Federal regulations promoting safety in transportation have existed for more than 100 years, but federal spending supporting research, standard setting, enforcement and capital programs are modern phenomena. Before the 1966 highway and motor carrier safety Acts, federal safety spending was less than $700, 000 a year, and largely confined to aviation and marine modes where there was federal responsibility for certain transport operations. Federal spending for safety programs is now around $3 billion a year, and predominantly for highway and motor vehicle programs. Around $200 million a year is spent on rulemaking and enforcement in each of road, air and water modes, with about one-tenth of that on rail safety. But federal responsibilities vis-avis state and private transport interests differ so that modal comparisons of spending will not reflect overall spending or relative priorities for safety issues amongst modes.