NDOT says funding OK despite government shutdown | NevadaAppeal.com

NDOT says funding OK despite government shutdown

Nevada Department of Transportation officials say for the time being, they’ll be able to continue normal operations during the government shutdown.

NDOT receives some $380 million in federal funding a year, about half of its total funding, from federal fuel taxes.

“During the current federal government shutdown, the (Federal Highway Administration) continues normal operations due to special contract authority funding,” according to NDOT officials. “Prior to the shutdown, NDOT received federal authority for the first quarter of the federal fiscal year, providing short-term FHWA funding for new project obligations.”

“In other words, we received commitment and approval of federal reimbursement for the federal portion of this quarter’s road projects,” according to a staff analysis.

NDOT officials say they have a strong balance in the highway fund that will allow continued funding of road projects that are already obligated, but only for the short-term.

“Longer-term federal funding lapses or insecurity could threaten many Nevada road projects with either having to be delayed or canceled,” according to NDOT administration. “To not receive the nearly half of Nevada transportation funding which comes from federal funds could be devastating to our ability to provide for Nevada transportation needs, including the rehabilitation of rural roads.”

A small portion of that federal funding, however, is already being impacted by the shutdown. About $7 million a year comes from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and NDOT says that money is delayed because most FTA staff are furloughed during the shutdown. Those funds support vital transportation services for seniors and others in rural areas. Until the political battle is resolved, NDOT has committed to providing ongoing state funding for rural transit services.

“Nevada road projects and improvements like these not only help everyone on Nevada roads get safely to where they need to go they also support jobs and our overall economic vitality,” a spokesman said. “At this time, we intend to continue to advance our federal projects but the award of future federal contracts may be delayed due to federal inaction on the necessary project approvals in the federal financial management system.”

If that happens, NDOT officials say they’ve developed contingency plans to delay or eliminate some future projects.