CSAC Testifies on COVID-19 Transportation Revenues Impacts
July 2, 2020
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) heard from a panel of state and local transportation representatives on the “Impacts of COVID-19 on Federal and Local Transportation Revenues” at its last meeting. Rick Tippett, Trinity County Director of Transportation and President of the County Engineers Association of California, participated in the discussion on behalf of counties and provided the CTC with an overview of the impact COVID-19 is expected to have on county transportation funding. Other panelists included Paul Golaszewski of the CTC, Vincent Mammano of the Federal Highway Administration, Keith Dunn of the Self-Help Counties Coalition, and Michael Coleman of the League of California Cities.
CSAC’s testimony focused on projected reductions in fuel tax revenue and how counties are preparing for decreases in funding. The key points raised included:
- Projected fuel tax revenue reductions: Compared to January 2020 estimates, fuel tax revenues to cities and counties are projected to decrease by a combined $487 million this fiscal year and next.
- Impact of revenue reductions on projects: While most counties that responded to CSAC’s survey did not expect reduced revenues to affect projects during the current fiscal year, some counties are already considering delaying or reducing the scope of projects planned for next fiscal year due to revenue reductions.
- County response to anticipated revenue reductions: Counties are planning to make various types of adjustments, including cutting contracts, furloughing staff, and freezing vacant positions. Counties may also have to reduce or delay routine maintenance and purchases of equipment and materials to help balance their budgets.
Finally, Mr. Tippett discussed CSAC’s ongoing efforts to support additional federal aid for COVID relief, as well as stimulus funding for transportation infrastructure. County priorities as related to transportation infrastructure include formulaic allocations to cities and counties to backfill lost fuel tax revenues and prevent planned projects from being delayed or canceled, funding for nearly $400 million worth of local bridge projects that could quickly move to construction, and $200 million in funding for quick delivery local road safety projects.