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As Shutdown Stretches On, Transportation Officials Worry About Long-Term Effects

As Shutdown Stretches On, Transportation Officials Worry About Long-Term Effects

Local transit agencies are being hit harder than state highway departments. But the shutdown is only part of the problem for transportation funding.

Governing.com
BY DANIEL C. VOCK | JANUARY 14, 2019 AT 11:32 AM

SPEED READ:

  • The shutdown is impacting thousands of workers in transportation-related agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, as well as federal safety inspectors.
  • Generally, local transit agencies are being hit harder than state highway departments.
  • Even once the shutdown is resolved, transportation funding faces uncertainties in Congress that could delay construction projects.
  • One state, Oklahoma, has already announced it will delay bids on 45 projects worth about $137 million.

 So far, transportation agencies that rely heavily on federal funds have been spared from major consequences from the federal government shutdown. But the longer the impasse in Washington continues, industry officials warn, the harder it will be to keep state and local agencies running normally.

The three-week partial closure of the federal government became the longest in U.S. history over the weekend, and about a quarter of the federal workforce -- some 800,000 people -- are either working without pay or furloughed as a result.

Not all federal programs are affected the same way. Most of the employees with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, as well as safety inspectors, have been furloughed. But airport safety screeners who work for the Transportation Safety Administration must continue to work, even though they aren’t getting paid. Meanwhile, workers with the Federal Highway Administration aren’t affected... FULL ARTICLE

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