Oct 03, 2013
On October 1, 2013 the government figuratively "shutdown" due to bipartisan disagreement in regards to the proposed budget. This inability of Congress to provide a federal budget has impacted millions of Americans in a myriad of federally funded industries. Is the transportation industry, a staple in the American economy, going to come to a halt because of this shutdown?
According to the Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, the trucking industry will not be directly affected. In a statement to Department of Transportation (DOT) employees, Foxx mentions that "some employees will be excepted [from the shutdown] because their work directly addresses emergency circumstances". He goes on to address that in addition to these "emergency circumstance" employees, there is another segment of employees whom are not "subject to furlough because their positions are not supported by annual appropriations". While the DOT employs 58,000 people within varied sectors of the transportation industry, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, agencies regarding trucking and safety programs are funded by the Highway Trust Fund and not the Federal budget.
With funding being provided in grants from the Highway Trust Fund, and state agencies, these safety programs that appear in the form of roadside trucking enforcement, weigh stations and inspection stations will not be affected by the shutdown. However, there are agencies that conduct business in tandem with the trucking industry that are impacted by the impasse that is seen in Washington, D.C. this week; most notably the Federal Railroad Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The effect that this halt in production has on the shipping and logistics firms of the country has yet to be seen due to the shutdown still being in its infancy.
Americans have numerous questions regarding the 2013 Government Shutdown. USA Today is a great reference and has provided access to a slew of questions and answers regarding the 2013 Shutdown. CNN also provides a list of agencies being affected by the shutdown and to what degree.