September 30, 2013
Transit agency funding could be affected, but not highway funding, if
a congressional deadlock forces a partial shutdown of the federal
Both the Federal Transit Administration and the
Federal Highway Administration draw from the highway trust fund, which
expires a year from now. “So we have continued budget authority for
another year,” said Travis Brouwer, federal affairs adviser for the
Oregon Department of Transportation.
The trust fund is not dependent on annual appropriations from Congress. Since a six-year authorization expired in 2009, however, Congress has renewed the fund only for short periods; the latest two-year extension will expire one year from today.
Brouwer said, staffing for the Federal Transit Administration is
dependent on annual appropriations, so that agency cannot process grants
and the staff will be on unpaid furlough if there is a shutdown.
payments by the staff to local transit agencies could be delayed. Some
of those payments are funneled through ODOT’s Public Transit Division to
smaller agencies, although larger agencies such as the Salem-Keizer
Transit District receive their federal payments directly.
transit providers could feel the effects of a shutdown if it’s long,”
Brouwer said. “Smaller providers do not have the cash flow of larger
providers, so they may feel the pain first.”
As for the
Federal Highway Administration, whose Oregon headquarters are in Salem,
and federal money to the Oregon Department of Transportation, a shutdown
will have no immediate effect. The federal trust fund consists of
gasoline taxes and other receipts.