Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Audit Reports


FAA Needs Additional Accountability and Transparency in Reporting Performance Measures and Targets for Major System Investments and Environmental Reviews

Requested By
Mandated by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018
Project ID
File Attachment
What We Looked At
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for managing and operating the busiest and most complex airspace system in the world. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Act) required the Secretary of Transportation to establish metrics for evaluating FAA’s management and performance related to (1) the timely and cost-effective completion of projects and (2) the effectiveness in achieving the goals for an expedited, coordinated environmental review process for major safety, security, and capacity projects. Also, the Act required our office to report on FAA’s progress. Our objectives were to determine FAA’s progress in meeting the performance targets for (1) the timely and cost-effective completion of projects and (2) the achievement of an expedited, coordinated environmental review process.
What We Found
FAA did not meet its major system targets in fiscal years 2019 and 2020, and full accountability and transparency in reporting is limited. Specifically, FAA did not meet its performance measure for 90 percent of major baselined acquisition programs to be within 10 percent of the current cost, schedule, and performance baselines. Also, we found weaknesses in FAA’s reporting that limited transparency and accountability. For example, FAA does not disclose when it removes programs from the measure that exceed baselines by over 10 percent and no longer reports them. In contrast, FAA reported meeting the environmental performance target to achieve on-schedule performance for 90 percent of FAA-led major transportation projects and to reduce the average time to complete environmental reviews. However, FAA’s actual results are unclear because the Agency may not have included all major projects or captured when project milestones were late in the measure. As a result, FAA’s reporting may not provide an accurate picture on how major system investments are performing or the extent to which the Agency meets its goals in the environmental measure.
Our Recommendations
We made three recommendations to improve FAA’s reporting on performance measures for major system investments and environmental review processes. FAA concurred with one recommendation and partially concurred with two. FAA proposed appropriate planned actions.


Closed on
No. 1 to FAA
Develop and implement a written policy to document the process for adding and removing programs and reporting the names of all the programs tracked in the major system investments performance measure.
Closed on
No. 2 to FAA
Develop and implement a written policy or procedure to establish an internal control mechanism to identify all major transportation projects on the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard that should be tracked in the environmental performance measure and document reasons why projects are or are not determined to be major transportation projects.
Closed on
No. 3 to FAA
Review and update the definition of the types of projects included in major transportation projects, to ensure all major transportation projects are being tracked under the measure.