Because TEA-21 increased the importance of motor fuel data as an apportionment factor, the FHWA initiated a review of the entire motor fuel reporting system and attribution process in late 1998. Expert support was solicited from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA). In addition, State Departments of Revenue, State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and FHWA field offices provided technical expertise. Comments were also received during three public workshops held during late 1999 and early 2000. The General Accounting Office (GAO) also completed a study in June 2000 identifying concerns with HTF information.2


The review conducted by FHWA with assistance from AASHTO and FTA concluded that the existing motor fuel reporting and fundamental attribution processes were basically sound; however, some improvements were recommended. Better, more thorough, updated documentation was needed. The attribution methodology needed process improvements in reporting, treatment of motor fuel data, and process management. Improved instructions and advice to the States also could result in improved reporting.

Four specific recommendations resulted from the review:

  • Modify the current data reporting and attribution processes to reduce the likelihood of error;
  • Improve the information flow to the States about the attribution process and include the States in process improvements;
  • Develop a "smart system" for reporting and analysis processes and for calculation of apportionments; and
  • Provide training to State and FHWA personnel.

To address these recommendations, both short-term enhancements and long-term strategic actions have been proposed. These improvements are discussed in the section, "Implementation/Action Plan".


2 U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), Highway Funding: Problems with Highway Trust Fund Information Can Affect State Highway Funds, GAO/RCED/AIMD-00-148, June 2000.



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