oversight

Maritime Infrastructure: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Effectiveness of Federal Efforts to Support the Marine Transportation System

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-11-13.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Addressees




                MARITIME
November 2012



                INFRASTRUCTURE

                Opportunities Exist to
                Improve the
                Effectiveness of
                Federal Efforts to
                Support the Marine
                Transportation System




GAO-13-80
                                                November 2012


                                                MARITIME INFRASTRUCTURE
                                                Opportunities Exist to Improve the Effectiveness of
                                                Federal Efforts to Support the Marine
Highlights of GAO-13-80, a report to
                                                Transportation System
congressional addressees




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
The MTS is integral to the efficient            The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Department of Transportation
movement of the nation’s freight. The           (DOT) use a variety of programs to maintain and improve Marine Transportation
MTS includes navigable waterways,               System (MTS) infrastructure. The Corps is the lead federal agency responsible
ports, and port connectors, such as             for maintaining and improving navigable waterways. Corps data show that
roads and railways that provide access          obligations for navigable waterways have decreased from over $3 billion in fiscal
to the Interstate highway system and            year 2009 to about $1.8 billion in fiscal year 2011. Most annual DOT funding is
the national rail network. According to         provided to states through formulas, and states determine which projects to fund.
DOT, approximately 90 percent of                For example, in fiscal year 2011, the Surface Transportation Program provided
America’s overseas imports and
                                                $9.5 billion to states for a variety of transportation projects, which may have
exports by tonnage move by ship.
                                                included port improvements. However, because DOT does not specifically track
Consequently, the continued
maintenance and improvement of the
                                                formula funding used to maintain or improve ports or port connectors, officials
MTS is essential to sustaining the              were unable to provide GAO the extent to which these funds were used for port
nation’s competitive position in the            improvements, although the officials stated that the number of port-specific
global economy. This report examines            projects was likely small. Several DOT grant and credit programs can also
(1) Corps and DOT programs that can             provide specific funding to ports, though ports are primarily responsible for
be used to maintain or improve the              maintaining and improving infrastructure on port property.
MTS, (2) key challenges to maintaining
and improving the MTS, and (3)                  Aging MTS infrastructure, a growing backlog of projects, and the lack of an MTS
opportunities to improve the                    system-wide prioritization strategy represent key challenges for the Corps and
effectiveness of the federal role in the        DOT to maintain and improve MTS infrastructure. For example, some structures
MTS. GAO analyzed information from              that support navigation, such as locks, are over 100 years old, and their condition
the Corps and DOT, interviewed                  has resulted in deteriorating performance and costly delays to shippers. The
relevant agency officials and industry          Corps and DOT have taken some steps to prioritize their individual funding
associations, and conducted site visits         decisions, but none of these efforts consider MTS infrastructure system-wide.
to six ports—selected based on                  While the Corps is prioritizing projects within its navigation program, DOT has a
tonnage, geographic representation,             more limited ability to prioritize funding for port infrastructure projects because
and other factors—to discuss federal,           the majority of DOT’s funding goes to the states where decisions about
state, and local investment in MTS
                                                transportation priorities are made at the state and local level.
infrastructure.

What GAO Recommends                             Two efforts in particular provide opportunities to improve the effectiveness of
                                                federal support to MTS infrastructure. First, the recently enacted Moving Ahead
DOT should (1) inform the                                              st
                                                for Progress in the 21 Century Act requires DOT to develop a National Freight
development of the National Freight             Strategic Plan and to consult with appropriate transportation stakeholders.
Strategic Plan with the Corps’ planned          However, DOT and the Corps have historically had limited coordination involving
investments in the nation’s navigable
                                                system-wide MTS investments. Involving the Corps in the development of the
waterways and (2) ensure the review
                                                National Freight Strategic Plan is particularly important given the critical role
and update of the National Strategy for
the MTS to include accountability
                                                navigable waterways play in freight movement. Second, the Committee on the
mechanisms for the Strategy’s                   Marine Transportation System (CMTS), a partnership of federal agencies chaired
recommended actions. DOT agreed to              by DOT, has the opportunity to take further actions to help ensure that its 2008
consider the report’s                           National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System is reviewed and updated
recommendations.                                to reflect new and emerging challenges, and that its 34 recommendations to
                                                improve the MTS are implemented. One recommendation included studying
                                                approaches to allocate federal dollars among competing transportation priorities.
                                                However, the Strategy has not been reviewed and updated since the CMTS
                                                published it in 2008 and it does not incorporate accountability mechanisms, such
View GAO-13-80. For more information,
contact Lorelei St.James at (202) 512-2834 or
                                                as identifying desired results or performance measures, for the recommended
stjamesl@gao.gov.                               actions. Such mechanisms would help ensure that the actions CMTS
                                                recommended to improve the MTS are indeed implemented.
                                                                                        United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Background                                                                  3
               A Variety of Corps and DOT Programs Can Be Used to Maintain or
                 Improve Some Segments of the MTS                                        13
               Several Challenges Exist to Maintaining and Improving the MTS             21
               Federal Government Has Taken Steps to Address MTS Challenges;
                 However, Opportunities Exist to Improve the Effectiveness of
                 Its Role in the MTS                                                     33
               Conclusions                                                               41
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                      42
               Agency Comments                                                           43

Appendix I     Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                        45



Appendix II    DOT Programs We Reviewed That May Fund MTS
               Infrastructure                                                            49



Appendix III   DOT Programs We Reviewed That May Finance MTS
               Infrastructure                                                            50



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                     51



Tables
               Table 1: Corps Navigation Program Obligations by Appropriations
                        Account, Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011                               14
               Table 2: Selected Corps Navigation Operation and Maintenance
                        Activities Performance Indicators                                26
               Table 3: MTS Stakeholders with Whom GAO Met during Site Visits            47
               Table 4: DOT Obligations for Programs We Reviewed That May
                        Fund MTS Infrastructure                                          49
               Table 5: DOT Obligations, Principal Amount and Net Lifetime
                        Subsidy Reestimate for Programs We Reviewed That May
                        Finance MTS Infrastructure                                       50




               Page i                                       GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Figures
          Figure 1: Three MTS Segments: Navigable Waterways, Port, and
                   Port Connector Infrastructure                                                     6
          Figure 2: Mississippi River at the Port of South Louisiana                                22
          Figure 3: Corps Navigation Lock Inventory, 2012                                           23
          Figure 4: Construction at the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock,
                   New Orleans, Louisiana                                                           25




          Abbreviations

          CMTS                       Committee on the Marine Transportation System
          Corps                      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
          DOT                        Department of Transportation
          FHWA                       Federal Highway Administration
          FRA                        Federal Railroad Administration
          GDP                        gross domestic product
          MAP-21                     Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act
          MARAD                      Maritime Administration
          MOU                        memorandum of understanding
          MPO                        Metropolitan Planning Organization
          MTS                        Marine Transportation System
          MTSNAC                     Marine Transportation System National Advisory
                                      Council
          RRIF                       Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing
          SAFETEA-LU                 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient
                                      Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
          TEU                        twenty-foot equivalent unit
          TIFIA                      Transportation Infrastructure Finance and
                                      Innovation Act
          TIGER                      Transportation Investment Generating Economic
                                      Recovery


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          United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety
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          Page ii                                                  GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   November 13, 2012

                                   Congressional Addressees

                                   The United States is one of the largest trading nations in the world, and
                                   approximately 90 percent of America’s overseas imports and exports by
                                   tonnage move by ship. 1 Consequently, the continued maintenance and
                                   improvement of the nation’s Marine Transportation System (MTS) is
                                   essential to sustaining the nation’s competitive position in the global
                                   economy and the efficient movement of freight within the United States.
                                   The MTS includes navigable waterways, ports, and port connectors such
                                   as the roads and railways that provide access to and from ports. 2 While a
                                   worldwide slowdown in economic activity has recently resulted in less
                                   freight moving through the MTS, forecasts estimate that U.S. freight
                                   tonnage will steadily increase through 2040. 3

                                   The MTS operates in a complex funding environment, with the federal
                                   government, state, local, and private entities all playing a role in helping
                                   maintain and develop MTS infrastructure. The U.S. Army Corps of
                                   Engineers (Corps) is the lead federal agency for maintaining and
                                   improving navigable waterways, and the Department of Transportation
                                   (DOT) is the primary federal agency supporting landside infrastructure
                                   projects that facilitate the movement of freight to, from, or within ports. In
                                   addition, port authorities, some of which are quasi state or local public
                                   entities, are primarily responsible for managing infrastructure such as
                                   terminals, wharfs, berths, and piers “inside the gate” of a port where
                                   cargo is loaded onto and unloaded off of ships.

                                   Given the variety of stakeholders responsible for specific segments of the
                                   MTS, nationwide efforts such as adapting to a potential shift in U.S. trade


                                   1
                                    U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, America’s Ports and
                                   Intermodal Transportation System, (Washington, D.C.: January 2009).
                                   2
                                    According to DOT, the MTS also includes pipelines, vessels, and users. See U.S.
                                   Department of Transportation, An Assessment of the U.S. Marine Transportation System:
                                   A Report to Congress (Washington, D.C.: September 1999). We did not include pipelines,
                                   vessels, or users (i.e., people who depend on the system for their livelihood and
                                   recreational access) in the scope of our review.
                                   3
                                   U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Freight
                                   Management and Operations, Freight Analysis Framework, version 3.2, 2011.




                                   Page 1                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
routes because of the expansion of the Panama Canal or developing
infrastructure to support an increase in the nation’s exports can be
challenging. This is particularly true in the current fiscally constrained
environment where many MTS infrastructure needs outweigh the
resources available. In light of these issues, we prepared this report
under the authority of the Comptroller General to conduct evaluations at
GAO’s initiative to assist Congress with its oversight responsibilities. This
report examines:

1. Corps and DOT programs that can be used to maintain or improve the
   MTS.
2. Key challenges to maintaining and improving the MTS.
3. Opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the federal government’s
   role in the MTS.

To address these objectives, we reviewed program documentation and
related reports from the Corps, DOT, the Committee on the Marine
Transportation System (CMTS), and the American Association of Port
Authorities. We also reviewed prior GAO reports on several topics,
including surface transportation programs, freight mobility issues, Corps
budget formulation and project delivery processes, marine transportation
financing, strategic planning, and interagency collaboration and
coordination practices. We reviewed budget documentation and collected
and analyzed funding and financing information for federal programs
within the Corps and DOT. We reviewed relevant documentation and
interviewed knowledgeable officials about these data and determined that
they were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this report. We reviewed
legislation related to surface and MTS infrastructure programs and
funding, including the new surface transportation reauthorization—the
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). 4 We
interviewed officials from a variety of federal transportation programs and
representatives from industry associations representing various
stakeholders in the MTS. We conducted site visits to the Port of New York
and New Jersey, Port of New Orleans, Port of Portland, Port of
Savannah, Port of South Louisiana, and the Port of Vancouver (USA). We
chose these site visits based on a variety of criteria, including freight
tonnage, ongoing and completed port-related infrastructure development



4
Pub. L. No. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405 (2012).




Page 2                                           GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
             projects, a mix of coastal and river ports, and geographic representation.
             During these site visits, we collected relevant documentation and
             interviewed a range of port stakeholders, including officials from local port
             authorities, Corps division and district offices, state DOTs, and
             Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). 5 The results of these site
             visits are not generalizable, but do provide insights regarding state, local,
             and private-sector experiences maintaining and improving MTS
             infrastructure. For additional information on our scope and methodology,
             see appendix I.

             We conducted this performance audit from November 2011 to November
             2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
             standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
             obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
             our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
             that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
             and conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             As economic activities become more integrated and globalized, foreign
Background   trade has become increasingly important to the U.S. economy. 6
             According to DOT, recent projections indicate foreign trade may reach 35
             percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 and potentially
             grow to 60 percent of GDP by 2030. As the types of goods exported from
             and imported to the United States vary greatly, the specific type of cargo
             can determine the mode of shipment. For example, cargo such as grains,
             coal, ore, and cement typically ship by dry bulk carrier, oil and gas by
             tanker, while other commodities such as apparel and appliances ship via




             5
              MPOs, representing local governments, are responsible for carrying out the requirements
             of the transportation planning process in urbanized areas, in cooperation with state
             departments of transportation and other providers of transportation services. This may
             include coordination with ports, shippers, and terminal operators to plan needed system
             improvements to port infrastructure. An MPO must be designated for each urbanized area
             with a population of more than 50,000 individuals. 23 U.S.C. § 134(d); 49 U.S.C. §
             5303(d).
             6
              The importance of U.S. exports to the economy was underscored by the President’s
             National Export Initiative with a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 (from $1.57 trillion
             to $3.14 trillion). This initiative is focused on increasing exports to create jobs.




