic 
safety programs and to help FAA improve its oversight of aviation 
safety. However, some challenges related to traffic safety--such as 
state challenges in administering the programs and the lack of 
performance accountability measures--result from the structure of the 
grant programs established under SAFETEA-LU. These challenges and the 
persistence of substantial numbers of traffic fatalities nationwide 
raise issues for Congress to consider in restructuring surface traffic 
safety programs during the upcoming reauthorization. Furthermore, to 
maintain the high level of safety in the aviation industry, FAA needs 
to address challenges in accessing complete and accurate aviation 
safety data, and improving runway and ramp safety. For example, recent 
actions by some major airlines to discontinue participation in an 
important data reporting program limit data access. Moreover, a lack of 
national data on operations involving air ambulances, air cargo, and 
general aviation hinders FAA's ability to evaluate accident trends and 
manage risks in these sectors. Improving runway safety will require a 
sustained effort by FAA that includes developing new technologies and 
revised procedures to address human factors issues, such as fatigue and 
distraction, which experts have identified as the primary cause of 
incursions. 

Improving Transportation Mobility: 

Congestion has worsened over the past 10 years, despite large increases 
in transportation spending at all levels of government and improvements 
to the physical condition of highways and transit facilities. 
Furthermore, according to DOT, highway spending by all levels of 
government has increased 100 percent in real dollar terms since 1980, 
but the hours of delay during peak travel periods have increased by 
almost 200 percent during the same period. These mobility issues have 
increased at a relatively constant rate over the last two decades. 
[Footnote 19] (See table 3.) 

Table 3: Urban Congestion Impacts on the Nation's Urban Areas: 

Travel delay (billions of hours); 
1985: 1.1; 
1995: 2.5; 
2005: 4.2. 

Wasted fuel (billions of gallons); 
1985: 0.7; 
1995: 1.7; 
2005: 2.9. 

Congestion cost (billions of 2005 dollars); 
1985: $20.5; 
1995: 45.4; 
2005: 78.2. 

Source: Texas Transportation Institute. 

[End of table] 

In addition, demand has outpaced the capacity of the system, and 
projected population growth, technological changes, and increased 
globalization are expected to further strain the system. Likewise, 
increased demand and capacity constraints have threatened the mobility 
of the nation's freight transportation network. According to DOT, 
volumes of goods shipped by trucks and railroads are projected to 
increase by 98 percent and 88 percent, respectively, by 2035 over 2002 
levels, at the same time that the ability to increase capacity will be 
constrained by geographic barriers, population density, and urban land- 
use development patterns. One study estimates that highway congestion 
alone costs shippers $10 billion annually. Constraints on freight 
mobility can also result in undesirable environmental effects, such as 
air pollution, and contribute to increased risks for illnesses, such as 
respiratory disease. 

Flight delays and cancellations at congested airports also continue to 
plague the U.S. aviation system. Flight delays and cancellations 
steadily increased from 2002 through 2007 and decreased slightly in 
2008. (See figure 5.) For example, almost one in four flights either 
arrived late or was canceled in 2008, and the average flight delay 
increased despite a 6 percent decline in the total number of operations 
through December 2008. Delays are a particular problem at a few 
airports, such as those in the New York area, where less than 70 
percent of flights arrive on time. Because the entire airspace system 
is highly interdependent, delays at one airport may lead to delays 
rippling across the system and throughout the day. 

Figure 5: Trends in Percentage of Late Arriving and Canceled Flights-- 
Systemwide (1998 through 2008): 

[Refer to PDF for image: stacked vertical bar graph] 

Year: 1998; 
Late arrivals: 19.9%; 
Canceled flights: 2.7%. 

Year: 1999; 
Late arrivals: 20.9%; 
Canceled flights: 2.8%. 

Year: 2000; 
Late arrivals: 23.9%; 
Canceled flights: 3.3%. 

Year: 2001; 
Late arrivals: 18.5%; 
Canceled flights: 3.9%. 

Year: 2002; 
Late arrivals: 16.5%; 
Canceled flights: 1.2%. 

Year: 2003; 
Late arrivals: 16.3%; 
Canceled flights: 1.6%. 

Year: 2004; 
Late arrivals: 19.9%; 
Canceled flights: 1.8%. 

Year: 2005; 
Late arrivals: 20.5%; 
Canceled flights: 1.9%. 

Year: 2006; 
Late arrivals: 22.6%; 
Canceled flights: 1.7%. 

Year: 2007; 
Late arrivals: 24.2%; 
Canceled flights: 2.2%. 

Year: 2008; 
Late arrivals: 21.76%; 
Canceled flights: 1.96%. 

Source: DOT. 

