Letter to Congress on the Status of MAP-21, Subtitle C: Acceleration of Project Delivery
MAP-21 is the first long-term surface transportation authorization since 2005, providing $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The Act’s Subtitle C is designed to increase innovation in surface transportation project delivery and efficiency of project planning, design, construction, and financing. MAP-21 requires our office to assess the Department’s steps taken to administer Subtitle C and report periodically to Congress. We conducted an initial review to assess the Department’s plan and progress as of March 27, 2013. The Department developed a plan with 42 actions to meet Subtitle C requirements, involving mostly environmental issues that occur during the planning and design phase of highway and transit projects. The Department completed five of these actions, and most of the remaining actions are in progress. For example, in the first month that the law went into effect, the Department issued question and answer guidance on a wide range of topics, including innovative project delivery, and a proposed rulemaking on using categorical exclusions to expedite projects after disasters or emergencies (the rule was finalized in February 2013). However, its plan does not assign estimated completion dates for all the planned actions without milestones specified by statute. Finally, while the Department met certain MAP-21 rulemaking milestones, it faces challenges to complete all required rulemakings within the statutorily set dates. We are planning additional audits on the Department’s Subtitle C implementation, consistent with the requirements defined in the statute.