             Page 3                                                     GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
containership. 7 According to Corps data, U.S. ports handled a total of 2.3
billion tons of commodities in 2010.

Most types of cargo (including agricultural goods such as grains) are
increasingly being moved by containership—ships that carry cargo in
containers measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). 8 In 2009, U.S.
ports handled $474 billion in containerized imports and $177 billion in
containerized exports. In addition, shippers are increasingly using larger
ships to gain transportation efficiencies and cost savings in a competitive
market. For example, in 2000, the average containership carried 2,900
TEUs; in 2012, the average containership carried 6,100 TEUs. According
to DOT, the number of port calls to the United States by very large post-
Panamax containerships 9 carrying 5,200 TEUs or greater increased 156
percent (from 1,700 to 4,400 port calls) from 2004 to 2009. These vessels
are expected to represent 62 percent of total containership capacity in the
world by 2030. Consequently, continued trade growth in coming years, as
well as the increasing size of containerships calling on U.S. ports, will
place even greater demands on the nation’s MTS and necessitate some
changes to MTS infrastructure, such as deepening channels to
accommodate these larger vessels.




7
 Bulk means cargo that is transported on a ship or barge, but is not unitized and has to be
weighed to be measured. Breakbulk cargo is unitized in packages, bundles, or pallets, but
is not shipped within a container. Containers are large steel boxes that contain freight that
can be transferred from the ship to various transportation modes such as railcar or truck.
8
 TEU or twenty-foot equivalent unit can be used to measure a ship’s cargo carrying
capacity. The dimensions of one TEU are equal to that of a standard 20 foot shipping
container (20 feet long, 8 feet tall).
9
    These are ships that are currently too large to transit the Panama Canal.




Page 4                                                      GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
MTS: Navigable               The MTS is integral to the efficient movement of the nation’s freight. It
Waterways, Ports, and Port   provides a cost effective means of moving bulk, breakbulk, and
Connectors                   containerized cargo to U.S. consumers and to foreign markets through a
                             variety of transportation modes. The MTS includes three primary
                             segments: navigable waterways, ports, and port connectors. There are
                             25,000 miles of commercially navigable harbors, channels and
                             waterways, 4 million miles of public highways and roads, and over
                             140,000 miles of national, regional, and local railroad networks in the
                             United States over which trillions of dollars worth of freight move annually.
                             Figure 1 below illustrates these three MTS segments.




                             Page 5                                          GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Figure 1: Three MTS Segments: Navigable Waterways, Port, and Port Connector Infrastructure




                                        Page 6                                               GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Navigable Waterways: Navigable waterways include harbors, shipping
channels (including both deep and shallow draft), rivers, lakes, and inland
waterways, as well as locks, dams, and other navigation structures such
as jetties. 10 They provide safe passage for a wide range of shipping
vessels including containerships, tankers, bulk carriers, and other vessel
types such as inland and oceangoing barges. Inland waterways carry
approximately one-sixth of the national volume of intercity cargo on
12,000 miles of commercially active inland and intra-coastal waterways.
There are also 13,000 miles of coastal deep and shallow draft harbors
and channels that are operated and maintained for commerce. These
deep draft harbors and channels provide access to 70 ports, including
about 40 ports that have channel depths of 40 feet or more and handle 10
million or more tons of cargo per year.

The federal government pays for all operation and maintenance activities
for inland waterways and one-half of the inland waterways construction
costs for rehabilitating, modernizing, or replacing locks and dams. The
other half comes from commercial waterway users that pay fuel taxes that
flow into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. 11 In contrast, for coastal
harbors and channels, the federal government pays from 40 to 90
percent, and the non-federal sponsors pay from 10 to 60 percent of new
construction costs depending on the channel depth and sponsor’s
contribution for land, easement, and rights-of-way. 12 The federal
government pays for most operation and maintenance costs for coastal


10
  Inland and intra-coastal waterways have a depth of between 9 and 14 feet and are
considered shallow draft waterways. Channels and harbors with a depth of greater than
14 feet are considered deep draft waterways. Today’s super-post-Panamax container
ships (with at least 8,000 TEU capacity) generally require berth and channel drafts of at
least 50 feet deep when fully loaded, but many partially loaded post-Panamax vessels can
call at ports with 40 to 45-foot drafts or less.
11
  The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Pub. L. No. 99-662, § 102, 100 Stat.
4082, 4084 (1986) codified at 33 U.S.C. § 2212) established the cost-sharing ratios. Fifty
percent of the cost of construction is to be paid from amounts appropriated from the
General Fund of the Treasury, and the other fifty percent is from a fuel tax paid by
commercial inland waterway users that is made available through appropriations from the
Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Some waterborne vessels are exempt from the fuel tax,
including certain oceangoing ships, passenger boats, recreational craft, or government
vessels.
12
  Costs of water resource studies and projects are shared between the federal
government and the non-federal sponsor, which can be, for example, a port authority or a
state. Cost sharing is a requirement for federal budgetary participation in harbor and
inland waterway improvements.




Page 7                                                   GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
harbors and channels, which are then reimbursed from revenues from the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which comes largely from an excise tax
on imports imposed on commercial users at certain ports. 13 The tax
applies a second time to cargo that has already arrived at a U.S. port, but
is transferred by barge to another U.S. port. Importers or shippers pay an
amount equal to 0.125 percent of the value of the commercial cargo
involved at the time of unloading. The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
balance totaled $6.42 billion at the end of fiscal year 2011. Non-federal
sponsors are responsible for a small percentage of operation and
maintenance costs for harbors and channels that are deeper than 45 feet.

Ports: All ports serve as gateways for the movement of goods between
navigable waterways and landside transportation systems, such as the
Interstate highway system or the national rail network. For the purposes
of this report, we refer to ports as the area “inside the gate” and under the
control of the local port authority or private terminal operator, where cargo
is loaded and unloaded to and from ships. Ports may be publicly or
privately owned and operated, and consist of thousands of large,
medium, and small terminals and intermodal facilities in approximately
360 commercial sea and river ports. However, most of the United States’
containerized cargo is handled by a few major ports. For example, in
2009 U.S. ports handled over 206 billion tons of containerized imports
and exports, and the top 10 U.S. container ports accounted for 85 percent
of the total trade, according to DOT. 14

Port Connectors: Efficient freight movement depends upon the condition
of intermodal connections. Port connectors include transportation
infrastructure such as roads, railways, and marine highways that connect
the port to major trade corridors and allow freight to transfer from one




13
  The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 created the Harbor Maintenance Trust
Fund. Pub. L. No. 99-662, § 1403, 100 Stat. 4082, 4269 (1986) (codified at 26 U.S.C. §
9505).
14
  Top 10 container ports include: Los Angeles, CA; New York/New Jersey, NY/NJ; Long
Beach, CA; Savannah, GA; Houston, TX; Oakland, CA; Norfolk, VA; Seattle, WA;
Charleston, SC; and Tacoma, WA. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of
Transportation Statistics, America’s Container Ports: Linking Markets at Home and Abroad
(Washington, D.C.: January 2011).




Page 8                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
transportation mode to another (e.g., from a ship to a truck). 15 The
Alameda Corridor, a 20-mile, $2.4 billion railroad express line linking the
ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the transcontinental rail network
east of downtown Los Angeles, provides one example of a major port
connector that facilitates the movement of containerized freight to the
East Coast as well as the Midwest.

The federal government’s expenditures for surface transportation
infrastructure, including port connectors, are based, in part, on the user
pay principle. The government collects taxes and fees, which flow into the
Highway Trust Fund—historically the principle mechanism for funding
federal highway programs. The Highway Trust Fund generally provides
for the construction, reconstruction, restoration, and rehabilitation of roads
that serve both freight and non-freight users. State and local governments
also invest in public highways and roads. Within the federal-aid highway
program, the federal government generally is responsible for funding 80
to 100 percent of highway project costs, while state and local
governments are responsible for the remainder. 16 Typically, state and
local governments collect revenue from a combination of fuel taxes,
vehicle taxes and fees, and tolls. State and local governments
supplement user fees with general revenues to support highway and road
activities.




15
  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, requires the Secretary of
Transportation to establish a short sea transportation (Marine Highway) program and
designate short sea transportation projects to mitigate landside congestion. Pub. L. No.
110-140, §§ 1121-1123, 121 Stat. 1492 (2007). America’s Marine Highway system
accommodates the waterborne movement of passengers and containerized freight
between origins and destinations otherwise served solely by roads and railways.
16
  Federal funding for highways is provided to the states primarily through a series of
formula grants collectively known as the federal-aid highway program.




Page 9                                                    GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
GAO’s Prior Work on       Freight mobility is dependent on MTS infrastructure, and we have
Freight Mobility and a    published a number of reports addressing surface transportation issues
National Freight Policy   identifying a variety of challenges to freight mobility in the United
                          States. 17 We have highlighted challenges such as:

                          •   facilitating the efficient movement of freight and the growing demand
                              for freight transportation;
                          •   adding capacity to accommodate that increased demand;
                          •   limited investment from federal, state, and local government in freight
                              projects; and
                          •   including freight projects in the state and local transportation planning
                              process.

                          We have also reported on the numerous federal goals for surface
                          transportation and the lack of clarity in federal stakeholder roles. For
                          example, DOT operating administrations with roles in freight
                          transportation include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),
                          Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety
                          Administration, and Maritime Administration (MARAD). An office of freight
                          management and operations within FHWA administers programs,
                          develops policies, and undertakes research that promotes freight
                          movement across the nation and its borders, but the office does not
                          coordinate federal actions such as federal funding related to freight
                          mobility.

                          We have previously reported that although there is a clear federal interest
                          in freight transportation, there has not been a strategy that clearly defines
                          the federal role or a mechanism to implement a national freight strategy.
                          In the past, we have recommended or proposed for congressional
                          consideration a number of actions to address this issue. 18 On July 6,



                          17
                             GAO, Intermodal Transportation: DOT Could Take Further Actions to Address
                          Intermodal Barriers, GAO-07-718 (Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2007); Freight
                          Transportation: National Policy and Strategies Can Help Improve Freight Mobility,
                          GAO-08-287 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 7, 2008); Statewide Transportation Planning:
                          Opportunities Exist to Transition to Performance-Based Planning and Federal Oversight,
                          GAO-11-77 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 15, 2010); and Surface Freight Transportation: A
                          Comparison of the Costs of Road, Rail, and Waterways Freight Shipments That Are Not
                          Passed on to Consumers, GAO-11-134 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 26, 2011).
                          18
                             GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and
                          Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-342SP (Washington,
                          D.C.: Feb. 28, 2012).




