The Government Accountability Office has reported to Congress on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s significantly increased funding request for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.
In 2009, Congress asked the GAO to monitor CSA progress over concerns about the agency’s ability to implement the program, the agency said.
Much of FMCSA’s early CSA obligations were covered by budgetary resources and it developed CSA mostly with contractors and a small number of staffers. CSA obligations were $2.3 million in fiscal year 2007 and $6.6 million for fiscal 2008. Agency-wide software modernization costs hiked that to $11.8 million for fiscal 2009 and $9.5 million fiscal 2010. It requested $14.3 million for 2011.
The agency wants $78 million for CSA in fiscal 2012, much of that for 696 positions, 98 of which are new jobs to fully implement CSA. Once CSA is in place in every state, the agency expects to increase its interventions and enforcement.
The agency seeks new authority to regulate drivers through the next surface transportation reauthorization bill, and if it gains this authority, it plans to make driver safety data public. FMCSA officials indicated they will finish developing the driver safety measurement system after completing the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking and passage of the pending surface transportation reauthorization.
The agency has said it will not be able to use the Safety Measurement System, a computer algorithm that uses safety data to measure carrier performance and individual driver scoring, until the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking is completed. That rule is expected next year.
Until then, FMCSA will base carrier safety fitness determinations on the outcomes of comprehensive on-site reviews only.