SIC 9621

This group covers government establishments primarily engaged in regulation, licensing, planning, inspection, and investigation of transportation services and facilities. Motor vehicle and operator licensing is classified here. Establishments of the Coast Guard that perform functions related to the regulation, administration, and operation of transportation are likewise included. Also included in this industry are civilian government air traffic control and aircraft inspection establishments. Parking authorities are classified here, but the operators of lots and garages are classified in SIC 7521: Automobile Parking. Operators of railroads, subways, depots, ports, toll roads and bridges, and other transportation facilities are classified in the Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services division. Highway construction and maintenance are classified in SIC 1611: Highway and Street Construction, Except Elevated Highways. Military establishments primarily engaged in air traffic control operations are classified in SIC 9711: National Security and private establishments engaged in air traffic control operations are classified in SIC 4581: Airports, Flying Fields, and Airport Terminal Services.

NAICS Code(s)

488110 (Air Traffic Control)

926120 (Regulation and Administration of Transportation Programs)

The regulation and administration of transportation programs includes numerous offices and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. These offices build roadways, railways, canals, and other transportation routes; manage vehicle licensing and safety programs; collect data; inspect vehicles and equipment; regulate traffic; and enforce and propose laws. In 2002, the federal government budgeted $60.2 billion for transportation. The Department of Transportation has more than 60,000 employees throughout the world.

DOT. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was the main transportation arm of the U.S. government. Formed in April of 1967, this massive bureaucracy encompassed several major government functions and wielded significant influence over state governments that relied on its transportation funds. The DOT was comprised of eight administrations, the Surface Transportation Board, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., and the Office of the Secretary. The DOT was charged with establishing the nation's overall transportation policy, and was organized into major task groups that oversaw railroads; aviation; safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines; highway planning, development, and construction; and urban mass transit.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), under the auspices of the DOT, was established in 1958 to regulate air commerce, control the use of navigable U.S. airspace, promote and encourage civil aeronautics, maintain navigation facilities, develop and operate an air traffic control system, conduct research, and regulate the environmental effects of aviation, such as noise. The FAA has offices throughout the world. The FAA's budget for 2002 was $13.5 billion.

In 1967, the giant Federal Highway Administration (FHA) administered a number of transportation programs related to the total operation and environment of highway systems and motor carriers. For example, the FHA tried to create uniform state trucking standards and implement trucking safety programs. The 2002 budget for the FHA was $34.3 billion.

The FHA's notable Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP), established in 1968 as the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, promoted mass transportation initiatives. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) helped to develop technology and plans for new systems and carriers, encouraged the planning and creation of urban transit systems, provided financial assistance and consultation to state and local governments, and strove to implement national goals related to people who were elderly, handicapped, or economically disadvantaged. It operated largely through grant programs that disbursed federal dollars. The goal of the FTA is to provide public transit to all Americans. More than 10 million people utilize some form of public transit each working day. The budget for the FTA was set at $9.8 billion for 2002.

The Federal Railroad Administration, formed in 1966, enforced rail safety, administered railway financial assistance programs, and generally supported rail transportation activities. Its eight regional offices conducted a variety of safety, freight, research, and policy programs related to railroads. In the 2002 budget, the Federal Railroad Administration received $1 billion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports numerous federal and state governmental entities served to fulfill American transportation-related needs. The 2002 budget for the NHTSA was set at $422 million.

The Federal Maritime Commission regulated waterborne foreign and domestic offshore commerce to assure that international trade was open to all nations. It also discouraged unauthorized activities and enforced equitable carrier rates.

The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was established in 1979, and operated, maintained, and improved the Panama Canal in an effort to ensure safe, efficient, and economical transit service for the benefit of global commerce. It ceded its duties to the Republic in 2000.

U.S. Coast Guard. When President George W. Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law on November 25, 2002, the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard were moved from the DOT to the newly formed U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard, which becomes part of the Department of the Navy during wartime, enforces maritime laws; sets standards for and inspects commercial vessels; investigates marine accidents and misconduct, including pollution; and enforces port safety. According to the DOT, the Coast Guard's mission is to "protect the public, U.S. economic interests and the environment—at sea, along the nation's coasts, in U.S. ports and waterways, and internationally." The Coast Guard also ran boating safety programs, operated icebreaking vessels, and trained military reserves. One of its chief responsibilities was maintaining a navigation system, which included long-range satellite radio-navigation aids positioned around the globe. Similar to but separate from the Coast Guard was the Maritime Administration, established in 1950, which helped to develop and promote the U.S. merchant marine.

Current Conditions

Overall expenditures for transportation have increased in recent years, as the nation has sought to revitalize and maintain its aging highways and roads. Federal spending on all transportation-related programs totaled $31 billion in 1991. However, the DOT's 2003 budget request totaled $53.7 billion, and it was marked at $54.2 billion for 2004.

In June of 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century became Public Law 105-178. It authorized the federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the six-year period from 1998 to 2003. Some of the department's stated goals were to increase seat belt use to 86 percent (from 70 percent in 1998); to reduce the percent of alcohol-related highway fatalities from 38 percent in 1998 to 34 percent; to increase Amtrak ridership from 21 million to 25 million; to decrease mobile source emissions from on-road vehicles; and to decrease the number of U.S. residents exposed to significant aircraft noise levels.

The NHTSA published its 2001 statistics in 2003, showing a slight nationwide increase (0.4 percent) in traffic fatalities (42,116) from the previous year. The number of fatalities rose in 30 states. While some states only saw levels rise by 1 percent, others experienced spikes as high as 22 percent. Sadly, an average of 115 people died in motor vehicle accidents each day in 2001. This amounted to one person every 12 minutes. Some 41 percent of all fatalities involved alcohol use, an improvement from 1991 when this number was 49 percent. Those aged 16 to 20 had the most fatalities. At 66 percent, fatalities were higher for drivers than for passengers, and male fatalities outnumbered female fatalities.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia had seat belt laws in effect in 2003. According to NHTSA data, more than 147,000 lives were saved by seat belts between 1975 and 2001. Of these, more than 12,000 people were saved in 2001 alone. However, the NHTSA estimates that this number could have been greater than 21,300 if all passengers (over the age of four) had been wearing seat belts. Motor vehicle accidents remained the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 4 and 33. While these statistics are sobering, positive strides have been made in recent years, thanks in part to higher national seat belt use (73 percent in 2001). Given the significant loss of human lives, as well as significant economic costs ($230.6 billion in 2001), the effort to reduce automobile accidents and improve transportation will continue to be an important issue into the foreseeable future.

Further Reading

U.S. Department of Transportation. DOT Organizations, 2 June 2003. Available from .

——. Fiscal Year 2004 Budget in Brief, 2003. Available from .

U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Alcohol Involvement in Fatal Crashes 2001, April 2003. Available from .

——. Traffic Safety Facts 2001, April 2003. Available from .

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