The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) who administers the national pipeline safety program uses two means to assess a state agency's overall performance - an annual program evaluation, and a review of information attached by the state agency to its annual certification or agreement. A state agency's performance is the major factor considered in allocating grant-in-aid funds each year.

The annual program evaluation is used primarily to determine performance (e.g., operating practices, quality of state agency inspections, investigations, compliance actions and adequacy of recordkeeping).

The evaluation includes an examination of state agency policies, plans, procedures, and records of the previous calendar year as well as the observation of the field inspection of both a Hazardous Liquid and Natural Gas pipeline operator.