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Transportation groups see nearly one-third drop in state DOT budgets

Sources: Highway Materials Group, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, D.C.

The 11-member Highway Materials Group has requested that U.S. House and Senate leadership consider granting immediate use of nearly $50 billion in flexible federal funding to offset revenue shortfalls constraining state department of transportation budgets.

"Our members work across the country with local and state DOT officials on critical public works projects that enable the delivery of medical supplies, food and essential goods that are needed to overcome the [Covid-19] crisis. This work is paramount to our economy as we improve commerce, congestion, water and energy delivery," notes HMG in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials calculates that state DOT budgets will experience at least a 30 percent revenue drop over the next 18 months as vehicle and mass transit travel continues to decrease," it adds. "These funds are necessary in order to prevent major disruptions in their ability to operate and maintain their transportation systems during this national emergency. Without Congressional action, state DOT budgets will be severely limited in allocating much-needed investments to improve their infrastructure, resulting in further job loss and economic decline."

HMG members include the American Coal Ash Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Portland Cement Association and National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association. Their letter followed similar Capitol Hill outreach from AASHTO, which cites the prospects for major drops in state DOT funding sources through late 2021. The group framed the $50 billion as a state DOT funding backstop to be included in a Phase 4 coronavirus response measure—on the heels of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. AASHTO proposes $16.7 billion for the remainder of fiscal 2020 and $33.3 billion for fiscal 2021.