                          Page 10                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                            2012, MAP-21 was enacted into law and authorized funding for 2 years to
                            core federal-aid highway and transit programs. 19 This legislation
                            establishes a framework for a national freight policy and directs DOT to
                            develop a national freight network and a National Freight Strategic Plan. It
                            encourages states to develop freight plans with a description of
                            procedures states will use to make investment decisions involving freight
                            transportation. It also authorized the increase of the federal cost share of
                            freight-related projects on Interstate highways to 95 percent and to 90
                            percent on other roads if the Secretary of Transportation certifies that the
                            projects meet specified requirements. On July 19, 2012, the President
                            announced the establishment of a White House-led task force to develop
                            a federal strategy to inform future investment decisions and identify
                            opportunities for improved coordination and streamlined review of
                            investments in coastal port infrastructure. The task force is comprised of
                            senior officials from five departments and five White House offices and
                            plans to build on steps already taken to coordinate across agencies with
                            port-related responsibilities. 20


Committee on the Marine     A Presidential Directive in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, issued in 2004,
Transportation System and   elevated the existing Interagency Committee on the Marine
the MTS National Strategy   Transportation to a Cabinet-level body, and created the Committee on the
                            Marine Transportation (CMTS). 21 The CMTS adopted a charter in 2005
                            creating a partnership of federal agencies with responsibility for the MTS


                            19
                              Pub. L. No. 112-141, §§ 115-118, 126 Stat. 405 (2012). The law also expresses the
                            sense of Congress that the administration should request, and the Congress should fully
                            expend each year, all of the revenues collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for
                            the operation and maintenance of the nation’s federally maintained harbors and channels.
                            Id. at § 1536. It also directs the administration to provide an annual estimate of national
                            harbor maintenance needs, including an estimate of the percentage of waterways that
                            would be available for use based on the annual budget request, as well as how much
                            funding would be needed to achieve 95 percent availability of the nation’s ports and
                            waterways within 3 years. Id. at § 1537.
                            20
                              The White House Task Force on Ports is comprised of senior officials from the National
                            Economic Council, Office of Management and Budget, Department of the Army,
                            Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of
                            Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Council of Economic Advisors, Council on
                            Environmental Quality, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
                            21
                              In the Oceans Act of 2000, Congress established the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
                            (Commission). Pub. L. No. 106-256, 114. Stat. 644 (2000). The Commission issued a
                            report, “An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century,” in 2004. The U.S. Ocean Action Plan
                            was the Administration’s response to the Commission’s report.




                            Page 11                                                  GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
to ensure the development and implementation of national MTS policies
consistent with national needs and report to the President its views and
recommendations for improving the MTS. 22 The CMTS is a federal
cabinet-level, interagency organization chaired by DOT and supported by
a sub-cabinet policy advisory body, the Coordinating Board, a dedicated
staff body, the Executive Secretariat, and Integrated Action Teams.
According to the committee’s charter, the CMTS is responsible for:

•    improving federal MTS coordination and policies;
•    promoting the environmentally sound integration of marine
     transportation with other modes of transportation and with other
     ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes uses;
•    developing outcome-based goals and strategic objectives for the
     safety, security, efficiency, economic vitality, environmental health,
     and reliability of the MTS for commercial and national defense
     requirements as well as a method for monitoring progress towards
     those goals;
•    coordinating budget and regulatory activities that impact the MTS; and
•    recommending strategies and implementing plans to maintain and
     improve the MTS.

In July 2008, the CMTS published a National Strategy for the Marine
Transportation System (Strategy) to address challenges to improving the
MTS and ensuring that policies and actions of CMTS agencies are
synchronized and coordinated. 23 The Strategy provided a policy
framework for the MTS for 2008 through 2013 and recommended 34
actions in 5 priority areas including capacity, safety and security,
environmental stewardship, resilience and reliability, and finance.




22
 Members of the CMTS include the Secretary of Transportation; Secretary of Commerce;
Secretary of Defense; Secretary of Homeland Security; Secretary of the Treasury;
Secretary of State; Secretary of the Interior; Secretary of Agriculture; Secretary of Justice;
Secretary of Labor; Secretary of Energy; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Chairman of the Federal Maritime
Commission. In addition, there are five Ex-Officio members of the Committee: Director,
Office of Management and Budget; Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality;
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; Assistant to the President for Domestic
Policy; and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.
23
  Committee on the Marine Transportation System, National Strategy for the Marine
Transportation System: A Framework for Action (Washington, D.C.: July 2008).




Page 12                                                    GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                       The Corps and DOT have programs that can be used to address three
A Variety of Corps     key infrastructure segments of the MTS. Specifically, the Corps is
and DOT Programs       responsible for navigable waterways’ infrastructure and provides funding
                       through its navigation program. Projects that improve or maintain ports
Can Be Used to         and port connectors can receive federal funding or financing through a
Maintain or Improve    variety of programs administered by the DOT.
Some Segments of the
MTS
Navigable Waterways    The Corps’ navigation program is responsible for maintaining navigable
Segment                harbors, channels, and waterways and supporting structures—such as
                       locks, dams, and jetties—for the MTS. 24 Primary responsibilities of the
                       navigation program include dredging to maintain channel depths at U.S.
                       harbors and on inland waterways as well as planning, constructing,
                       rehabilitating, operating, and maintaining navigation channels, locks,
                       dams, and other structures. The Corps maintains only the federally
                       designated channels in inland and coastal harbors, the depth and width of
                       which are authorized by Congress. 25 Increases in a navigation channel’s
                       authorized depth or width—referred to as construction or “new work”—are
                       also congressionally authorized.

                       The Corps’ navigation program activities are generally funded from the
                       Energy and Water Development Appropriations Acts. Funding requests in
                       the President’s Budget for the navigation program that primarily supports
                       Corps activities to maintain and improve navigable waterways have
                       decreased from $2 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $1.58 billion in fiscal year
                       2012. More specifically, the navigation program has decreased as a
                       percentage of the President’s budget for the civil works program from 41




                       24
                         Jetties are shore-connected structures generally built on either one or both sides of a
                       navigation channel perpendicular to the shore and extending into the ocean. They are
                       used to stabilize navigation channels and decrease dredging requirements.
                       25
                         See, for example, Section 3028 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (Pub.
                       L. No. 110-114,110 Stat. 1041, 1141 (2007)) providing that the Secretary may dredge the
                       Redwood City Navigation Channel, California, on an annual basis, to maintain the
                       authorized depth of -30 feet below mean low water. Ports are responsible for dredging
                       non-federal channels and berths, which is the area next to the pier where a ship docks.




                       Page 13                                                   GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                                        percent in fiscal year 2008 to 34 percent in fiscal year 2012. 26 Similar
                                        decreases occurred in obligations from three of the four separate
                                        appropriations accounts that support the Corps’ maintenance and
                                        improvement activities for navigable waterways: the (1) Investigations, (2)
                                        Construction, and (3) Operation and Maintenance accounts. According to
                                        a senior Corps official, a separate Mississippi River and Tributaries
                                        appropriations account—which is used primarily for flood control—can
                                        provide additional funds for investigations, construction, and operation
                                        and maintenance. As shown in Table 1 below, our analysis of Corps data
                                        found that the Corps’ total obligations for these accounts have decreased
                                        from over $3 billion in fiscal year 2009 to about $1.8 billion in fiscal year
                                        2011, a reduction of approximately 41 percent. 27 The vast majority of the
                                        funds in each fiscal year are obligated for operation and maintenance
                                        activities.

Table 1: Corps Navigation Program Obligations by Appropriations Account, Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011

Appropriations Account                                                        FY2009              FY2010                         FY2011
Investigations                                                       $15,503,342             $11,528,453                     $7,785,470
Construction                                                         473,193,927             334,385,585                    233,420,154
Operation and Maintenance                                          2,478,036,016           1,866,911,203                  1,526,723,174
Mississippi River and Tributaries
    Construction                                                         9,328,116             11,888,462                        837,855
    Operation and Maintenance                                          37,240,186              54,176,060                    20,145,861
Total                                                            $3,013,301,587           $2,278,889,764                 $1,788,912,515
                                        Source: GAO analysis of Corps data.

                                        Notes: These data represent obligations using all funding sources, including funds from the Inland
                                        Waterway Trust Fund and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-5,
                                        123 Stat. 115 (2009).

                                        Totals may not add due to rounding.



                                        26
                                           The navigation program is one of nine major functional areas, or business lines, in the
                                        civil works program. Other business lines within the Corps’ civil works program include
                                        flood risk management, a regulatory program, water supply, hydropower, recreation,
                                        environment, emergency management, and support for others, which covers the Corps’
                                        activities related to interagency and international support.
                                        27
                                          An obligation is a definite commitment that creates a legal liability of the government for
                                        the payment of appropriated funds for goods and services ordered or received, or a legal
                                        duty on the part of the United States that could mature into a legal liability by virtue of
                                        actions on the part of the other party beyond the control of the United States. An agency
                                        incurs an obligation, for example, when it signs a contract or awards a grant.




                                        Page 14                                                       GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
•    Investigations: Prior to beginning any new navigation project, the
     Corps studies the proposed project’s necessity, feasibility, costs, and
     benefits. According to data provided by the Corps, the Corps
     obligated approximately $7.8 million for such investigations in fiscal
     year 2011, with work on most investigations projects conducted over
     multiple years. For example, according to the Corps’ fiscal year 2012
     Budget Justification, the federal share to fund preconstruction
     engineering and design activities for a navigation channel-deepening
     project at the Port of Savannah will cost an estimated $31 million.
     According to the Corps’ final report for the project, it will deepen the
     harbor from its current authorized depth of 42 feet to 47 feet as well
     as widen areas where the navigation channel bends or where vessels
     pass or turn. The final report states that the increased depth will result
     in annual benefits because of the increased transportation cost
     efficiencies, reduced tidal delays, and reduced channel-congestion
     delays. 28 Specifically, the report concluded that although deepening
     the harbor would cost $39 million each year to maintain, it would
     generate average annual benefits to the nation of $213 million,
     thereby resulting in $174 million in net annual benefits to the nation. 29

•    Construction: The Corps obligates funds for construction and major
     rehabilitation projects related to navigation through its Construction
     account—totaling over $234 million in fiscal year 2011, according to
     data provided by the Corps. Similar to its Investigations account, work
     on most construction projects is conducted over multiple years. For
     example, according to the Corps’ fiscal year 2012 Budget
     Justification, the federal share of the New York and New Jersey
     Harbor-deepening construction project will cost an estimated $1.17
     billion. The project will deepen 35 miles of navigation channels at the
     Port of New York and New Jersey to enhance access to the port’s
     major container terminals, according to the Corps. In addition, as part
     of its Olmsted Locks and Dam Project, the Corps is replacing two
     existing locks and dams on the Ohio River that can no longer meet
     current traffic demands without significant delays. According to a
     March 2012 Corps fact sheet, the project’s current cost estimate




28
 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Final General Re-Evaluation Report:
Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (January 2012).
29
 We did not independently verify the Corps’ estimates for the Savannah Harbor
Expansion Project.




Page 15                                               GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                   without inflation at the October 2011 price level is approximately $2.9
                   billion.

               •   Operation and Maintenance: According to data provided by the Corps,
                   in fiscal year 2011 the Corps obligated over $1.5 billion from its
                   Operation and Maintenance account, which funds activities that
                   maintain existing infrastructure. This generally includes dredging
                   navigable harbors, channels, and waterways up to their
                   congressionally authorized depth and width; however, these funds are
                   also used for other purposes, such as to conduct routine maintenance
                   on existing locks and dams. For example, Corps officials from the
                   New Orleans District told us that dredging needs can vary significantly
                   throughout the year, with some river sections receiving sediment
                   deposits of up to 5 feet in one day. As a result, according to Corps
                   officials, daily dredging of navigation channel sections at the mouth of
                   the Mississippi River during certain times of the year is needed to
                   ensure that ships can safely and efficiently access ports. According to
                   the Corps’ Navigation Data Center, New Orleans dredged more
                   material than any other district in fiscal year 2010, removing over 65
                   million cubic yards of material.

Port Segment   The federal government provides some funding or financing for projects
               that improve the port segment of the MTS. However, local taxes, private
               investment, and port authorities have typically financed infrastructure
               maintenance and improvements “inside the gate.” According to the
               American Association of Port Authorities, ports and their private-sector
               partners plan to invest $46 billion through 2017 in port operations and
               infrastructure. Ports that we visited also plan to make such investments.
               For example, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
               officials, the port plans to invest an estimated $1.7 billion over the next
               decade to sustain port growth and improve transportation infrastructure
               by, among other things, improving capacity of the port marine terminal
               roadway and rail systems, and local connections to major freight
               corridors. They noted that the figure does not include an estimated $1
               billion Port Authority of New York and New Jersey project to raise the
               roadway deck of the Bayonne Bridge, which will allow larger ships to pass
               underneath.

               The federal government may also provide some funding or financing for
               projects on port property. For example, DOT’s Transportation Investment
               Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program has provided
               funds for infrastructure improvement projects on port property that are
               expected to have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area,


               Page 16                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
or a region. We have previously reported that while there was no
requirement to distribute grant awards across different modes of
transportation, TIGER funding has supported merit-based highway,
transit, rail, port, and other projects. 30 The American Association of Port
Authorities has strongly supported the TIGER program as a way to fund
projects that will sustain and improve the nation’s critical gateways for
global trade.

