Government shutdown suspends certain DOT activities

| October 1, 2013

U.S. CapitolThe federal government shut down at 12:01 a.m., and today 18,481 U.S. Department of Transportation employees aren’t at work because of the shutdown.

Obviously, the furloughs are affecting federally-funded programs, with many operations shutting down until the government is back to business as usual.

Here’s a breakdown of how the shutdown is impacting DOT activities:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is suspending development of new air traffic control specialists not certified to work a position; aviation rulemaking; facility security inspections, evaluations, audits and inspections; routine personnel security background investigations; development, operational testing and evaluation of NextGen technologies; development of NextGen safety standards; air traffic performance analysis; capital planning for FAA facilities and equipment; investment planning and financial analysis; dispute resolution; audit and evaluation; financial operations, controls, reporting and accountability; most budgeting functions; employee drug testing program; law enforcement assistance support; most administrative support functions not required for support of life and safety positions; and Congressional liaison services.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is suspending vehicle safety activities; defects investigations and reviews of possible defects; National Driver Register (NDR) program operations; and reviews of routine defects and recall information.

NHTSA activities that will be delayed include important rulemakings, new car assessment testing and related star ratings to customers; compliance testing of vehicles and equipment; vehicle safety research on important subjects; and distribution of fiscal year 2014 Highway Safety Grant funds.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is suspending unfunded core agency functions such as grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase order, travel authorizations and documents obligating funds; reimbursements to transit agencies for ongoing operations and construction projects; grant fund obligations for projects; environmental, legal, civil rights and other reviews of projects under development; grant payments using FTA’s Financial Management Systems or vendor payments to contractors using the DELPHI accounting systems regardless of of the fiscal year cited; and obligations or outlaying of funds for research and technical assistance activities.

The FTA’s program oversight activities will continue, but only with funds provided by prior year appropriations.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is  suspending all activities assigned to the Office of Railroad Policy and Development (RPD), including the high-speed rail initiative; all grant and financial assistance activities, including technical assistance to grantees and partners, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) and grant obligations and payments to states; and all activities related to the intake, processing and evaluation of grant applications previously submitted to the administration.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is suspending strategic planning and program evaluation; public affairs; civil rights; legal services and representation; regulatory analysis and planning; Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act processing; budget and financial planning operations not related to protection of life and property; acquisition services; human resources not related to executing the orderly shutdown; information resources management; administrative services; and emergency response planning and drills; .

The following PHMSA pipeline activities are suspended: program development; standards and rulemaking; engineering and research; state programs, including grants; enforcement policy, procedures and guidance; and training and qualifications.

The PHMSA is suspending the following hazardous materials activities: program development; standards and rulemaking; engineering and research; non-emergency approvals and permits; outreach, training and grants; special investigations; and training and qualifications.

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is suspending all activities funded from the Research and Development (R&D) General Fund, including RD&T Coordination, Alternative Fuels, Positioning, Navigations and Timing and the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is suspending administrative support functions that are not related to life and safety support or associated with certain no-year and reimbursable programs; program support for Environment and Compliance (MAR-400), Intermodal System Development (MAR-500) and Business and Finance Development (MAR-700); and all USMMA operations other than midshipman life and safety support.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is suspending receipt of filings and pleadings; case processing; precedural schedules and decisional activities; oral arguments and voting conferences; data collection and analysis; tariff filings; recordation filings and access by public; site visits, meetings with local/state government parties and public hearings; litigation and court appearances; consumer hotline and responses to public inquiries; Congressional support and responses to Congressional inquiries; and all administrative support activities.

The Office of the Secretary (OST) is suspending support activities from staff offices that are not associated with excepted continuing activities.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is suspending audits; investigations; legal, legislative and external affairs; and administrative functions.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) are continuing all operations and activities.

For more details about the DOT’s plans for operations during the shutdown, click here.

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