ABSTRACT

Fast Act Expires; the Department of Transportation Initiates Shutdown Procedures [October 1, 2021]   [open pdf - 604KB]

From the Document: "At midnight on September 30, 2021, the law authorizing federal surface transportation programs, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. [Public Law] 114-94), as extended, expired. The House is considering the Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), which would reauthorize surface transportation programs. In the absence of new authority to expend from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun to shut down the programs and activities supported by the HTF and furlough staff. The Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA; 31 U.S.C. [United States Code] §1341 [hyperlink]) prohibits agencies from incurring obligations that are in advance of appropriations except in certain circumstances. This means that transportation programs and activities supported by money from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury must be appropriated. In contrast, HTF funding is a form of budget authority, known as contract authority, which by law may be obligated prior to an appropriation and is effectively an exception under the ADA. However, the authority to make new obligations from the HTF must be authorized, and that authorization expired September 30, 2021. The highway taxes that support the HTF have not expired, and their revenues will continue to be deposited into the HTF. Under current authority, the motor fuel and tire taxes expire at the end of September 30, 2022, and the heavy vehicle use tax expires at the end of September 30, 2023. According to DOT's September 28, 2021, shutdown plan [hyperlink], all HTF-funded personnel not needed to fulfill excepted activities under the ADA (such as life, safety, and the protection of property), or funded with appropriations, would be furloughed. Approximately 3,700 employees in the four DOT surface transportation agencies discussed below would be affected."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN11768
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2021-10-01
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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