HART CFO warns feds funding delay could be a big problem - SaintPetersBlog

HART CFO warns feds funding delay could be a big problem

Apparently, it’s not just the lack of hiring executive-level appointments where the Donald Trump administration is falling behind.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) is patiently waiting on the Federal Transit Administration to deliver more than $10 million in federal formula funding that it expected to receive before the end of the current fiscal year in September.

But it hasn’t arrived yet.

“This is the latest that it has ever been,” said HART CFO Jeff Seward told A HART subcommittee meeting on Monday. “It has never been this late.”

The funds that HART is expecting come from the FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Funding program, which makes Federal resources available to urbanized areas.

Once the agency receives funding, HART is required to hold a public hearing. If they don’t receive the full apportionment by the time of a scheduled July public hearing, Seward says the agency can apply for a portion of that money, about $7 million. But he warned that without those funds, the agency’s bottom line will plummet.

“As you get these reports and we stand before you to talk about our cash in the bank,” he said, “you will see continue us to draw down rapidly,”

Seward says that typically at the end of the fiscal year, HART’s cash balance drops down to anywhere between $5 million down to zero. He warned that without those Federal funds, there are economic models he’s run that show the “cash flow in the red.”

Yet Seward remains optimistic the agency will get at least a portion of those formula funds. Coupled with spending controls and a hiring freeze, Seward is confident the agency should be able to make it to the end of September with more cash on hand than without.

A call to the FTA in Washington was not immediately returned.

In other news, Seward also announced that HART is attempting to install Wi-Fi service for riders to use on the Tampa Streetcar.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.
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