Shutdown update: FTA has processed more than $700 million in payment reimbursement requests

Feb. 4, 2019
More than $500 million of the reimbursements requested were processed on the first day back from the shutdown.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) sent more than $700 million in reimbursement payment requests to the U.S. Department of Treasury during the first week the federal government reopened following a partial shutdown. 

Dave Longo, deputy associate administrator, FTA Office of Communications & Congressional Affairs said in an email, "FTA processed more than 1,400 grantee payment requests through its [Electronic Clearing House Operation (ECHO)] financial system totaling $531 million, on the first day the government reopened for business. FTA staff worked extraordinarily fast to submit those funding requests for payment to the U.S. Department of Treasury in order to get our transit agency partners paid the very same week. An additional $200 million in reimbursement payment requests have been received by FTA since the government reopened, which have also been processed and sent to Treasury for payment. Transit agencies should have received payment on the initial $531 million by now."

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas and Chair David M. Stackrow, Sr., sent a letter to Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Jan. 29 urging attention to five priority items. Process all pending requests for reimbursement for public transportation agencies was the first item listed in APTA's letter. 

In a "Legislative Update" sent to APTA members Feb. 1, Skoutelas said, "Expediting these critical grant payments is a welcome relief to many public transit agencies across the country. On behalf of all our members, APTA thanks FTA and applauds Acting Administrator Williams for making this issue a priority." 

The partial shutdown ended Jan. 25 with a temporary funding agreement keeps the federal government open through Feb. 15. Keeping the government open is dependent on negotiations involving the country's southern border. To prepare against a further government shutdown, APTA tolds its member that FTA is urging all electronic grant payment requests for all previously approved grants be submitted through ECHO by Feb. 11. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.