The news has been going wild with reports of the government shutdown, which began in December. Many people have been affected by the partial shutdown, and it still seems unclear how long the shutdown will last. The DOT, like many government agencies, has been affected by the partial shutdown, although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration have not been greatly impacted. We’ll explain how the government shutdown has affected the DOT, the FMCSA, and the FHWA.
How has the government shutdown affected the DOT?
The DOT is the government department that oversees transportation. Its goal is to make sure that the US has a safe, efficient transportation system that improves the quality of life for those living in the US.
As we mentioned above, the government shutdown has reached the DOT. Appropriations for the DOT have expired, and no new funding law has taken effect so far.
How has the government shutdown affected the FMCSA and FHWA?
The FMCSA is the government body that oversees the trucking industry in the United States. It enforces regulations on the trucking industry and works to improve and emphasize safety. Needless to say, it’s a big part of the trucking industry. The FHWA is the agency charged with overseeing the construction, upkeep, and maintenance of highways in the country. Of course, the condition of the nation’s highways is of special concern to truck drivers, who use them as a part of their livelihood.
So far, neither of these two DOT agencies has been hugely affected by the partial government shutdown. No employees of the FMCSA or the FHWA have been furloughed and operations continue as usual.
The FMCSA is funded by means other than basic annual appropriations, allowing them to stay afloat during the shutdown. For example, the FMCSA is funded by the Highway Trust Fund, which fuel and diesel taxes support. The FHWA is funded by the Highway Trust Fund, although certain people working on specific projects can be paid out of multi-year appropriations.
What this means is that the FMCSA has enough funds to function normally even when annual appropriations lapse, like during a government shutdown. However, these funds are only enough to support the agency for a limited time. What is not clear is how long that “limited time” is.
If the government shutdown continues, the FMCSA could be affected.
To conclude, though the DOT as a whole has found itself impacted by the government shutdown, the FMCSA and FHWA have not been affected and have not had to furlough employees. As of now, it’s business as usual for these two DOT agencies that play such a big role in the trucking industry.
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