Government Shutdown Stalls Highway and Transit Projects

States got only a quarter of the $44B in federal dollars expected for highway projects and $11B for transit programs at the outset of the fiscal year

Washington Post
Road Construction Flagging

Federal money for highway projects normally becomes available when the fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. But the government was running on a continuing resolution, rather than a normal appropriation, and that ran out Dec. 21, ending the flow of highway money to state governments.

That means that only a quarter of the $44 billion for highway projects and $11 billion in federal transit programs was paid at the outset of the fiscal year.

Working under a continuing resolution also stagnates federal funding at 2018 levels, creating an additional shortfall, because Congress had added money for roads and transit for 2019. That, added to the uncertainty of a government shutdown, means state and local governments will prioritize maintenance and operations while waiting for Washington to reopen the spigot.

Oklahoma this week postponed accepting bids on about $137 million in federally funded projects to see how the shutdown plays out.

(more on the shutdown’s impact on construction . . . )