Ports that we visited viewed the TIGER program as an opportunity to
improve their existing infrastructure. Each of the ports we visited applied
for a TIGER grant since funds were first appropriated for this grant
program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. 31
Overall, we found that DOT’s TIGER program awarded approximately
$357 million for at least 26 port or port-connector projects between fiscal
year 2009 and fiscal year 2012. For example, in 2010 the Port of
Vancouver (USA) received a $10 million TIGER grant to help complete its
West Vancouver Freight Access project, which will create a direct freight
rail entry and exit from the port and alleviate rail traffic congestion. The
project is divided into 20 elements, with completion anticipated in 2017.
Similarly, in 2011 the Port of New Orleans received a $16.7 million TIGER
grant to construct a new 12-acre freight rail intermodal terminal and
improve a 4-acre storage yard that is used for ultra-heavy project
cargoes. The project’s objective is to reduce congestion, facilitate the
movement of marine and rail cargo, stimulate international commerce,
and maintain an essential port asset in a state of good repair.

Other DOT programs may also provide funds for port infrastructure
development “inside the gate.” For example, the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 established the Port Infrastructure
Development Program to improve port facilities. 32 Specifically, the act


30
  GAO, Surface Transportation: Competitive Grant Programs Could Benefit from
Increased Performance Focus and Better Documentation of Key Decisions, GAO-11-234
(Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2011).
31
 Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115 (2009).
32
  Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 3512, 123 Stat. 2190 (2009). MARAD has existing authorities to
conduct port infrastructure programs in Hawaii (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Pub. L. No 109-59, § 9008,
119 Stat. 1144, 1926 (2005); Alaska (SAFETEA-LU at § 10205 ); and Guam (Duncan
Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, Pub. L. No. 110-417 §
3512, 122 Stat. 4356, 4770 (2008)).




Page 17                                               GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                         authorized the MARAD Administrator to, among other things, provide
                         technical assistance to port authorities for project planning, design, and
                         construction as well as to administer and carry out projects. According to
                         MARAD officials, Congress has not appropriated any funds to the Port
                         Infrastructure Development Program. Similarly, MARAD administers the
                         America’s Marine Highway Program, intended to, among other things:

                         •   expand domestic water transportation services as an alternative
                             means of moving freight cargo and passengers;
                         •   mitigate the economic, environmental, and energy costs of landside
                             congestion; and
                         •   integrate marine highways into the transportation planning process.

                         Under the program, ports that are sponsors of designated Marine
                         Highway Projects are eligible to compete for grants, and in September
                         2010, DOT awarded three projects and three research studies, totaling $7
                         million in funds. For example, the Virginia Port Authority was awarded
                         $1.1 million to help purchase two barges to expand container
                         transportation services both between the ports of Richmond and Norfolk
                         and between the terminals within the port of Norfolk. This action is
                         intended to relieve congestion along I-64 and within the City of Norfolk.


Port Connector Segment   A variety of DOT formula, grant, and credit programs may be used to
                         maintain and improve port connector infrastructure, such as road and rail
                         connections to the Interstate system or national rail network. MAP-21
                         restructured highway programs by eliminating or consolidating the
                         number of programs by two-thirds into new core formula programs: the
                         National Highway Performance Program, the Surface Transportation
                         Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Congestion
                         Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, the Railway-Highway
                         Crossings program, and the Metropolitan Planning program. We did not
                         assess how MAP-21 may affect the programs that DOT uses to fund or
                         finance MTS projects; however, at the time of our review, we identified
                         various surface transportation formula programs that could be used by
                         state and local governments to develop or improve port connectors, all of
                         which were administered by FHWA. These programs included, among
                         others, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program,
                         the Highway Safety Improvement Program, and the National Highway
                         System. FHWA distributes this funding to the states through annual
                         apportionments established by statutory formulas, and state and local
                         governments are ultimately responsible for, among other things,
                         selecting, planning, and supervising their infrastructure projects, including


                         Page 18                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
determining which, if any, port connections should be maintained or
improved.

FHWA obligations for formula programs in fiscal year 2011 ranged from
approximately $232.6 million from the Metropolitan Planning Funds
program to $9.5 billion from the Surface Transportation Program. (See
app. II for a table of DOT programs we reviewed that may fund MTS
infrastructure.) Although FHWA can determine overall obligations for
these programs, according to FHWA officials, it does not track the extent
to which formula programs fund port connector projects specifically. As a
result, we were not able to determine the total funds that were used to
benefit ports. FHWA officials noted that FHWA’s role is to ensure that
state projects meet federal program eligibility requirements and identified
several challenges to identifying port-specific projects:

•   The number of port-specific projects for which formula funds are
    obligated is likely small. One FHWA official told us, for example, that
    less than 1 percent of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
    Improvement Program funds are likely obligated to port-specific
    projects.
•   Although some FHWA division offices may be able to identify port-
    specific projects because they use distinct accounting codes for these
    investments, such coding is not required and is inconsistently applied
    across division offices.
•   Some larger highway projects may include components that could
    benefit a port; however, according to one FHWA official, it can be
    challenging to make that distinction.

By contrast, several DOT programs allow the department to grant or
direct funds to port-connector infrastructure projects. According to data
provided by DOT officials, the department obligated the following
approximate amounts in fiscal year 2011:

•   FHWA’s Freight Intermodal Distribution Pilot Grant Program ($14
    million), National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program ($77
    million), and Projects of National and Regional Significance program
    ($237 million); and
•   FRA’s Program for Capital Grants for Rail Line Relocation and
    Improvement Projects ($32 million).

Of these programs we identified, the majority of funds were obligated
from the Projects of National and Regional Significance program, under
which funds are distributed by congressional directive. For example,



Page 19                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
under the program Congress directed $100 million from fiscal year 2005
to fiscal year 2009 to the Cross Harbor Freight Movement Project in New
York. 33 According to FHWA, the goal of the project is the near-term
rehabilitation and the long-term improvement of the underutilized rail
freight network connecting the New York and New England markets to
national markets west of the Hudson River.

Some DOT credit programs can also target and finance port connector
projects. For example, under these programs, DOT may obligate funds
for direct loans to project sponsors. Generally, for credit programs, federal
agencies obligate the credit program’s subsidy costs and administrative
expenses. 34 This amount differs from the credit instrument’s principle
amount, which represents the total credit provided by the federal
government to the project’s sponsor. (See app. III for a table of
obligations, principal amount, and subsidy cost information related to
these programs.) One such credit program is FHWA’s Transportation
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which
provides federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan
guarantees, and lines of credit to finance surface transportation projects
of national and regional significance. 35 The TIFIA program supported at
least one port connector project to date—providing a $341 million direct
loan to a public-private partnership project intended to construct a
dedicated roadway connector between the Interstate system and the Port
of Miami. FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing
(RRIF) Program is another credit program that may be used to upgrade
port connectors to the nationwide rail network. Under the RRIF program,
FRA provides direct loans and loan guarantees to (1) acquire, improve, or
rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities; (2) refinance
outstanding debt, or (3) develop or establish new intermodal or railroad
facilities. According to data provided by FRA officials, FRA obligated


33
 SAFETEA-LU, Pub. L. No. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144, 1203 (2005).
34
  Budgeting for the cost of credit programs, including the TIFIA and RRIF program, is
governed by the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (Pub. L. No. 101-508, 104 Stat. 1388,
1388-610, title V, codified as amended at 2 U.S.C. § 661-661f), which requires federal
agencies to receive budget authority to cover the estimated long-term cost to the
government (which includes defaults, delinquencies, and interest subsidies) of providing
credit assistance, calculated on a net present value basis, and excluding administrative
costs.
35
  For additional discussion of the TIFIA program, see GAO, Surface Transportation:
Financing Program Could Benefit from Increased Performance Focus and Better
Communication, GAO-12-641 (Washington, D.C.: June 21, 2012).




Page 20                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                           approximately $842 million for direct loans under the program between
                           fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2011.


                           We identified three key challenges to maintaining and improving MTS
Several Challenges         infrastructure. First, aging infrastructure on the nation’s waterways, ports,
Exist to Maintaining       and port connectors may hinder the efficient movement of freight.
                           Second, the Corps and DOT are faced with more demands for
and Improving the          maintaining and improving MTS infrastructure than available federal
MTS                        funding allows. Third, while the Corps and DOT have taken some steps to
                           prioritize funding within their purview for all three segments of the MTS
                           that we reviewed, there is no system-wide strategy for prioritizing MTS
                           investments.


Aging MTS Infrastructure

Navigable Waterways and    The Corps is facing challenges maintaining and improving navigation
Supporting Structures      infrastructure, such as dredging channels and repairing locks. For
                           example, according to navigation program officials responsible for
                           managing the deep draft Mississippi River channel between Baton Rouge
                           and the Gulf of Mexico, increased dredging costs have precluded the
                           Corps from being able, as of fiscal year 2011, to maintain the Mississippi
                           River channel at its fully authorized width and depth. 36 Figure 2 below
                           shows the Mississippi River at the Port of South Louisiana.




                           36
                             Historically, the Corps has maintained the Mississippi River navigation channel to full
                           dimensions as much as possible at all times using annual and supplemental
                           appropriations, and reprogramming funds from other projects.




                           Page 21                                                   GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Figure 2: Mississippi River at the Port of South Louisiana




As a result of the channel’s shoaling, 37 the New Orleans-Baton Rouge
Steamship Pilot’s Association, which is responsible for operating vessels
on the lower Mississippi River, began placing restrictions on certain
sections of the river when conditions warrant. According to Corps officials,
these restrictions can increase the time and cost of shipping services and
the channel shoaling may have a negative impact on safety. Structures
that support navigation channels, such as jetties, are also aging and in
need of rehabilitation. For example, the jetties at the mouth of the
Columbia River, which help to maintain the depth and orientation of the
shipping channel and provide protection for ships from waves entering
and exiting the river, are about 100 years old. The Corps’ Portland District
recently completed a major rehabilitation report for the jetties, with
prescribed near-term repairs, as well as more significant rehabilitation to
be pursued between 2014 and 2020. The Pacific Northwest Waterways
Association has indicated that these jetties are of critical importance to
shippers in the region.



37
 Shoaling is the natural shallowing of a river channel due to sediment build-up.




Page 22                                                  GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
The locks and dams that support navigation on the nation’s inland
waterway system are also aging, resulting in decreased performance and
costly delays. Over one-half of the Corps’ 241 locks at 196 sites have
exceeded their 50-year service life, requiring increased maintenance to
keep them functioning. 38 Figure 3 shows the age of the nation’s
navigation lock inventory.

Figure 3: Corps Navigation Lock Inventory, 2012




Note: Includes all operational deep and shallow draft Corps and Tennessee Valley Authority
navigation locks.




38
  When properly maintained, navigation projects, such as locks, traditionally have a 50-
year design life, which is the minimal time the project is expected to provide reliable
performance without major infrastructure investments to keep it safe and efficient.




Page 23                                                       GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
As locks age, repair and rehabilitation become more extensive and
expensive, according to the CMTS. 39 Corps officials told us that, at
current funding levels, replacement of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal
lock (Industrial Canal), a vital link that connects the Mississippi River to
the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway system in New Orleans, may not occur
until 2030. 40 Moreover, according to the Corps, the current lock, which
was completed in 1921, is too small to accommodate modern day
vessels. See figure 4 below.




39
  The problem of aging navigation infrastructure is not unique to the Corps. In 2010, GAO
examined the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation’s 10-year Asset
Renewal Program to address long-term needs of two locks and navigation channels in the
U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and found that the total project estimates had
increased in cost. See GAO, St. Lawrence Seaway: Estimates for the Asset Renewal
Program Will Change, and Implementing Best Practices May Improve the Estimates’
Reliability, GAO-10-541R (Washington, D.C.: May 13, 2010).
40
  The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement Project was originally authorized
by Congress in 1956 (Pub. L. No 84-455, 70 Stat. 65 (1956)) and amended by the Water
Resources Development Acts of 1986 (Pub. L. No 99-662, 100 Stat. 4082 (1986)) and
1996 (Pub. L. No 104-3, 110 Stat. 3658 (1996)). According to industry, the average delay
is 11 hours, but can be as much as 24 to 36 hours on many occasions.




