By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA
President Donald Trump and Congress Jan. 25 agreed to temporarily re-open parts of the government that have been closed since Dec. 22. The stopgap measure–passed by both chambers and signed by Trump–allows federal workers who have been furloughed to return to work and receive their back pay, including some U.S. Department of Transportation employees.
The three-week deal keeps the government open until Feb. 15. Trump and congressional leaders will continue negotiating his request for additional funding for a wall along the U.S. southern border.
Despite the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) remaining open and continuing to process reimbursements for completed highway construction work, some states have cited uncertainty caused by the shutdown as the reason to slow or halt planned projects. In response, FHWA Jan. 7 issued states their full FY 2019 spending authority they require to continue letting projects with a federal cost share. The additional spending flexibility combined with the short-term spending deal announced by Trump should temporarily ease some of those concerns.
ARTBA will keep members updated on all developments on FY 2019 federal spending and any impact on future federal transportation investment.