I just got word from a source on the Hill (yes, I have sources) that Jim Bunning’s obstructionism has blocked the release of Highway Trust Fund money for the next 30 days, consequently, the Department of Transportation will have to basically shut down and its employees furloughed.
This is all just breaking now. Stand by for updates.
Adding… This on top of Bunning blocking the extension of unemployment benefits. What the hell is going on? And why aren’t the Democrats screaming about this?
UPDATE: I’ve posted after the jump a rundown of the immediate repercussions of Bunning’s obstruction of the transportation funding. For starters, 4,000 federal employees will be furloughed.
Funding No reimbursements to States for previously-committed Federal highway funds. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will not be able to approve any expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund beginning on Monday, March 1. This will prohibit FHWA from reimbursing States for any previously-committed Federal highway funds. No ability to commit additional Federal highway funds. Due to both a statutory prohibition and the furlough of its employees (described below), beginning on Monday, March 1, FHWA will be unable to approve States’ commitment of any Federal highway funds. No ability to commit additional Federal transit funds. FTA will be unable to approve any new transit grants from all transit programs that are funded out of the Highway Trust Fund. This will prohibit States, transit agencies and MPOs from receiving funds from any of the following programs: Bus and Bus Facilities, Urban and Rural Formula, Metropolitan and Statewide Planning, Fixed Guideway Modernization, Formula Grants for Elderly and Disabled, Job Access and Reverse Commute, New Freedom and Transit in the Parks.Furloughs Shutdown of Agencies and furloughs of over 4,000 Federal employees. The entire FHWA, the entire Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), some portions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and some portions of the Research and Innovation Transportation Administration (RITA), will cease operations and furlough their employees (totaling over 4,000 employees) beginning on Tuesday, March 2.ARRA ARRA “Recovery Act” Impact: Due to the furlough of FHWA employees, any remaining obligation of funds by States may not be processed. This could cause States to lose some unspent ARRA funds.Highway Safety No new MCSAP or new entrant grants. The shutdown of the FMCSA will prevent the agency from entering into new obligations for its 11 grant programs and funding vouchers for work performed during the duration of the lapsed authority. In particular, two highly visible programs, the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grants and the New Entrant grants, would be greatly affected. The MCSAP program provides funding to States to reduce the number and severity of crashes and hazardous materials incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. The New Entrant program provides funds to States to prevent unsafe motor carrier companies from entering the industry. All of NHTSA’s State highway safety grant programs would shut down. In addition to the furlough of its personnel, NHTSA would have to shut down operations of Highway Safety Research and Development; National Driver Register (NDR); and Highway Safety Grants, and would have to stop paying all bills for the programs under these accounts.