Page 24                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Figure 4: Construction at the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock, New Orleans,
Louisiana




Corps officials attributed this delay to the years of planning and
community involvement needed to reach consensus on the lock design,
as well as insufficient resources to address the lock replacement because
of other construction projects. 41 The planned replacement lock will
provide a nearly three-fold increase in lock chamber capacity; however,
Corps officials told us that project costs have also increased considerably
over time, with current construction costs estimated at $1.5 billion.

The Corps uses performance indicators to measure the performance of
its locks. Each year the Corps measures its performance in meeting a
number of high priority goals, and as part of this effort, the Corps
assesses the extent to which the navigation projects are meeting




41
  The Olmsted Lock and Dam replacement is affecting the Corps’ ability to rehabilitate
other navigation projects across the country as costs for the replacement have escalated
from $775 million to the current project estimate cost to complete of $2.9 billion.




Page 25                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                                            authorized purposes and evolving conditions. 42 The Corps has developed
                                            performance metrics for navigation operation and maintenance activities
                                            to provide an indicator of the extent to which the Corps is meeting those
                                            goals. Recent data illustrate the effect that aging infrastructure is having
                                            on MTS performance (see table 2). These metrics show that the hours of
                                            scheduled and unscheduled lock closures because of mechanical failures
                                            have increased since fiscal year 2009. Moreover, according to a senior
                                            Corps navigation program official, there has been a consistent trend of
                                            deteriorating lock performance since 2000. For some indicators, such as
                                            the number of preventable lock closures over 24 hours, performance in
                                            2011 was better than in 2010; however, the performance of the locks still
                                            failed to meet Corps’ targets for 2011. Also, in fiscal year 2011, the Corps
                                            did not meet performance targets for locks at both inland waterways and
                                            coastal ports and harbors. 43

Table 2: Selected Corps Navigation Operation and Maintenance Activities Performance Indicators

                                                                                                        2009                 2010                2011
                                                                                                    Actual                Actual             Target        Actual
Inland waterways     Segment availability – closures over 24 hours in                                   11.1                  19.6              19            23.1
                     thousands of hrs.
                     Preventable lock closures over 24 hours                                               37                    61             38              50
                     Preventable lock closures over 7 days                                                 19                    37             21              26
Coastal ports and    Channel availability                                                               50%                   38%              35%            Not
                                                                                                                                                                  a
harbors                                                                                                                                                 available

                                            Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Civil Works, Annual Financial Report, fiscal year 2011.
                                            a
                                             U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterborne Commerce Statistics data was not available for
                                            publication at the time of this report.




                                            42
                                              In 2009 the Corps developed four high-priority performance goals, including to: (1)
                                            provide sustainable development and integrated management of the nation’s water
                                            resources; (2) repair past environmental degradation and prevent future environmental
                                            losses; (3) ensure that projects perform to meet authorized purposes and evolving
                                            conditions; and (4) reduce vulnerabilities and losses to the nation and the Army from
                                            natural and man-made disasters, including terrorism. The selected navigation operation
                                            and maintenance activities performance metrics listed in table 2 address the third goal.
                                            43
                                              The Corps measures segment availability by assessing the number of hours that
                                            mechanical-driven failure or shoaling results in the closure of a high or moderate use river
                                            segment. Channel availability is the percentage of time that high-commercial traffic
                                            navigation channels are available to commercial users. There are a total of 59 high-use
                                            channels, defined as those that pass 10 million or more tons of cargo per year.




                                            Page 26                                                                             GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Port Connectors   The nation’s road connectors at ports are used by trucks with heavy loads
                  and are often in poor condition. DOT has reported that much of the
                  nation’s freight transportation infrastructure was developed before 1960 to
                  serve industrial and population centers in the Northeast and Midwest. 44
                  Since 1960, however, there have been fundamental changes in the
                  American economy as the population and manufacturing have grown in
                  the South and West Coast. According to DOT, the growth in freight
                  transportation is a major contributor to congestion in urban areas and
                  congestion in turn affects the timeliness and reliability of freight
                  transportation. In its December 2000 report to Congress, DOT found that
                  many of the nation’s intermodal road connectors to ports were under-
                  maintained. For example, highway connectors to ports had twice the
                  percentage of pavement deficiencies as non-Interstate National Highway
                  System routes. 45 In that study, DOT found that 15 percent of the port
                  connector mileage, which it defined as the roadway used by trucks to
                  travel between major highways and ports, was in poor or very poor
                  condition. More recently in 2004, DOT reported that about one-third of the
                  port connector system was in need of additional capacity because of
                  current congestion and that over 40 percent of the port connector mileage
                  needs some type of pavement or lane-width improvement. 46 Prior surface
                  transportation legislation did not specifically address the condition of port
                  connectors on a systematic basis, but the Safe, Accountable, Flexible,
                  Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)
                  established a Freight Intermodal Distribution Pilot Grant Program to,
                  among other things, facilitate and support intermodal freight
                  transportation activities at the state and local levels to relieve congestion.
                  This program included $30 million for six designated projects aimed at
                  relieving congestion at intermodal facilities, including several ports. 47




                  44
                    U.S. Department of Transportation, 2008 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and
                  Transit: Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, (Washington, D.C.: January
                  2010).
                  45
                   U.S. Department of Transportation, NHS Intermodal Freight Connectors: A Report to
                  Congress, (Washington, D.C.: December 2000).
                  46
                    U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and
                  Transit: Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, (Washington, D.C.: February
                  2006).
                  47
                   Pub. L. No. 109-59, § 1306, 119 Stat. 1144, 1215-1217 (2005).




                  Page 27                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                     Efficient freight movement at ports may also be hindered by aging rail
                     infrastructure, especially key bridges. According to officials from the MPO
                     serving the New Orleans metropolitan area, one of the most pressing rail
                     infrastructure needs at the Port of New Orleans is replacement of the
                     Almonaster Avenue Bridge, which is a central link in the east-west rail
                     traffic across the southern United States handling numerous trains per
                     day. The existing bridge was completed in 1920 and is structurally
                     deficient—in its closed position the bridge provides only one to two feet of
                     vertical clearance above the average water level and must open to
                     virtually all marine traffic. 48 Although the bridge is part of the national
                     highway system, making it eligible for federal funding, it is not a part of
                     the state highway system, and therefore ineligible for state funding,
                     according to state officials. At issue is whether the Port of New Orleans,
                     which owns the bridge, should pay for its share of the $65 million bridge
                     replacement, because the transportation benefits that would come from
                     the bridge’s replacement would accrue to the nation.


MTS Infrastructure   Today, the Corps is faced with more demands for maintaining and
Backlog              improving aging navigation infrastructure than available federal funding
                     allows. According to Corps navigation program data, current authorization
                     of appropriation amounts for navigation construction projects exceeds the
                     amount appropriated by $13.5 billion, and the current estimated operation
                     and maintenance backlog is $3.4 billion, assuming current funding levels.
                     The data only include the federal shares and do not include the non-
                     federal share of the costs provided by project stakeholders. 49 Several
                     factors have been identified as contributing to the size of the current
                     navigation program backlog, including:

                     •    authorizations that have outpaced appropriations in recent years;


                     48
                       For additional discussion on the condition of the nation’s bridges and the Federal
                     Highway Administration’s Highway Bridge Program, see GAO, Highway Bridge Program:
                     Condition of Nation’s Bridges Shows Limited Improvement, but Further Actions Could
                     Enhance the Impact of Federal Investment, GAO-10-930T (Washington, D.C.: July 21,
                     2010).
                     49
                       The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Pub. L. No. 99-662, § 102, 100 Stat.
                     4082 (1986)) imposed new requirements on the financing of Corps navigation projects and
                     established a cost-share requirement for harbor and inland waterways projects. For
                     additional discussion see GAO, Federal User Fees: Substantive Reviews Needed to Align
                     Port-Related Fees with the Programs They Support, GAO-08-321 (Washington, D.C.: Feb.
                     22, 2008).




                     Page 28                                               GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
•    the aging of existing infrastructure, which requires more funds for
     operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation; and
•    rapidly increasing costs to construct water infrastructure projects, in
     part because of price increases for construction materials and fuels. 50

Other reasons for the increase include the cost associated with
environmental mitigation and disposal of dredged material. For instance,
according to the Corps, features to mitigate the environmental impact
account for 45 percent of the total $652 million cost of the Savannah
Harbor Expansion Project. In addition, Corps officials told us that the lack
of proximate dredged-material disposal areas and the mitigation costs for
feasible alternative sites dramatically increases project costs.

Keeping up with the investment requirements of modern port operations
has become a major challenge for many ports, especially at the nation’s
small and medium-sized commercial ports. According to a senior MARAD
official, the majority of the nation’s port infrastructure was built in the
1960s, and this infrastructure is now at the end of its useful life and in
need of rehabilitation and modernization. As the TIGER program has
demonstrated and as MARAD officials concur, port infrastructure
development and modernization needs outweigh current funding.
According to DOT, in fiscal year 2012 over 80 ports submitted TIGER pre-
applications for port development projects representing a variety of port
types, including large sophisticated container ports as well as smaller
commercial fishing ports, and DOT provided TIGER grant funding to 8
port infrastructure projects.

One of the challenges facing ports is installing adequate infrastructure to
handle new larger post-Panamax vessels, which are expected to begin
calling at U.S. Gulf and East Coast ports after the expansion of the
Panama Canal is completed in 2014. Post-Panamax vessels, for
example, require bigger cranes, which can cost over $25 million each,
and more staging areas to accommodate peak cargo flow. Some ports,
like Georgia Port Authority’s Garden City Terminal at the Port of
Savannah, have invested heavily to ensure that the port is ready to
accommodate the new larger vessels.




50
 Congressional Research Service, Army Corps Fiscal Challenges: Frequently Asked
Questions, R41961 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 18, 2011).




Page 29                                             GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                        According to DOT’s most recent estimate, $4.3 billion is needed to
                        improve the condition of the nation’s port connectors. 51 We have
                        previously reported that the nation’s surface transportation system,
                        including port connectors, is under growing strain, and the cost to repair
                        and upgrade the system to safely and reliably meet current and future
                        demands may exceed what the nation can afford. 52


Prioritization of MTS   Both the Corps and DOT are taking some steps to prioritize funding within
Investments             their purview for all three segments of the MTS that we reviewed. We
                        have previously reported that a systematic approach to help guide
                        decisions on federal investment in the MTS is needed because of the
                        growing awareness of, and agreement about, the need to view the
                        various transportation modes that comprise the MTS from an integrated
                        standpoint, particularly for the purposes of developing and implementing
                        a federal investment strategy. 53

                        The Corps has taken steps to prioritize limited funding within its
                        navigation program and civil works budget process. Within the navigation
                        program specifically, the Corps has developed the Operational Condition
                        Assessment tool for all inland navigation structures, such as locks and
                        dams, to ensure that structures are consistently assessed and to provide
                        relative risk ratings and project ratings. The Corps is developing a similar
                        tool for rating coastal navigation structures, such as jetties, and Corps
                        officials expect this tool to inform the Corps’ fiscal year 2014 budget. For
                        navigation channels, the Corps is developing a uniform framework tool,
                        anticipated to be available for fiscal year 2015 to assess the condition of
                        all navigation channels. With respect to its civil works program, the Corps
                        began using performance-based budgeting beginning in fiscal year 2006
                        as a way to focus funding requests on those projects with the highest
                        anticipated return on investment. 54 Under the current civil works budget


                        51
                          U.S. Department of Transportation, 2002 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and
                        Transit: Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, (Washington, D.C.: January
                        2003).
                        52
                         GAO, High Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278 (Washington, D.C.: February 2011).
                        53
                          GAO, Marine Transportation: Federal Financing and a Framework for Infrastructure
                        Investments, GAO-02-1033 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 9, 2002).
                        54
                          GAO, Army Corps of Engineers, Budget Formulation Process Emphasizes Agencywide
                        Priorities, but Transparency of Budget Presentation Could be Improved, GAO-10-453
                        (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 2, 2010).




