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FREIGHT RESOURCE CENTER

RESEARCH

  • facts and figures
  • presentations
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02-28-2018
Improvements Are Needed To Strengthen the Benefit-Cost Analysis Process for the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program

Since its establishment in 2009, the Office of the Secretary’s (OST) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program has provided billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements and economic development. As part of the selection process for TIGER awards, OST evaluates each applicant’s project benefit-cost analysis (BCA), which shows the project’s economic benefits. Prior to fiscal year 2016, projects that did not demonstrate net economic benefits were disqualified, but for fiscal year 2016 and after, lack of economic benefit did not automatically disqualify projects. OIG conducted this audit because of the importance of BCAs to TIGER grant awardee selection. OIG’s objective was to assess OST’s policies and procedures for evaluating BCAs in determining which TIGER grant applications are forwarded for further review. OIG assessed the BCA process for the fiscal year 2015 and 2016 rounds.

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02-28-2018
Identifying State Freight Plan Best Practices

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a report on best practices in freight planning at the state level. The report will allow state Departments of Transportation and their consultants to better address those freight planning components that are viewed as most critical by FHWA, state DOTs and State Trucking Association leaders. ATRI called for nominations of innovative state freight plans from state DOT personnel and freight stakeholders nationwide. The top twelve plans then formed the basis for an “Ideal Attributes Checklist,” by which the other state freight plans were assessed. The state plans are also compared against FAST Act-required and recommended components. In summary, the process synthesized minimum freight planning requirements along with innovative practices and mapped nearly 50 different freight plans against the “model freight plan” framework. The report’s Ideal Attributes Checklist, along with lessons learned and the various innovative

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01-31-2018
HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT PROJECTS Evaluation Guidance Needed for States with National Environmental Policy Act Authority

Since 2005, over 30 provisions have been enacted in law to speed up the delivery of highway and transit projects, mainly by streamlining the NEPA review process. NEPA requires federal agencies to evaluate the potential environmental effects of proposed projects on the human environment. These project delivery provisions included new categorical exclusions to streamline the review process, and a provision allowing DOT to assign federal NEPA approval authority to states. Congress included provisions in statute for GAO to assess the use of these provisions and whether they have accelerated project delivery. This report examines: (1) which project delivery provisions were used by state DOTs and selected transit agencies and the reported effects, and (2) the extent to which DOT has assigned NEPA authority to states and the reported effects, among other objectives.

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