Friday, May 29, 2009

GAO Reports on Job Access Program

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just issued its latest analysis of the Federal Transit Administration's Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program. In the latest report, GAO finds that states and urbanized areas are starting to obligate funds and deliver a variety of projects, with most JARC funds being used to cover operating costs.

Noting that 14 percent of FY 2006 JARC funds lapsed , GAO agreed with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that there were several factors behind these lapses of funding, including delays arising from the time spent by FTA meeting with stakeholders and crafting program guidance, and the number of steps required by law to deliver projects, including the designation of recipients, development of coordinated plans, and competitive basis for project selection.

GAO found that there continue to be some structural program challenges, including:
  • Difficulty in securing non-federal matching funds;
  • Complexity facing states as they manage statewide JARC programs for their rural and smaller urbanized areas; and
  • Complexity of managing and delivering JARC projects in very large metropolitan areas, including coordination challenges among multiple JARC recipients and challenges coordinating JARC services with other FTA-funded transit activities in these metro areas.
The bottom line of this report, though, is summed up in GAO's introductory statement, "FTA is making progress in awarding funds and has awarded about 48 percent of the $436.6 million in JARC funds apportioned for fiscal years 2006 through 2008 to 49 states and 131 of 152 large urbanized areas."

The GAO report is "Federal Transit Administration: Progress and Challenges in Implementing and Evaluating the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program," and is report number GAO-09-496, issued May 21, 2009. Available on line from the GAO website:

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