                        Page 30                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
formulation process, the Corps uses performance metrics and a benefit-
to-cost ratio to evaluate projects’ estimated future outcomes and gives
priority to those with the highest expected returns for the national
economy and the environment. In part, the Corps focuses on anticipated
outcomes because most of the construction and investigation projects
being considered in its civil works budget requests are new or have not
yet been completed, and thus have not generally begun to achieve
benefits. Because the Operation and Maintenance account includes
projects that have already been constructed, the Corps incorporates
ongoing performance information, such as assessments of whether
infrastructure meets current engineering and industry standards.
Nevertheless, the number of investigations and construction projects
receiving appropriations is typically greater than the number requested,
and as we have previously reported, the Corps’ budget presentation does
not include an explanation of the relative priority given to projects or how
they are evaluated against each other.

In addition to these efforts, the Corps recently issued a report to provide
advice on how Congress should address the need for additional port and
inland waterway modernization to accommodate post-Panamax
vessels. 55 The Corps reported that it is critical that the U.S. develop and
move forward with a strategic vision for ensuring adequate investment in
maintaining navigation infrastructure and for facilitating the strategic
targeting of investments to ensure that the United States is ready for
these larger vessels when the expanded Panama Canal opens in 2014.
The Corps also presented a variety of financing options to initiate a
national discussion of possible paths to meet the challenge of
modernizing MTS infrastructure.

DOT has a more limited ability to prioritize funding for port infrastructure
projects given the structure of federal surface transportation funding. The
vast majority of DOT funding goes directly to state DOTs through
formulas where decisions about transportation priorities are made at the
state and local level. 56 In fiscal year 2011, FHWA provided states with


55
  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resource, U.S. Port and Inland
Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels (Washington, D.C.: June
20, 2012).
56
  While the federal government provides most funding from the Highway Trust Fund
directly to the states and the states oversee the use of these funds, by statute, states must
provide some trust fund revenues to other organizations, such as MPOs, for planning
purposes.




Page 31                                                   GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
over $39 billion in federal-aid highway funding. The statewide
transportation planning process is the forum through which states decide
how to spend significant amounts of federal transportation funds. This
process is informed by MPOs that lead transportation planning in
urbanized areas—geographic areas with populations of 50,000 or more.
Although states must comply with federal planning requirements
administered jointly by FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration,
states have considerable discretion to allocate federal funds and select
projects. According to a senior DOT official, states and MPOs make the
decisions about how best to prioritize their formula funding and how to
integrate port infrastructure projects into their transportation plans.
However, as we have previously reported, data limitations and the lack of
performance measures for these projects can make it difficult to quantify
the benefits of these projects and to achieve state-wide or community
support. 57

DOT’s competitive grant and credit programs provide one opportunity for
the agency to prioritize funding for port infrastructure, yet funding for
these projects is relatively limited compared to formula funding. For
example, in fiscal year 2012, DOT had $500 million in TIGER funds to
obligate across all modes for a variety of transportation projects and $122
million in budget authority for the TIFIA program. 58 The new surface
transportation legislation, MAP-21, significantly expands the TIFIA
program by authorizing $750 million in budget authority in fiscal year 2013
and $1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to pay the subsidy cost of supporting
federal credit. 59 According to FHWA, a $1 billion TIFIA authorization of
budget authority will support about $10 billion in actual lending capacity.


57
  We have identified some challenges facing states and MPOs in developing freight—and
by extension—port projects. See GAO, Statewide Transportation Planning: Opportunities
Exist to Transition to Performance-Based Planning and Federal Oversight, GAO-11-77
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 15, 2010), and Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Options
Exist to Enhance Transportation Planning Capacity and Federal Oversight, GAO 09-868
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 9, 2009).
58
  According to DOT, actual TIFIA lending capacity is subject to the calculation of the
estimated subsidy cost for each credit assistance transaction. The amount varies based
on the risk profile of the project and the repayment stream. According to DOT, actual
original subsidy rates have ranged from less than 1 percent to over 15 percent of the
TIFIA credit assistance received. See GAO, Surface Transportation: Financing Program
Could Benefit from Increased Performance Focus and Better Communication,
GAO-12-641 (Washington, D.C.: June 21, 2012).
59
 Pub. L. No.112-141, § 1101(a)(2), 126 Stat. 405 (2012).




Page 32                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                         MAP-21 also calls for a number of significant program reforms including a
                         10 percent set-aside for rural projects and an increase in the share of
                         eligible project costs from 33 percent to 49 percent. Projects that received
                         credit assistance through TIFIA tend to be large, high-cost highway
                         projects. Even with the additional budget authority authorized for the
                         TIFIA program, DOT officials told us that the funding process is driven by
                         applicants as opposed to a national assessment of priority.

                         Moreover, port projects may not always compete well against other
                         transportation-funding projects. According to DOT officials, ports may be
                         less accustomed to the processes and procedures involved in applying
                         for federal funds, making it harder for them to compete for competitive
                         grants and loans. Given the short program timelines for the TIGER
                         program, some ports may have difficulty meeting timelines given the
                         complexity of their proposals. Additionally, port applicants may not be as
                         familiar with developing and completing federal environmental review
                         requirements making it difficult to remain eligible for funding. According to
                         one senior MARAD official, many ports lack sufficient expertise to conduct
                         early planning or are not well positioned to leverage existing relationships
                         with state DOTs. As a result, some ports may be less prepared to
                         participate in DOT’s competitive funding processes and compete against
                         applicants with more experience participating in the federal funding
                         process.


                         A number of efforts are under way to address MTS challenges through
Federal Government       better coordination of federal investments. Specifically, the Corps and
Has Taken Steps to       DOT are taking steps to better coordinate MTS infrastructure investments
                         between the two agencies. Other federal efforts such as a government-
Address MTS              wide task force, advisory groups, and an interagency coordination
Challenges; However,     committee also have been established to address MTS issues. While
                         these federal efforts to align and better coordinate MTS infrastructure
Opportunities Exist to   investments are good steps, some are limited in their scope and, for
Improve the              others, it is not clear how effective they will be in addressing the complex
                         and wide-ranging challenges to maintaining and developing MTS
Effectiveness of Its     infrastructure.
Role in the MTS




                         Page 33                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Federal Efforts to Address   In March 2012, DOT and the U.S. Department of the Army signed a
MTS Infrastructure           memorandum of understanding (MOU) to identify and capitalize on
Investments System-Wide      opportunities to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure
                             investments. 60 Specifically, DOT and the U.S. Department of Army
                             agreed to (1) develop project prioritization criteria consistent to the
                             greatest degree possible, (2) look for opportunities to reflect national
                             priorities for waterside and landside infrastructure investment alignment,
                             and (3) coordinate project evaluation and selection processes as it relates
                             to DOT grant programs and the Corps’ project prioritization. Although it is
                             too early to assess progress made in achieving these objectives, senior
                             DOT and Corps officials told us that the MOU played an important role in
                             ensuring interagency coordination on MTS infrastructure investments for
                             the last round of the TIGER program. However, as noted above, the bulk
                             of DOT’s transportation funding is directed through state and local
                             transportation agencies.

                             MARAD, the one federal entity charged with an MTS-wide mission, has
                             few programs to address system-wide challenges and a limited field
                             presence. MARAD is developing the Port Infrastructure Development
                             Program to improve the state of repair of all U.S. ports and enhance the
                             competitiveness of ports for public and private funds through
                             comprehensive planning. According to a senior MARAD official, the
                             program is being designed to create a level playing field for all ports,
                             including small- and medium-sized ports, to attract private-sector
                             financing, and it is being developed together with MTS stakeholders.
                             However, despite MARAD’s efforts to obtain consensus on the program
                             from MTS stakeholders, the program has not been funded, and MARAD
                             officials acknowledge that the agency has more work to do to ensure that
                             its staff have the right skill set and expertise needed to manage the
                             program. Moreover, several MTS stakeholders whom we met with during
                             our site visits told us that MARAD does not currently have a major role to
                             play in MTS infrastructure development. For example, local
                             transportation-planning officials we spoke to in one major coastal city said
                             that MARAD representatives are not at the table during the MPO’s




                             60
                               We have reported that agencies can strengthen their commitment to work collaboratively
                             by articulating their agreements in formal documents, such as a MOU signed by senior
                             officials in respective agencies. GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can
                             Help Enhance and Sustain Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15
                             (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005).




                             Page 34                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
planning process, and therefore, DOT is missing an opportunity to
coordinate investments in the various MTS segments.

The recently enacted MAP-21 also provides an opportunity to better
coordinate investments in the MTS. First, MAP-21 directly addresses the
fragmented nature of DOT programs, including those that address ports
and port connectors, by consolidating the number of federal-aid highway
programs to focus resources on key national goals. While MTS
stakeholders we met with generally told us they appreciated having
access to a variety of federal transportation programs that can be used
for surface transportation projects, we have previously reported on
coordination challenges within DOT that result from a modal approach to
administering and funding programs. 61

Second, MAP-21 establishes a national freight policy and mandates that
DOT develop a National Freight Strategic Plan and a national freight
network. Specifically, in the development of the National Freight Strategic
Plan MAP-21 requires DOT to consult with state departments of
transportation and other appropriate public and private transportation
stakeholders. As we have previously reported, to develop an effective
strategic plan, agencies should involve their stakeholders, assess their
internal and external environments, and align their activities, core
processes, and resources to support mission-related outcomes. 62 As
noted above, both the Corps and DOT have taken some steps to invest in
their respective segments of the MTS. However, there has been limited
coordination of MTS investments system-wide. The National Freight
Strategic Plan is an opportunity to address the MTS system-wide by
considering the Corps’ future investments in navigable waterways.
Involving the Corps in the development of that plan is particularly
important given the nexus between freight and the entire MTS, since the
vast majority of the nation’s freight is imported and exported via navigable
waterways through our nation’s ports.




61
  GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap, and
Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-342SP (Washington,
D.C.: Feb. 28, 2012).
62
 GAO, Agencies’ Strategic Plans Under GPRA: Key Questions to Facilitate
Congressional Review, GAO/GGD-10.1.16 (Washington, D.C.: May 1997).




Page 35                                              GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
In addition to these Corps and DOT-specific efforts, there are a number of
other federal efforts that have been recently created to address MTS
infrastructure investment system-wide. On July 19, 2012, the White
House established a Task Force on Ports to develop federal strategies to
address coastal port infrastructure investments. This high-level effort is
designed to address specific issues and provide immediate benefits to,
among other things, help ensure that the nation’s navigable waterways
and ports are prepared to handle any increase in trade expected from the
expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014. In particular, the task force
plans to examine challenges to coastal ports including increased
competition from ports in Canada and the Caribbean and is tasked with
developing a strategy to inform future investment decisions and identify
opportunities for improved coordination and streamlined environmental
review of investments in port-related infrastructure. According to the
White House, the establishment of the task force responds to calls from
state and local governments, as well as ports and other maritime
stakeholders, for a more strategic framework for allocating federal
investments. While this particular effort targeting coastal ports provides
an immediate focus on some of the most pertinent MTS infrastructure
challenges, it is too soon to know how the task force’s efforts will be
realized and whether it will provide the long-term commitment and
management needed to address MTS challenges.

We also identified two federal advisory groups established to advise the
federal government agencies on system-wide MTS issues. Federal
advisory groups can play an important role in the development of policy
and government regulations by providing advice to federal agency
policymakers. 63 For example, the Marine Transportation System National
Advisory Council (MTSNAC) was established to, among other items,
provide advice to the Secretary of Transportation via the MARAD
Administrator on marine highways and ports and their road, rail, and
marine highway connections. Members of MTSNAC reflect a cross
section of maritime industries and port and water resources stakeholders
from the private sector, academia, labor, and federal, state and local
entities. In addition, the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain
Competitiveness was recently established to advise the Secretary of
Commerce on the necessary elements of a comprehensive national


63
  GAO, Federal Advisory Groups: DOT and DOE Can Take Steps to Better Assess
Duplication Risk and Enhance Usefulness, GAO-12-472 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29,
2012).




Page 36                                              GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                          freight policy designed to support U.S. export growth and
                          competitiveness, among other items. The committee consists of 40
                          private-sector members, including representatives from supply chain firms
                          and their associations, stakeholders, academia, community organizations,
                          and others directly affected by the supply chain. These two federal
                          advisory groups provide an opportunity for federal agencies involved in
                          the MTS to obtain input from internal and external stakeholders such as
                          academics, industry associations, or other agencies to address MTS
                          challenges.


