MITA staff have been a part of the state legislative budget wranglings reported in the news in recent days. Just yesterday, the State Senate passed a one-month extension on the state budget in order to avoid a shutdown. The governor has threatened to veto the bill, saying that she will support an extension only if it is tied to tax increases to fix the long-term problem. The legislative battle continues.
MITA believes that a budget deal will be reached before the final deadline, however at the same time, staff has been working on making contingency plans for a government shutdown. MITA has been discussing possible scenarios of a shutdown with MDOT, MDEQ and various local government groups.
In the event of a state government shutdown, MDOT will suspend all state road and bridge projects, and all state trunkline maintenance contracts. As MDOT continues to work on finalizing their plans for shutting down all their construction projects, they have advised MITA that contractors should expect to be contacted by the MDOT Delivery/Resident Engineer as early as September 24th or 25th to begin project-specific shutdown preparedness discussions.
On local agency projects, the Federal Highway Administration has indicated that work could continue as long as it is being administered by a full-time public employee.
In terms of state underground projects, MDEQ employees would not be available to process loan payments, possibly slowing down payments to local agencies, engineers and contractors. Other than that problem, it appears that a state shutdown should not affect local agency employees, thus allowing projects to stay on track for the near-term future.
MITA is continuing to communicate with state and local agencies to discuss the procedures for shutdown. We will be sending you a continuing update with more specifics in the next several days.
If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org; Glenn Bukoski, Vice President of Technical Services at email@example.com or Keith Ledbetter, Director of Legislative Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.