[End of figure] 

Commissions, proposals, and actions have attempted to address mobility 
issues in past years. To address concerns with the performance of the 
surface transportation system, including mobility concerns, Congress 
established two commissions to examine current and future needs of the 
system and recommend needed changes to surface transportation programs, 
one of which called for significantly increasing the level of 
investment in surface transportation. Various other transportation 
industry associations and research organizations have also issued 
proposals for restructuring surface transportation programs. DOT has 
also taken several steps in the last 5 years to address key impediments 
to freight mobility by developing policies and programs to address 
congestion in the United States. For example, it has drafted a 
framework for a national freight policy, released a national strategy 
to reduce congestion, and created a freight analysis framework to 
forecast freight flows along national corridors and through gateways. 
[Footnote 20] DOT and FAA began implementing several actions in summer 
2008 intended to enhance capacity and reduce flight delays, 
particularly in the New York region. These actions include redesigning 
the airspace around the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia 
metropolitan area and establishing schedule caps on takeoffs and 
landings at the three major New York airports.[Footnote 21] In 
addition, as part of a broad congestion relief initiative, DOT awarded 
over $800 million to several cities under its Urban Partnership 
Agreements initiative to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of 
comprehensive, integrated, performance-driven, and innovative 
approaches to relieving congestion. 

We have previously reported on several challenges that impede DOT's 
efforts to improve mobility: 

* Although all levels of government have significantly invested in 
transportation, and recommendations have been made by transportation 
stakeholders for increasing investment in surface transportation even 
further, we have previously reported that federal transportation 
funding is generally not linked to specific performance-related goals 
or outcomes, resulting in limited assurance that federal funding is 
being channeled to the nation's most critical mobility needs. Federal 
funding is also often tied to a single transportation mode, which may 
limit the use of those funds to finance the greatest improvements in 
mobility. 

* DOT does not possess adequate data to assess outcomes or implement 
performance measures. For example, DOT lacks a central source for data 
on congestion--even though it has identified congestion as a top 
priority--and available data are stovepiped by mode, impeding efficient 
planning and project selection. 

* Although DOT and FAA should be commended for taking steps to reduce 
mounting flight delays and cancellations, as we predicted this past 
summer, delays and cancellations in 2008 did not markedly improve over 
2007 levels despite a decline in passenger traffic.[Footnote 22] The 
growing air traffic congestion and delay problem that we face is the 
result of many factors, including airline practices and inadequate 
investment in airport and air traffic control infrastructure. Long-term 
investments in airport infrastructure and air traffic control, or other 
actions by Congress, DOT, or FAA could address the fundamental 
imbalance between underlying demand for, and supply of, airspace 
capacity. 

Modernizing the Air Traffic Control System and Ensuring a Safe and 
Efficient Transformation to the Next Generation Air Transportation 
System: 

FAA has made significant progress in addressing weaknesses in its air 
traffic control modernization. It established a framework for improving 
system management capabilities, continued to develop an enterprise 
architecture, implemented a comprehensive investment management 
process, assessed its human capital challenges, and developed an 
updated corrective action plan for 2009 to sustain improvement efforts 
and enhance its ability to address risks, among other things. Because 
FAA has shown progress in addressing most of the root causes of past 
problems with the air traffic control modernization effort and is 
committed to sustaining progress into the future, we removed this area 
from the high-risk list in January 2009. Nonetheless, we will closely 
monitor FAA's efforts because the modernization program is still 
technically complex and costly, and FAA needs to place a high priority 
on efficient and effective management. 

FAA's improvement efforts are even more critical because the 
modernization has been extended to plan for the Next Generation Air 
Transportation System (NextGen)--a complex and ambitious multiagency 
undertaking that is intended to transform the current radar-based 
system to an aircraft-centered, satellite-based system by 2025. As the 
primary implementer of NextGen, FAA faces several challenges that, if 
not addressed, could severely compromise NextGen goals and potentially 
lead to a future gap between the demand for air transportation and 
available capacity that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars 
annually. Challenges facing FAA include the following:[Footnote 23] 

* Accelerating the implementation of available NextGen technologies, 
which, according to some industry stakeholders, are not being 
implemented fast enough to have NextGen in place by 2025. 

* Working with stakeholders to explore a range of potential options 
that would provide incentives to aircraft operators to purchase NextGen 
equipment and to suppliers to develop that equipment. These options 
could include some combination of mandated deadlines, operational 
credits, or equipment investment credits. 

* Reconfiguring facilities and enhancing runways to take full advantage 
of NextGen's benefits. FAA has not developed a comprehensive 
reconfiguration plan, but intends to report on the cost implications of 
reconfiguration this year. 

* Sustaining the current air traffic control system and maintaining 
facilities during the transition to NextGen. More and longer 
unscheduled outages of existing equipment and support systems indicate 
more frequent system failures. These systems will be the core of the 
national airspace system for a number of years and, in some cases, 
become part of NextGen. 