CMTS Efforts to Address   The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), created to
MTS Challenges            address a broad range of MTS challenges, provides another opportunity
                          to coordinate MTS infrastructure investment system-wide. Established in
                          2004 by a directive from the President in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, the
                          CMTS is a long-standing committee designed to foster a partnership of
                          federal agencies with responsibility for the MTS and to provide a forum
                          through which agencies coordinate and take action to address a wide
                          range of MTS challenges. For example, the CMTS reported in 2010 that
                          multi-agency efforts to address navigation technology issues could lead to
                          significant improvements to navigation safety information, especially in
                          and around ports. Specifically, the Corps, the National Oceanic and
                          Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey have
                          developed, published and adopted common data standards. According to
                          the CMTS, these efforts provide improved delivery of navigation
                          information and enable agencies to better share information of
                          navigational value. Similarly, to build on the MOU signed between the
                          DOT and the U.S. Department of the Army to coordinate and improve
                          infrastructure investment between the two agencies, the CMTS
                          Coordinating Board agreed in June 2012 to establish a CMTS
                          Infrastructure Investment Integrated Action Team to provide a forum for
                          participation by other agencies that are stakeholders in MTS
                          infrastructure. 64

                          In July 2008, the CMTS published the National Strategy on the Marine
                          Transportation System (Strategy) to provide a framework and 5-year
                          action plan to address MTS challenges. The Strategy is intended to


                          64
                            According to the CMTS Charter, Integrated Action Teams are created as needed, can
                          be either temporary or permanent in nature, and consist of representatives from relevant
                          agencies depending on the topic.




                          Page 37                                                 GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
present the most pressing challenges facing the MTS and provide a
framework for addressing MTS needs through 2013. It recommends 34
actions to address these issues, some of which touch upon key
challenges we identified. For example, to address challenges related to
the prioritization of federal investments in the MTS, it recommends
studying approaches to prioritizing how federal dollars should be
allocated among competing priorities as well as studying how best to
coordinate allocation of federal funds for projects across agencies.
Similarly, to address infrastructure capacity issues the CMTS
recommended that agencies publish valid, reliable, and timely data on the
MTS including cargo movements, capacity, and productivity as well as
develop performance measures to assess the productivity of the MTS and
the risk of potential infrastructure failures.

The CMTS has taken steps to address some of the recommended actions
included in the Strategy. According to a 2010 implementation plan, the
CMTS developed a list of six priority actions taken from the Strategy’s 34
recommended actions and identified 3 other priorities that address
emerging issues. According to CMTS officials, when at least three CMTS
members agree to address a long-term MTS issue, they may form an
Integrated Action Team or subcommittee. CMTS guidance states that,
once formed, these teams operate on a consensus basis and are
responsible for preparing an action plan that, among other things,
includes (1) a list of deliverables, (2) a schedule for completing them, (3)
identification of the parties responsible for completing them, and (4)
funding sources available. For example, the CMTS Coordinating Board
established the Research and Development Integrated Action Team in
March 2009 to respond to several recommended actions included in the
Strategy, including the need for valid data and for the development of
performance measures. CMTS members may also establish task teams
to address short-term issues; however, these teams are not responsible
for developing an action plan. For example, in December 2011 the
National Export Initiative task team was established in support of the
President’s National Export Initiative to, among other things, monitor the
availability of export containers. 65 CMTS officials noted that, although the
National Export Initiative is not addressed in the Strategy, the CMTS must
be flexible to adapt to and address new MTS issues as they emerge.


65
  According to the White House, the March 2010 National Export Initiative is intended to
improve conditions that directly affect the private sector’s ability to export and to help meet
the administration’s goal of doubling exports over the next 5 years.




Page 38                                                     GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Opportunities to Improve   While the CMTS has taken steps to address a number of recommended
the Effectiveness of the   actions identified in the Strategy and has made progress facilitating
CMTS                       interagency cooperation, it is unclear if those steps have achieved their
                           intended results. Moreover, we found some limitations to the
                           implementation of the Strategy, including:

                           •   The CMTS has not kept the Strategy up to date and has no plan to
                               replace the Strategy’s 5-year action plan. Although the CMTS website
                               states that the Strategy is a “living document” to be enhanced and
                               updated, CMTS officials told us that agencies had not updated the
                               Strategy since it was published in 2008 and have no current plans to
                               do so. As a result, the Strategy does not specifically address new and
                               emerging challenges, such as the President’s National Export
                               Initiative. CMTS officials told us that updating the Strategy would be
                               useful and that—should sufficient resources be available—the CMTS
                               would review the recommendations of the Strategy and update them
                               with respect to current and projected needs of the MTS. An up-to-date
                               Strategy that reflects the most important challenges can help ensure
                               agencies remain focused on key priorities and help stakeholders,
                               including the Congress, target limited resources to those priorities.

                           •   The CMTS did not incorporate clear desired results, specific
                               milestones, and outcome-related performance measures throughout
                               the Strategy to help ensure steps taken achieve the intended results.
                               While CMTS member agencies have taken steps to introduce
                               accountability mechanisms through action plans developed by
                               individual Integrated Action Teams, action plans were only developed
                               for those areas or activities where consensus existed among agencies
                               to establish them. For other areas, the Strategy’s recommended
                               actions remain—as a CMTS response to Congress describes—broad
                               in scope, rather than finite, individually defined tasks. While identifying
                               broad objectives is a good first step, without a clearly defined and
                               articulated “end-state” for each recommended action, it is difficult to
                               evaluate the extent to which progress has been made or determine
                               whether the CMTS is achieving its intended results. Furthermore,
                               CMTS officials told us that identifying broad actions was the only way
                               to gain consensus among all CMTS member agencies when the
                               Strategy was developed. However, without incorporating
                               accountability mechanisms throughout the Strategy, agency and
                               Congressional decision-makers may lack information needed to
                               evaluate progress and determine the extent to which agency activities
                               are achieving their intended results to address MTS challenges. We
                               have previously identified desirable characteristics that we believe
                               would provide additional guidance to responsible parties for


                           Page 39                                          GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
      developing and implementing national strategies. Those
      characteristics include incorporating accountability mechanisms, such
      as the clear identification of priorities, specific milestones, and
      outcome-related performance measures. 66 National strategies are
      intended to provide broad direction and guidance—rather than be
      prescriptive, detailed mandates—to the relevant implementing parties.
      Nonetheless, a more detailed strategy can facilitate implementation
      and help agencies achieve strategic goals.

•     The CMTS does not have a process for reporting the extent to which
      the Strategy’s recommended actions have been addressed. Such a
      process could enable more effective oversight and accountability.
      Although the CMTS created reports in 2009 and 2010, these reports
      describe its annual accomplishments and do not address all of the
      Strategy’s recommended actions. For example, the CMTS annual
      report for 2010 states that it summarizes “the high points and
      accomplishments achieved” by the CMTS. We have previously
      reported that including a process for reporting on progress could help
      agencies implement national strategies more effectively. 67 According
      to CMTS officials, with no budget and limited member resources, the
      Strategy’s recommended actions were prioritized resulting in a set of
      six top priority actions, with the work done on these priority actions
      reflected in the 2009 and 2010 annual reports. However, without a
      schedule for regular reporting on the extent to which all recommended
      actions included in the Strategy have been addressed, agency and
      congressional decision-makers lack key information needed to hold
      agencies accountable and enable effective oversight.

Finally, according to the CMTS, activities undertaken by the CMTS are
dependent on member agencies’ ability to dedicate resources and staff
support. CMTS officials told us that commitment of necessary staff time
and resources to CMTS activities is driven by CMTS member interest in
the work to be done and the availability of resources. Specifically, CMTS
members that participate in Integrated Action Teams or task teams
provide time and resources to carry out their responsibilities, which range
from full staff support to providing comments on documents. In addition,
MARAD, the Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric


66
  See GAO, Combating Terrorism: Evaluation of Selected Characteristics in National
Strategies Related to Terrorism, GAO-04-408T (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 3, 2004).
67
    GAO-04-408T.




Page 40                                                GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
              Administration dedicate one full time senior staff to the CMTS’s Executive
              Secretariat. Managing competing priorities and coordinating interagency
              actions are key challenges given the complex nature of the MTS and the
              variety of task forces, advisory groups, and other MTS stakeholders
              involved in supporting the MTS. However, these challenges also highlight
              the benefits and opportunities of ensuring that the Strategy remains up to
              date, reflects current conditions, and is focused on the areas of greatest
              need.


              Given aging MTS infrastructure, the uncertainty around the Panama
Conclusions   Canal expansion and its potentially significant impact on the MTS, and
              the renewed focus on ports and their importance to the U.S. economy,
              improving the effectiveness of federal MTS efforts is critical. There are a
              variety of efforts under way—recent and long standing—to help the wide
              range of MTS stakeholders coordinate to address system-wide
              prioritization of MTS investments. For example, efforts such as the
              recently announced White House Task Force on Ports directly address
              some of the challenges facing the nation’s MTS infrastructure. While the
              task force plans to build on some of the more recent steps taken to
              improve coordination of port-related responsibilities, it is too soon to know
              how the task force will proceed and the extent to which it will leverage
              more established long-standing efforts in this area. Moreover, the recent
              proliferation of efforts to address system-wide investment in the MTS runs
              the risk of being less effective unless properly coordinated.

              The recently passed MAP-21 will focus efforts on improving freight
              mobility and the surface infrastructure that supports it, but it also provides
              an opportunity to better coordinate MTS investments system-wide.
              Besides establishing a framework for a national freight policy, MAP-21
              requires DOT to develop a National Freight Strategic Plan in consultation
              with appropriate state DOTs and other appropriate private and public
              stakeholders. While the National Freight Strategic Plan requirements do
              not specifically mention consultation with the Corps and its plans to
              maintain and develop the nation’s navigable waterways, consideration of
              these waterside infrastructure investments is important to strategically
              investing in the MTS system-wide. Considering all MTS segments—
              navigable waterways, ports, and port connectors—and coordinating the
              prioritization of infrastructure investments between the Corps and DOT
              will help to ensure that limited resources are efficiently targeted and
              invested.




              Page 41                                          GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                      The CMTS, a long-standing interagency coordinating committee, is
                      tasked with addressing a wide array of MTS challenges. The committee
                      has made some progress facilitating information sharing, coordinating
                      member agencies and taking some actions to address a variety of MTS
                      issues. However, it is unclear if the committee’s actions have improved
                      the MTS. Given the breadth and complexity of the MTS challenges and
                      the numerous stakeholders and on-going efforts, an up-to-date Strategy
                      with mechanisms to measure progress and hold member agencies
                      accountable for these actions is critical. Interagency coordinating bodies
                      such as the CMTS face a variety of obstacles and gaining consensus on
                      priorities, measuring progress and holding member agencies accountable
                      can be challenging. However, without developing a sound Strategy that
                      considers the changing landscape of MTS efforts, the CMTS will not be
                      able to capitalize on its established coordinating body or to effectively
                      contribute to the growing number of federal efforts to support the nation’s
                      Marine Transportation System.


                      To help ensure coordination of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and
Recommendations for   Department of Transportation infrastructure investments in the Marine
Executive Action      Transportation System, we recommend that the Secretary of
                      Transportation take the following two actions:

                      1) Direct the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to
                      inform the development of the National Freight Strategic Plan with
                      information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ planned investments
                      in the nation’s navigable waterways.

                      2) As the Chair of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System,
                      ensure the review and update, as needed, of the National Strategy for the
                      Marine Transportation System. In ensuring the review and update of the
                      National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System, the Secretary
                      should:

                      •   establish accountability mechanisms—such as developing clear and
                          desired results, specific milestones, and outcome-related performance
                          measures—for the recommended actions of the National Strategy for
                          the Marine Transportation System, and
                      •   establish and implement a schedule for regular reporting of progress
                          made in addressing the recommended actions of the National
                          Strategy for the Marine Transportation System.




                      Page 42                                        GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                  We provided a draft of this report to the Corps and DOT for review and
Agency Comments   comment. DOT agreed to consider the report’s recommendations. The
                  Corps and DOT also provided technical comments, which we
                  incorporated as appropriate.


