GAO Recommends FTA Improve Communication Processes for Rural Transit Services

A new 36-page report from the Government Accountability Office recommends that the Federal Transit Administration develop a communication plan that will “effectively share information with state and local stakeholders” on coordination opportunities in an “accessible and informative” way – particularly where rural transit services are concerned.

[Above photo by the FTA.]

The GAO noted that public transportation in rural areas is “critical to connecting people to medical services, jobs, education, and shopping” and that FTA allocated about $2.1 billion in formula grants over the last three years to support rural and tribal transit.

Yet the agency’s report indicated that providing transit services in rural areas can be challenging and that coordination of transportation services among federal programs is limited.

“The FTA has several efforts under way to facilitate coordination, but results are mixed,” GAO said.

While the FTA and the federal interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility issued a strategic plan in October 2019, it noted that FTA does not expect to issue a final report to Congress containing recommendations for enhancing interagency coordination until September of this year.

GAO added that it has found “limitations” with FTA’s current information-sharing approach, which makes information on coordination-related issues difficult to identify and access.

“Stakeholders want additional information from FTA on leading coordination practices, such as ways to coordinate with other providers,” the agency noted. “Improving communication and sharing additional coordination-related information could help rural and tribal transit providers identify additional coordination practices they could pursue to improve rural transportation services.”

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