What does the shutdown mean for federal transit and highway funds?

Region’s transit projects face uncertainty

The federal government shutdown is adding a new challenge as the region works to meet growing demand for transit.

Since the partial government shutdown on December 22, the Federal Transit Administration has furloughed most of its employees.  The FTA has suspended grant funding and reimbursements to transit agencies for ongoing operations and construction projects.

Transit projects currently underway are moving forward with the expectation that federal reimbursement payments will come once the shutdown ends. 

However, with each day the shutdown continues, there is potential that final project delivery will be delayed.  

Another major regional funding partner, the Federal Highway Administration, is still open. FHWA is funded via the Highway Trust Fund. 

Statewide, the Washington State Department of Transportation uses FTA grant funding to support rural and special-needs transportation projects.

Many of these grantees are nonprofit transportation providers who operate without reserve funds and would have to suspend or cancel service if they could not access their grant funding.

WSDOT is continuing to provide reimbursement for these transit grants and estimates it has the financial capacity to do so for at least six months.

Funding for the Mukilteo and Seattle multimodal ferry terminal projects  is also provided by FTA. Delivery of these projects could be impacted in as little as six months if the shutdown continues.

Funding for all kinds of transportation projects in the region (roads, transit, trails, rail, ferry) comes from the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration.

PSRC receives funding from both the FTA and FHWA that is directed to priority transportation projects in the region.