In anticipation of the US federal shutdown which occurred on October 1st, this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on September 27th outlined its shutdown plan, which includes furloughs for more than 18,000 of its approximately 55,000 employees.
The various agencies within USDOT have been impacted differently by the shutdown, depending on the extent to which their activities are funded through the federal government’s annual appropriations process, which lapsed this year and resulted in the current funding gap that caused the shutdown.
The shutdown’s impact on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been minimal. While the transportation appropriations bill is a part of the annual appropriations process, FHWA is funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, for which MAP-21 granted multi-year spending authority through the end Fiscal Year 2014 (September 30, 2014). In general, federal activities funded with multi-year appropriations of budget authority that did not expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2013 were not subject to the shutdown. As a result, all of FHWA’s operations continue as normal.
In contrast, staffing for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is dependant on the annual appropriations process, so almost all of the agency’s staff was furloughed as a result of the shutdown. Consequently, much of FTA’s normal activities were suspended, including the obligation of grants, the reimbursement to grantees for ongoing operations and construction projects, and the carrying out of environmental, legal, civil rights, and other reviews essential for advancing projects to the point of a funding obligation.
As to TIFIA, we understand that that Joint Program Office is working during the shutdown but that USDOT is not granting PABs allocations because of staff furloughs.
Click on the following link to view the UDSOT’s shutdown plan which describes the operations of all its agencies during the shutdown: http://www.dot.gov/sites/dot.dev/files/docs/DOT%202014%20Plan%20for%20Approp%20Lapse.pdf. And for a detailed explanation of the causes, processes, and effects of the federal shutdown visit: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34680.pdf.
Nossaman’s 30-plus infrastructure attorneys offer clients, colleagues, strategic partners and industry media a wealth of practical experience, insider insight and thoughtful analysis here on Infra Insight. We blog about what we know best, from industry-leading procurements to local and national policy developments that affect the market and our clients.