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Memorandum to the Secretary: Challenges Facing DOT in Implementing the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) authorized about $660 billion in funding for new and existing U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) programs. To support the Department in meeting its mission while promoting effective stewardship of significant taxpayer dollars, we identified key challenges and potential risks for DOT’s consideration in bolstering its implementation and oversight of IIJA. Drawing on our office’s and GAO’s prior work, as well as discussions with senior DOT officials, we found DOT faces a number of significant challenges to successfully implement IIJA programs and use the appropriated funding to enhance the Nation’s infrastructure. First, the Department must effectively identify, assess, and develop plans to mitigate risks to achieving its goals. Second, DOT will need to recruit, develop, and retain the necessary workforce to implement and oversee IIJA programs, while also effectively coordinating with key stakeholders to overcome their immediate administrative challenges and mitigate risks they face amid broader economic challenges. Finally, DOT will need to enhance and, in some cases, establish effective and efficient processes for awarding and administering IIJA grants and overseeing grantees’ compliance with Federal requirements. DOT officials also highlighted steps they are taking toward addressing these challenges and risks, including accelerating hiring efforts, assessing fraud risks for programs receiving IIJA funding, and enhancing stakeholder outreach. We are committed to supporting the Department’s efforts to maximize IIJA’s investments.