Performance accountability in the federal-state transportation program: Factors affecting successful implementation

Mary Anne Field, Florida International University


Governmental accountability is the requirement of government entities to be accountable to the citizenry in order to justify the raising and expenditure of public resources. The concept of service efforts and accomplishments measurement for government programs was introduced by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) in Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting: Its Time Has Come (1990). This research tested the feasibility of implementing the concept for the Federal-aid highway construction program and identified factors affecting implementation with a case study of the District of Columbia. Changes in condition and performance ratings for specific highway segments in 15 projects, before and after construction expenditures, were evaluated using data provided by the Federal Highway Administration. The results of the evaluation indicated difficulty in drawing conclusions on the state program performance, as a whole. The state program reflects problems within the Federally administered program that severely limit implementation of outcome-oriented performance measurement. Major problems identified with data acquisition are: data reliability, availability, compatibility and consistency among states. Other significant factors affecting implementation are institutional barriers and political barriers. Institutional issues in the Federal Highway Administration include the lack of integration of the fiscal project specific database with the Highway Performance Monitoring System database. The Federal Highway Administration has the ability to resolve both of the data problems, however interviews with key Federal informants indicate this will not occur without external directives and changes to the Federal “stewardship” approach to program administration. The findings indicate many issues must be resolved for successful implementation of outcome-oriented performance measures in the Federal-aid construction program. The issues are organizational and political in nature, however in the current environment resolution is possible. Additional research is desirable and would be useful in overcoming the obstacles to successful implementation.

Subject Area

Public administration|Transportation|Urban planning|Area planning & development

Recommended Citation

Field, Mary Anne, "Performance accountability in the federal-state transportation program: Factors affecting successful implementation" (1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9949327.