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A Framework for Infrastructure Funding

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released its much anticipated assessment of the nation’s transportation investment options. The report entitled A Framework for Infrastructure Funding concludes that the only meaningful mechanism for attaining the administration’s vision for a large-scale infrastructure program is through a federal fuel tax increase. The inefficiency of other mechanisms, including mileage-based user fees and increased tolling, will fall far short of the needed revenue stream without placing undue hardship on system users. In addition, ATRI’s research documents that a federal fuel tax increase will incentivize states to generate multi-million dollar matches to the new federal funds, ultimately moving the United States closer to the infrastructure investment goals proposed by both Congress and the President.


DOT Should Take Actions to Improve the Selection of Freight and Highway Projects

In December 2015, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) authorized DOT to award $4.5 billion in discretionary grants for fiscal years 2016 through 2020; DOT awarded $759.2 million in fiscal year 2016. The FAST Act required GAO to assess FASTLANE's processes for selecting grants. This report addresses: (1) the processes used to evaluate and award FASTLANE grants, (2) the extent to which DOT followed its FASTLANE evaluation plan, and (3) the extent to which the process aligned with recommended practices and DOT's own guidance for awarding discretionary grants. GAO reviewed DOT and FASTLANE documentation, analyzed FASTLANE's fiscal year 2016 data, and interviewed DOT officials and 13 FASTLANE applicants selected to include projects of varying sizes, locations, and modes.


Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains

Large trucks with gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds drove approximately 280 billion miles on U.S. roads in 2015 and were involved in a total of over 400,000 crashes, which resulted in 116,000 injuries and 4,067 deaths. Advances in vehicle safety technology provide the opportunity to prevent substantial numbers of these crashes, injuries, and deaths. Examples of such technologies include braking systems designed to shorten a truck’s stopping distance, systems that warn the driver if the truck begins to drift out of its lane, and systems that can detect when a crash is imminent and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so. The purpose of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of these technologies by comparing the economic value of the benefits associated with installing these advanced safety technologies on large trucks with the costs of doing so.