The federal government shutdown has delayed federal and state funding distributions for the Alamance County Transportation Authority placing future services in jeopardy.
ACTA Executive Director Dennis Williams said Tuesday that the agency doesn't have access to $813,680 budgeted for fiscal 2013-14 due to delays in processing of funds. ACTA's total budget for the current fiscal year is $1,908,409 which includes $318,010 for capital expenditures.
Williams received a letter Tuesday from N.C. Deputy Secretary for Transit Richard Walls that highlighted the impacts of the federal government shutdown on transportation services funding across the state.
"Due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, all NCDOT — Public Transportation Division federally funded programs have ceased operations," the letter stated. "The N.C. Public Transit Division has furloughed 22 federally funded positions. Until further notice, the Public Transit Division will be operating with only two full-time positions. Unfortunately, programmatic and federal financial assistance cannot be provided until further notice."
ACTA Finance Director David Cummings said that ACTA would be able to continue to provide public transportation services for 60 days despite the delay in funding. Cummings said while ACTA would still be able to operate most of the agency's bills would remain unpaid as long as the shutdown continues.
If the shutdown isn't ended soon, Williams said ACTA's financial situation would deteriorate. The shutdown has also delayed the distribution of state funds to ACTA since those who have been furloughed in the Public Transit Division are employees who process the state funds ACTA relies on including Rural Operating Assistance Program funds.
ACTA still hasn't received $346,000 in Community Transportation Program grant funds which are used to cover the agency's annual administrative costs. With the shutdown, Cummings said ACTA will not likely receive these funds until November.
CTP grant funds are paid 60 percent by the state, 25 percent by the federal government and 15 percent by ACTA's general operation fund. Williams said a contract delay in Raleigh combined with the shutdown has further delayed ACTA's ability to receive these funds.
Williams said if services have to be cut, ACTA would likely first cut general trips for the elderly and disabled, but he hopes the shutdown will end soon so services would remain the same.
Williams has notified County Manager Craig Honeycutt, Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall and the ACTA Board of Directors about the delay in funding due to the shutdown.
"It's going to get critical real fast," Williams said.
ACTA currently provides about 340 one-way trips per day. Since 2002, ACTA has provided transportation for the elderly, disabled, and general public in the county using vans and buses that are accessible by those with disabilities.
Copyright 2013 - Times-News, Burlington, N.C.