Kentucky Senator Could Halt Colorado Road Projects
Senator Bunning's Filibuster Holding Up Federal Fund For Road Work
Last Updated: 1180 days ago
Two thousand federal transportation workers are still on furlough without pay and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it. The furloughs and freeze on payments to some state highway programs were the result of a decision by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs. The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans. Bunning objected to the $10 billion measure, saying it would add to the budget deficit.7News wanted to know if Colorado has been affected by the federal money freeze.If we get into a week or two weeks it could become problematic for us, said Stacey Stegman CDOT spokeswoman.The Colorado Department of Transportation said most of the current road construction projects around the state, including all the federal stimulus projects have some federal money attached. The state said it can keep working on current construction for a short period of time thanks to the way it pays contracts.Colorado pays its projects with state funds and then gets reimbursed with the federal funding. So we can front the money for a period of time. If we start getting out there to two weeks and we dont have the ability to be reimbursed by federal funds our construction program will completely come to a halt, Stegman said.The Federal Department of Transportation issued a lengthy statement Monday detailing the numerous programs that would be temporarily sidelined as a result. Workers will be furloughed, federal reimbursements to states for highway programs -- which total about $190 million a day -- will be halted, and construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors will not be working.Furloughs will affect employees at the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Non-essential federal employees working in the Lakewood office are on furlough without pay until the standoff is over.Among the construction sites where work will be halted: the $36 million replacement of the Humpback Bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Virginia; $15 million in bridge construction and stream rehabilitation in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and the $8 million resurfacing of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.CDOT has to have all the cash in the bank, so we have all the state funds in the bank. We go and obligate a project and get under contract and then what happens is we front the money, we pay our contractors and then we bill the federal government and they reimburse us. So when theyre not reimbursing us for a period of time were OK, we can continue to pay our bills and front the money but at some point we need them to come back and pay the bill, Stegman said.7News talked to several construction workers who said they were stunned when they learned the possibility they could be out of a job next week. Stegman though is optimistic. Weve seen these standoffs before in Congress and we believe they will come to their senses and be able to come to a compromise and get this moving again.