Photo by Mark R. Long

With the monthlong federal government shutdown showing no signs of stopping any time soon, a spokesman for TARC says that the lack of federal funds is causing a budget crunch for Louisville’s public transportation system, which could run out of funds in the coming months.

A TARC spokesman, Jeremy Priddy, told Insider Louisville that the shutdown is having “a very real impact” on the agency because they are unable to receive federal funds. With 95 percent of Federal Transit Administration employees furloughed during the shutdown, Priddy added that “our ability to fund current and planned projects is on hold.”

Over 19 percent of TARC’s budget for the current fiscal year comes from the federal government, totaling $17,174,152 and an average of roughly $1.4 million per month. As of this week, TARC has lost out on $480,000 in federal payments, which has been covered with funds from its own budget to fill that gap.

However, Priddy added that TARC does not have enough money in its budget to continue filling in those gaps through the end of this fiscal year ending June 30, as they have “approximately enough for 1-2 months” before the agency must tap into its line of credit and borrow from its mass transit fund.

Because of the current loss in federal funds, TARC has had to fully pay for general maintenance and non-fixed ADA paratransit services from its own budget and has been forced to halt a sidewalk/bus stop access project for Spring Street in Jeffersonville.

Cities around the country that are smaller than Louisville and more reliant on federal funds have already started scaling back routes and services due to the shutdown.

President Donald Trump recently threatened to keep the federal government shut down for “months or even years” if Congress did not appropriate $5.6 billion for a wall at the Mexican border. In his campaign for president, building a wall on the southern border was one of Trump’s main promises to voters, which he said would be paid for by Mexico.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]