December 21, 2018

Washington Update


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FY'19 Federal Funding/Government Shutdown - the temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) which provides funding for a number of key federal agencies, including the US Department of Transportation, expires today.  Additional agencies affected include HUD, EPA, State, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, Justice, Commerce and Homeland Security.  Earlier this week, the Senate passed another CR extending funding through February 8, but President Trump indicated that he would not sign the bill because it did not include sufficient funding for the Mexican border wall.  As things stand right now, a partial government shutdown is possible as of midnight tonight.  Negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House are expected to continue throughout the day.  A shutdown of the affected federal departments will mean furloughing employees right before the Christmas holiday (except for those deemed essential).  However, the impact on agency activities, such as grant making, policy decisions, and regulatory actions, will be somewhat limited in the short-term since next week is typically a very quiet holiday week. 


Congress was expected to adjourn the 115th Congress today, but they may need to return next week to deal with the shutdown, if it occurs.  The new 116th Congress will be sworn-in on January 3. 


INFRA Grants - Today's Federal Register includes the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the very popular INFRA program.  The program provides federal grants to highway and freight projects of national or regional significance.  There is approximately $855M to $902M in FY'19 funding available for these grants - subject to passage of the FY'19 US DOT appropriations bill.  Applications are due by March 4, 2019.  Here is a link to the NOFO and a link to general information about the INFRA program.  The FY'19 INFRA competition focuses on the same four themes advanced in the first INFRA round with some clarifications:

  • Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional level;

  • Leveraging Federal funding to attract non-federal sources of infrastructure investment;

  • Deploying innovative technology, encouraging innovative approaches to project delivery, and incentivizing the use of innovative financing;

  • Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance.


TOD Grants- On December 18, FTA announced that it awarded a total of $16.6M to 20 organizations around the country to support comprehensive planning projects that improve access to public transportation. The FY'18 funds are made available through FTA's Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning, which assists communities that are developing new or expanded transit systems.  The TOD Planning program provides funding to project sponsors who will integrate land use and transportation planning efforts with eligible transit projects. The grants will fund comprehensive planning to support transit ridership, multimodal connectivity, and mixed-use development near transit stations.  Here is a link to the list of projects receiving grants, a link to a US DOT press release about the awards, and a link to background information about the program. 

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