(CNSNews.com) – Approximately 5.2 percent of funds obligated to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) during fiscal years 2009-2011 actually went to the construction of new highways.
An additional two and a half percent of that funding went to new construction of bridges, according to a Jan. 16 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled “Highway Trust Fund Obligations, Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011.”
Between FY 2009-2011, the Department of Transportation [DOT] authorized $144 billion from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to four separate administrations within the Department. Of that $144 billion, $116.7 billion went to the FHWA.
FHWA then devoted 81 percent ($94 billion) of the funding it received towards “construction and maintenance purposes.” Of the total $116.7 billion to the FHWA, $6.094 billion (5.2 percent) was spent on the construction of new highways and $2.963 billion (2.5 percent) on new bridges.
The remaining 19 percent of FHWA funds were devoted to “Transportation Enhancements” and “Other” costs that included but were not limited to: “planning,” “Rail/Highway crossing,” and making carpool (HOV) lanes operational.
The Transportation Enhancements category contains costs separate from construction and maintenance.
For example, FHWA spent $1.951 billion on “facilities for pedestrians and bicycles” as well as an additional $9 million on “preservation of abandoned railway corridors.” “Transportation Enhancements” also included $98 million for “safety and education for pedestrians and bicyclists.”