Come Friday, automatic federal budget cuts or not, city buses will be rolling as usual. That's because federal transit funding isn't subject to sequestration.
Federal transit funding comes from gasoline taxes, an area of the federal government excluded from the sequestration law that set Friday as the deadline for automatic cuts if Congress could not come up with a spending plan.
This week, Bristol Tennessee Transportation Planning Manager Rex Montgomery said Bristol's public transit should not be impacted by those automatic cuts.
"[The cuts] should not impact our federal transit money," Montgomery said. The public transportation system received $340,000 in federal funds for the current budget year.
The same is true for expansion projects at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The airport recently received a $10 million grant for a taxiway expansion from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Airport Director Patrick Wilson said all of the capital projects at the airport will still move forward because they are funded through a fuel tax that is paid by the airlines and private airplane owners. That also is not subject to budget cuts.
Daily operations at the airport are funded through parking fees, fees to the airlines and other methods.
"None of our operations is through federal grants," Wilson said.
He said the only possible impact from the budget cuts is air traffic controllers. There is the potential that some air traffic controllers could be furloughed to comply with the cuts.
But, Wilson said, local FAA representatives have not given him any formal plan.
"There is not a lot coming to the airport as far as specifics," Wilson said. "It's very general."
Road construction projects that are funded with federal gas tax money also are not subject to the budget cuts, according to a federal report on sequestration.
Copyright 2013 - Bristol Herald Courier, Va.