                  We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional
                  committees, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Transportation, and
                  the Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army
                  Corps of Engineers. In addition, this report is available at no charge on
                  the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

                  If you have any questions about this report, please contact me at (202)
                  512-2834 or stjamesl@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of
                  Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page
                  of this report. Key contributes to this report are listed in appendix IV.




                  Lorelei St. James
                  Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues




                  Page 43                                        GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
List of Addressees

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Peter J. Visclosky
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
United States Senate




Page 44                                  GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Methodology



Methodology

              The objectives of this report are to (1) identify programs the U.S. Army
              Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Department of Transportation (DOT)
              administer to maintain or improve the Marine Transportation System
              (MTS); (2) determine the key challenges to maintaining and improving the
              MTS; and (3) discuss opportunities that may exist for the federal
              government to improve the effectiveness of its role in the MTS.

              To identify programs the Corps and DOT administer to maintain or
              improve the MTS we reviewed and analyzed federal program
              documentation, including authorizing legislation, federal program
              guidance, and other federal program reports describing federal roles and
              responsibilities for MTS infrastructure. We reviewed legislation related to
              surface and MTS infrastructure programs and funding, including the Safe,
              Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for
              Users (SAFETEA-LU) 1 and the new surface transportation
              reauthorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act
              (MAP-21). 2 We interviewed officials from the Corps’ civil works navigation
              program at the headquarters, division, and district level to determine how
              the Corps maintains and improves navigation infrastructure on inland and
              coastal waterways. We also interviewed officials from DOT including
              officials from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal
              Railroad Administration (FRA), Maritime Administration (MARAD), and
              Office of the Secretary of Transportation to confirm the federal
              transportation programs and discuss how these programs are used to
              support ports and port connectors. In addition, we interviewed officials
              from the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center to determine data
              efforts to support the Corps’ navigation program, and we reviewed
              transportation statistics—including freight commodity and port statistics—
              from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. We also conducted
              interviews with a variety of industry associations including the American
              Association of Port Authorities, American Association of State Highway
              and Transportation Officials, American Trucking Association, the
              American Association of Railroads, and the Waterways Council, Inc., to
              obtain their perspectives on federal Corps and DOT programs.

              We obtained program budget data for programs that may be used to
              support MTS infrastructure by reviewing budget documentation, including


              1
               Pub. L. No. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144 (2005).
              2
               Pub. L. No. 112-141, §§ 115-118, 126 Stat. 405 (2012).




              Page 45                                                   GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




annual budget justifications, from the Corps and DOT. We used
navigation project obligations data provided by the Corps to determine
program obligations for the Investigations, Construction, and Operation
and Maintenance accounts. To determine obligations for DOT programs,
we developed a short data collection instrument to collect and analyze
financial obligations data. We administered the data collection instrument
to obtain data from a total of 16 DOT programs, including 11 FHWA
programs, 2 FRA programs, 2 MARAD programs and 1 Office of the
Secretary of Transportation program. We conducted one pretest with
FHWA to test the use of our instrument for grant and formula funding
programs. We also conducted one pretest with FRA to test the use of our
instrument for credit programs. Based on agency input, we revised the
data collection instrument and submitted it to the relevant agency for the
programs that we identified. We received a 100 percent response rate.
We used Corps navigation program data to determine the current backlog
for navigation construction and operations and maintenance projects, and
reviewed published DOT reports to identify the backlog of projects
affecting ports, including port connectors. In determining the reliability of
the financial data, we reviewed relevant documentation about the
agencies’ data collection and quality assurance processes, talked with
knowledgeable officials about these data, and compared these data
against other sources of published information to determine data
consistency and reasonableness. We determined that the data were
sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this report.

To determine key challenges to maintaining and improving the MTS, we
reviewed GAO work on surface transportation programs and issues
related to freight transportation. Our work is informed by prior GAO
reports on freight mobility, intermodalism, and marine transportation
finance. We also reviewed prior GAO reports assessing the Corps’
organization, budget formulation process, project delivery process, and
programs. To obtain current examples of challenges facing port
stakeholders at the state and local level, we conducted site visits to the
Port of New York and New Jersey, Port of New Orleans, Port of Portland,
Port of Savannah, the Port of South Louisiana, and the Port of Vancouver
(USA). We identified these ports using the following criteria:

•   ranking by total tonnage (domestic and foreign), 2010;
•   ranking by container traffic (domestic and foreign), 2010;
•   ranking by total value of foreign trade shipments, 2010;
•   existence of current or recently completed navigation, port, or port
    connector expansion projects; and
•   geographic diversity.


Page 46                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                                          Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
                                          Methodology




                                          For our final selection, we chose larger ports (both in tonnage and
                                          container traffic) in order to get representation from (1) both container and
                                          bulk ports, and (2) river and coastal ports. We also selected ports that
                                          had ongoing or completed expansion projects funded or financed by the
                                          federal government and for which the site visits would provide some
                                          geographic diversity in experiences. We also included the Port of
                                          Vancouver (USA), a small port based on tonnage and container traffic, to
                                          provide some context and comparison to larger ports. The results of these
                                          site visits are not generalizable, but do provide insights regarding state,
                                          local, and private-sector experiences maintaining and improving MTS
                                          infrastructure.

                                          During the site visits, we collected and reviewed relevant documentation
                                          on port operations, projects, and trade statistics. We also interviewed a
                                          range of MTS stakeholders during each site visit, including officials from
                                          the port, Corps division and district offices, state DOTs, and Metropolitan
                                          Planning Organizations (MPO). Table 3 below provides a table of
                                          stakeholders that we met with during each site visit.

Table 3: MTS Stakeholders with Whom GAO Met during Site Visits

Site visit location                            MTS stakeholders
Port of New York and New Jersey                •     Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
                                               •     Corps’ North Atlantic Division and New York District Office
                                               •     New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
                                               •     North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Port of New Orleans and                        •     Port of New Orleans
Port of South Louisiana                        •     Port of South Louisiana
                                               •     Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
                                               •     Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division and New Orleans District Office
                                               •     New Orleans Regional Planning Commission
Port of Portland and Port of Vancouver (USA)   •     Port of Portland
                                               •     Port of Vancouver (USA)
                                               •     Corps’ Northwestern Division and Portland District Office
                                               •     Pacific Northwest Waterways Association
                                               •     Tidewater Barge Lines
Port of Savannah                               •     Georgia Ports Authority
                                               •     Georgia Department of Transportation
                                               •     Corps’ South Atlantic Division and Savannah District Office
                                               •     Chatham County Metropolitan Planning Commission
                                          Source: GAO.




                                          Page 47                                                    GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




To identify and assess opportunities for the federal government to
improve the effectiveness of its role in the MTS, we reviewed
documentation from the Committee on the Marine Transportation System
(CMTS), including the CMTS Charter and the National Strategy for the
Marine Transportation System (Strategy). We interviewed staff from the
CMTS Executive Secretariat and observed a session of the Coordinating
Board to determine actions taken by the CMTS to implement the
Strategy, as well as any opportunities for improvement. During interviews
with Corps and DOT officials, and industry associations, we also asked
about their perspectives on the federal government role in maintaining
and improving the MTS. In assessing the implementation of the Strategy,
we reviewed prior GAO reports on enhancing and sustaining federal
agency collaborative efforts and evaluated progress in implementing the
Strategy.

We conducted our review from November 2011 to November 2012 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 48                                       GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
                                           Appendix II: DOT Programs We Reviewed That

Appendix II: DOT Programs We Reviewed      May Fund MTS Infrastructure



That May Fund MTS Infrastructure

                                           This appendix includes DOT programs at the time of our review that may
                                           fund MTS infrastructure and their obligations data for fiscal years 2009 to
                                           2011. The data reflect overall obligations for each program, and do not
                                           represent support for MTS infrastructure projects specifically. The list of
                                           programs is not exhaustive; thus, other DOT programs may exist that
                                           could fund MTS infrastructure projects.

Table 4: DOT Obligations for Programs We Reviewed That May Fund MTS Infrastructure

                                                                                             Total Program Obligations
Agency                       Program                                                  FY 2009                 FY 2010                FY 2011
Department of Transportation
Federal Highway              Freight Intermodal Distribution Pilot
                                                                                                  a                    a                       a
Administration               Grant Program                                        $ 6,655,000            $ 1,500,000            $ 13,688,000
                             National Corridor Infrastructure
                                                                                                  a                    a                       a
                             Improvement Program                                 275,658,000              83,782,000              77,043,000
                             Projects of National and Regional
                                                                                                  a                    a                       a
                             Significance                                        231,072,000            292,753,000             237,408,000
                             Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
                             Improvement Program                                1,252,177,262          1,245,927,532            1,346,991,087
                             Highway Safety Improvement Program                 1,592,099,302          1,481,157,556            1,688,660,663
                             Metropolitan Planning Funds                          229,705,770            230,727,013             232,596,851
                             National Highway System                            6,824,320,360          8,459,646,662            8,200,767,635
                             State Planning and Research                          681,605,402            731,939,243             765,019,201
                             Surface Transportation Program                     9,443,235,250          9,603,097,643            9,500,370,566
                             Surface Transportation Research,
                             Development, and Deployment                          128,928,721            115,089,182             149,093,533
Federal Railroad             Program for Capital Grants for Rail Line
                                                                                                  a                    a                       a
Administration               Relocation and Improvement Projects                      392,000              6,657,000              31,766,000
                                                                                                  a                    a                       a
Maritime Administration      America’s Marine Highway Program                                 0            7,060,000                       0
                             Port Infrastructure Development
                             Program                                                          0                       0                    0
Office of the Secretary of   Transportation Investment Generating
Transportation               Economic Recovery Program                                        0          421,772,616            1,551,564,686
                                           Source: GAO analysis of DOT data.
                                           a
                                            DOT officials provided total program obligations rounded to the nearest thousand.




                                           Page 49                                                        GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Appendix III: DOT Programs We Reviewed
                                          Appendix III: DOT Programs We Reviewed That
                                          May Finance MTS Infrastructure



That May Finance MTS Infrastructure

                                          This appendix includes DOT programs at the time of our review that may
                                          finance MTS infrastructure and their total direct loan obligations data, total
                                          principal amount of loan disbursements through September 30, 2012, and
                                          net lifetime subsidy re-estimate amount including interest. The data reflect
                                          overall amounts for each program and do not represent support for MTS
                                          infrastructure projects specifically. The list of programs is not exhaustive;
                                          thus, other DOT programs may exist that could finance MTS
                                          infrastructure projects

Table 5: DOT Obligations, Principal Amount and Net Lifetime Subsidy Reestimate for Programs We Reviewed That May
Finance MTS Infrastructure
                                                                                                                           a
                                                                                                    Cohort fiscal year
Agency                  Program                                                          FY 2009               FY 2010               FY 2011
Department of Transportation
Federal Highway         Transportation Infrastructure Finance and
Administration          Innovation Act
                        Total direct loan obligation                               $990,104,000        $2,157,638,000          $472,405,000
                        Total principal amount of loan disbursements
                        through 9/30/12                                             686,206,000           457,433,000                        0
                        Net lifetime subsidy re-estimate amount
                        (including interest)                                         -11,719,000                       0                     0
Federal Railroad        Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement
Administration          Financing
                        Total direct loan obligation                                103,500 ,000          172,000 ,000          566,136 ,000
                        Total principal amount of loan disbursements
                        through 9/30/12                                              98,147 ,000           46,392 ,000           65,279 ,000
                        Net lifetime subsidy re-estimate amount
                        (including interest)                                            -429 ,000           -2,092 ,000                2 ,000
                                          Source: GAO analysis of DOT data.
                                          a
                                           The cohort represents all direct loans or loan guarantees of a program for which a subsidy
                                          appropriation is provided for a given fiscal year, even when disbursements occur in subsequent fiscal
                                          years.




                                          Page 50                                                         GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Lorelei St. James, (202) 512-2834 or stjamesl@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, Sharon Silas (Assistant Director);
Staff             Jonathan Carver; William Colwell; Bradley Dubbs; Geoff Hamilton; Carol
Acknowledgments   Henn; Vondalee Hunt; Delwen Jones; Joshua Ormond; and Elizabeth
                  Wood made key contributions to this report.




(544172)
                  Page 51                                       GAO-13-80 Maritime Infrastructure
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