Della Hasselle / Mid-City Messenger
The future of mass transit projects slated for New Orleans are in a 'critical period' as the nation's Mass Transit Account, a federal fund states rely on for major projects, is slated to run out of money as soon as October 1, a top city transportation official told New Orleans Regional Transit Authority board members Tuesday.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, unless Congress takes action to reauthorize the fund, the Mass Transit Account will have an estimated balance of approximately $1.1 billion by the end of September, and could near insolvency by the end of December.
The Mass Transit Account is part of the Highway Trust Fund, which also funds the Highway Account. The potential future of The Highway Account is even more bleak, and is slated to become insolvent by the end of August, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In response, the Department of Transportation will implement a cash management plan beginning August 1 to manage the flow of federal dollars under the Highway Account. Under the plan, reimbursements to states for infrastructure work will be limited to the available cash in the Trust Fund, according to the DOT's website.
According to Anthony R. Foxx, the United States Secretary of Transportation, a similar plan may have to be implemented for infrastructure work happening to mass transit projects. That would potentially limit the number of bus and streetcar improvements that are able to continue in New Orleans.
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