To implement NextGen, the department is undertaking several 
initiatives. For example, FAA has formed partnerships with industry to 
accelerate the availability of NextGen capabilities. These partnerships 
include (1) entering into agreements with private sector firms to 
conduct NextGen technology demonstration projects; (2) working with 
industry and the local community on their plans to build an aviation 
research and technology park where FAA can work with industry on the 
research and development, integration, and testing of NextGen 
technologies; and (3) establishing a NextGen midterm task force to 
forge a consensus on operational improvements and planned benefits for 
2013 to 2018. In addition, to increase the capacity of existing runways 
at busy airports, FAA has begun implementing the High-Density Terminal 
and Airport Operations initiative that changes requirements for 
aircraft separation and spacing, among other things. 

One step for moving forward with the NextGen transition was proposed in 
the 2009 House reauthorization bill, which directed FAA to establish a 
working group to develop criteria and make recommendations for the 
realignment of services and facilities--considering safety, potential 
cost savings, and other criteria, in concert with stakeholders, 
including employee groups. Until FAA establishes this working group and 
the group develops recommendations, the configurations needed for 
NextGen cannot be implemented and potential savings that could help 
offset the cost of NextGen will not be realized. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased 
to respond to any questions that you or other Members of the 
Subcommittee might have. 

GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

For further information on this statement, please contact Katherine 
Siggerud at (202) 512-2834 or siggerudk@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs offices may be found on the 
last page of this statement. Individuals making key contributions to 
this testimony were Sara Vermillion, Assistant Director; Steve Cohen, 
Matthew Cook, Heather Krause, Nancy Lueke, James Ratzenberger, and 
Teresa Spisak. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

National Airspace System: FAA Reauthorization Issues Are Critical to 
System Transformation and Operations. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-377T]. Washington, D.C.: February 
11, 2009. 

High-Risk Series: An Update. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-271]. Washington, D.C.: January 
2009. 

FAA Airspace Redesign: An Analysis of the New York/New Jersey/ 
Philadelphia Project. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-786]. Washington, D.C.: July 31, 
2008. 

Surface Transportation Programs: Proposals Highlight Key Issues and 
Challenges in Restructuring the Programs. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-843R]. Washington, D.C.: July 29, 
2008. 

Traffic Safety Programs: Progress, States' Challenges, and Issues for 
Reauthorization. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-990T]. 
Washington, D.C.: July 16, 2008. 

Physical Infrastructure: Challenges and Investment Options for the 
Nation's Infrastructure. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-763T]. Washington, D.C.: May 8, 
2008. 

Surface Transportation: Restructured Federal Approach Needed for More 
Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-400]. Washington, D.C.: March 6, 
2008. 

Federal Aviation Administration: Challenges Facing the Agency in Fiscal 
Year 2009 and Beyond. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-460T]. Washington, D.C.: February 7, 
2008. 

Federal-Aid Highways: Increased Reliance on Contractors Can Pose 
Oversight Challenges for Federal and State Officials. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-198]. Washington, D.C.: January 8, 
2008. 

Freight Transportation: National Policy and Strategies Can Help Improve 
Freight Mobility. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-287]. 
Washington, D.C.: January 7, 2008. 

Highlights of a Forum: Transforming Transportation Policy for the 21st 
Century. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1210SP]. 
Washington, D.C.: September 19, 2007. 

Surface Transportation: Strategies Are Available for Making Existing 
Road Infrastructure Perform Better. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-920]. Washington, D.C.: July 26, 
2007. 

Performance and Accountability: Transportation Challenges Facing 
Congress and the Department of Transportation. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-545T]. Washington, D.C.: March 6, 
2007. 

Highway Trust Fund: Overview of Highway Trust Fund Estimates. 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-572T]. Washington, D.C.: 
April 4, 2006. 

Highlights of an Expert Panel: The Benefits and Costs of Highway and 
Transit Investments. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-423SP]. Washington, D.C.: May 6, 
2005. 

Federal-Aid Highways: FHWA Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Improving 
Project Oversight. [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-173]. 
Washington, D.C.: January 31, 2005. 

Federal-Aid Highways: Trends, Effect on State Spending, and Options for 
Future Program Design. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-802]. Washington, D.C.: August 31, 
2004. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] The Highway Trust Fund is the mechanism used to account for federal 
highway user taxes (e.g., federal excise taxes on fuel) that are 
dedicated for highway-and transit-related purposes. The Highway Trust 
Fund has two accounts: the Highway Account and the Mass Transit 
Account. 

[2] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is primarily funded by an 
appropriation from The Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which comes from 
various excise taxes paid by passenger and cargo airlines and general 
aviation operators. FAA also receives an appropriation from the General 
Fund to support its operations. 

