BRIDGE RESCUE: FHWA slow to respond to Inspector General’s bridge concerns

Only half of actions identified to implement MAP-21 bridge safety and funding provisions have been completed

News August 27, 2014
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According to the U.S. DOT’s Inspector General, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has not fully implemented all MAP-21 bridge provisions and prior recommendations by the Inspector General.
 
Since 2006, the Inspector General has issued three reports with 16 recommendations for FHWA to improve oversight of state bridge programs. MAP-21 changed bridge-safety requirements and funding uses and instituted new performance and accountability requirements for bridges on the National Highway System. The Inspector General conducted an audit at the request of the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who asked that the Inspector General assess FHWA’s efforts to improve bridge safety, including addressing the recommendations and MAP-21 bridge safety provisions.
 
The Inspector General found that FHWA completed 12 of 24 actions identified to implement MAP-21 bridge safety and funding provisions. Of the actions in progress, two MAP-21 rulemakings regarding asset management and performance management are behind schedule and may delay state implementation of key performance and accountability requirements by at least a year later than specified by MAP-21. Four of the Inspector General’s 16 prior bridge-related recommendations remain open. They focus on collecting bridge expenditure data, reporting on state action to improve the condition of deficient bridges and collecting more detailed condition data for all bridges on public roads so FHWA can better monitor nationwide bridge conditions and identify safety risks.
 
The Inspector General is making five new recommendations to update or clarify guidance, establish target action dates and include information in a required report to Congress. FHWA concurred with two recommendations, partially concurred with one and agreed to implement two.

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