The Pennsylvania DOT relies rather heavily on the state’s gas tax, which including ancillary fees, presently stands at 58.7 cents per gallon. However, with traffic significantly down since the onset of the coronavirus, the agency is looking at a funding shortfall that has, despite a recent reopening to work, forced it to put the brakes on several planned road and bridge projects.
The state administration is projecting a worse-case funding loss of approximately $800 million over the next 18 months. Despite more than $1.8 billion funneling into PennDOT from the FAST Act (this is an estimate that does not include post-apportionment set-asides, penalties, or sequestration), the agency is spending $300 million less on projects that initially projected.
2020 bids were originally planned at $2.2 billion; that number is being revised to $1.8 billion, and there is concern it could go even lower than that.
Alexis Campbell, PennDOT spokeswoman, told The Morning Call, “We’re trying to prepare ourselves. We’re trying to be smart and not get blindsided if that trend continues.”
Campbell insisted that projects already underway will continue, but that those that are not under contract or out on bid are being postponed. As of now, 19 projects have been effected.
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