The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today thanked Congressional leaders for providing this round of emergency relief for DOTs.
“Since the early response to the pandemic, state DOTs have faced severe losses in state transportation revenues as vehicle travel declined," Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, said in a statement. "This COVID relief bill enables state DOTs to stay on track and support the efficient movement of critical goods and services as they maintain their transportation systems. Furthermore, this timely federal support will help state DOTs to retain their institutional capacities and to be prepared to deliver future infrastructure investment driving economic recovery and growth.”
According to analysis by AASHTO’s policy team, the $10 billion worth COVID-19 relief set aside for state DOTs must be apportioned by the Federal Highway Administration within 30 days of the bill’s enactment and will be based on each state’s share of obligation limitations within the recently extended FAST Act.
AASHTO’s analysis also indicated that the relief money can be used by state DOTs to fund Surface Transportation Block Grant-eligible projects as well as for preventive maintenance, routine maintenance, operations, and personnel—including employee and contractor salaries—along with debt service payments, availability payments, and coverage for other revenue losses.
AASHTO added that the relief funds could be transferred to public tolling and ferry agencies for costs related to operations, personnel, salaries, contractors, debt service payments, availability payments, and coverage for other revenue losses, and are not subject to existing federal restrictions on tolling revenues.
In terms of the FY 2021 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development funding approved as part of this broad fiscal package, AASHTO says some $46.365 billion is provided for Federal-aid Highways obligation limitation along with a nearly $2 billion in general fund supplement to help support a highway bridge rehabilitation program.