The lingering shutdown of certain portions of the federal government has little effect on employees at the two U.S. DOT agencies tasked with overseeing trucking and highway operations, according to a document from the U.S. DOT.
Though appropriations for the DOT have expired — and no new funding law has taken effect — no workers at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Federal Highway Administration have been furloughed, according to the U.S. DOT document.
That’s because those agencies are funded by other mechanisms aside from the basic annual appropriations, such as the Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by gas and diesel taxes. The document notes that “all [FMCSA] operations continue as normal during a lapse in annual appropriations,” and that the agency “has sufficient balances of liquidating cash to operate for a limited period during a lapse in annual appropriations.”
It’s unclear how long a “limited period” is, meaning the agency could be impacted by the shutdown should it continue. It’s currently in its twelfth day, with lawmakers in Congress and President Trump unable to reach a funding deal prior to the holiday recess.
The 2019-2020 Congress will be sworn in Thursday.
In sum, more than 20,000 DOT employees have been furloughed, with the bulk of them coming from the Federal Aviation Administration, who has furloughed nearly 18,000 employees. However, the FAA is by far the largest branch of the U.S. DOT. employing more than 27,000 workers.
The FHWA and FMCSA rank No. 2 and No. 3 on the list, with FHWA employing 2,862 staffers and FMCSA employing 1,156.