GAO Report Finds Lack of Transparency in Certain Competitive DOT Grants
Committee Leaders Call for More Clarity & Oversight
Following a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighting a lack of project selection transparency, the bipartisan leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Highways and Transit Subcommittee today requested that GAO continue its oversight of a Department of Transportation competitive grant program for significant highway, bridge, and freight projects.
GAO’s report focused on the selection of projects under the Nationally Significant Freight and Highways Projects (NSFHP) competitive grant program, created under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015. The previous administration issued the first round of grants under the program, which it called FASTLANE, in 2016. The current administration has renamed the program as the INFRA program and is currently receiving applications for additional grants.
According to the new report (GAO-18-38): “Based on a review of FASTLANE’s decision-making documentation, GAO was unable to determine the rationale for selecting the 18 awarded projects. This documentation restated the anticipated benefits of the selected projects, but did not otherwise provide insight into why some projects were selected for awards over others. Without complete documentation of the decision-making, the transparency of the application review and selection process is limited.”
“It’s critical that the Department, regardless of the administration, carry out this program as Congress intended, and that these competitive grants be evaluated and selected in a fair and transparent manner. There needs to be more clarity in this process in the future, and we have requested GAO’s continued assessment of the program to help ensure that happens,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) in a joint statement.
Click here for the Committee leaders’ letter to GAO.