- A government shutdown this weekend largely would not affect federal trucking regulators. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other transportation agencies would continue operations because a possible funding gap wouldn’t immediately disrupt those agencies, according to an August Department of Transportation report.
- Limited actions under the Department of Transportation would be disrupted in the event of a shutdown. For example, only dire permits for hazardous materials transportation providers would be processed, whereas whereas regular permits under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration would be put on hold, according to the report.
- The shutdown could threaten the broader transportation ecosystem however — certain federal workers such as air traffic controllers and train inspectors would not get paid, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a Wednesday news conference. Congress needs to meet an Oct. 1 deadline to keep the government funded.
FMCSA and the Federal Highway Administration have sufficient cash or funding sources beyond annual appropriations and would not be forced to furlough workers, according to the department.
The Highway Trust Fund, largely supported by gas taxes, is FMCSA’s primary funding source, which means truck inspections and investigations conducted by the agency would continue.
Additionally, even if the department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration must scale back permits and approvals, many hazardous materials transporters may be unaffected, because hazardous materials registrations with the agency can last for years.
The longest federal government shutdown, which began in December 2018, lasted 35 days.
A government shutdown could have some impacts on the broader trucking market. Government spending represents about 7% of the country’s GDP, and reductions to this could impact personal consumption, according to a September report from the Congressional Research Service.
Marc Boyle, co-president of Massachusetts-based Boyle Transportation, told Trucking Dive the federal budget situation is “unfortunate,” but said the disruption wouldn’t directly affect his business.