[3] Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115 (2009). 

[4] We conducted our work in accordance with all sections of GAO's 
Quality Assurance Framework that were relevant to the objectives of 
each engagement. The framework requires that we plan and perform each 
engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate evidence to meet our 
stated objectives and to discuss any limitations in our work. We 
believe that the information and data obtained, and the analyses 
conducted, provided a reasonable basis for the findings and conclusions 
in each report. 

[5] GAO, Surface Transportation: Restructured Federal Approach Needed 
for More Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-400] (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 6, 2008). 

[6] GAO, Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: Action Is Needed to Avoid the 
Possibility of a Serious Economic Disruption in the Future, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-411T] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 29, 
2008). 

[7] GAO, Physical Infrastructure: Challenges and Investment Options for 
the Nation's Infrastructure, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-763T] (Washington, D.C.: May 8, 
2008). 

[8] Congressional Budget Office, Options for Responding to Short-Term 
Economic Weakness, January 2008. 

[9] GAO, Federal-Aid Highways: Trends, Effect on State Spending, and 
Options for Future Program Design, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-802] (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 31, 
2004). The recovery act requires that each governor certify to DOT that 
their state will maintain its efforts for the types of projects that 
are funded by the act. 

[10] GAO, Federal-Aid Highways: FHWA Needs a Comprehensive Approach to 
Improving Project Oversight, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-05-173] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 31, 
2005). We recently reported on the need to better oversee states' 
increased use of contractors and consultants to assure the public's 
interest is adequately protected. See GAO, Federal-Aid Highways: 
Increased Reliance on Contractors Can Pose Oversight Challenges for 
Federal and State Officials, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-198] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 8, 
2008). See also Office of Inspector General, FHWA Needs to Capture 
Basic Aggregate Cost and Schedule Data to Improve Its Oversight of 
Federal-Aid Funds, MH-2005-046 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 15, 2005). In 
addition, the department's Office of Inspector General recently 
reported that the department needed to better oversee states' oversight 
of design and engineering firms' indirect cost billing. See Office of 
Inspector General, Oversight of Design and Engineering Firms' Indirect 
Costs Claimed on Federal-Aid Grants, ZA-2009-033 (Washington, D.C.: 
Feb. 5, 2009). 

[11] GAO, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: GAO's Role in Helping 
to Ensure Accountability and Transparency, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-453T] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 5, 
2009). 

[12] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-271] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 22, 
2009). Surface transportation modes included in the high-risk report 
are highways and transit, intercity passenger rail, and freight rail. 

[13] GAO, Surface Transportation: Restructured Federal Approach Needed 
for More Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-400] (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 6, 2008). 

[14] National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing 
Commission, Paying Our Way: A New Framework for Transportation Finance, 
February 2009. 

[15] Two mechanisms are intended to help keep the Highway Account 
solvent by making annual adjustments to ensure there are adequate funds 
to reimburse states (through the Byrd Test) and align outlays with 
actual revenues (through Revenue Aligned Budget Authority). 

[16] Airport and Airway Trust Fund excise taxes expired at the end of 
fiscal year 2007 but were extended through March 31, 2009. 

[17] GAO, Traffic Safety Programs: Progress, States' Challenges, and 
Issues for Reauthorization, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-890T] (Washington, D.C.: July 16, 
2008). 

[18] GAO, Aviation Safety: FAA Has Increased Efforts to Address Runway 
Incursions, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-1169T] 
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 25, 2008). 

[19] Texas Transportation Institute, The 2007 Urban Mobility Report, 
September 2007. The statistics cited are for the 437 urban areas in the 
United States. 

[20] GAO, Freight Transportation: National Policy and Strategies Can 
Help Improve Freight Mobility, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-287] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 7, 
2008). 

[21] GAO, FAA Airspace Redesign: An Analysis of the New York/New 
Jersey/Philadelphia Project, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-786] (Washington, D.C.: July 31, 
2008). 

[22] GAO, National Airspace System: DOT and FAA Actions Will Likely 
Have a Limited Effect on Reducing Delays during Summer 2008 Travel 
Season, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-934T] 
(Washington, D.C.: July 15, 2008). 

[23] GAO, National Airspace System: FAA Reauthorization Issues are 
Critical to System Transformation and Operations, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-377T] (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 11, 
2009). 

[End of section] 

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. 

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Each 
weekday, GAO posts newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence on its Web site. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly 
posted products every afternoon, go to [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] 
and select "E-mail Updates." 

Order by Phone: 

The price of each GAO publication reflects GAOís actual cost of
production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAOís Web site, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm]. 

Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
TDD (202) 512-2537. 

Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional 
information. 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm]: 
E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov: 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Ralph Dawn, Managing Director, dawnr@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: