The Open Road

States are facing a roadwork budget crunch as the viral pandemic idles traffic and roads remain less traveled with people hunkering down at home. States spent a collective $78 billion in 2018 on highway repairs according to the Department of Transportation, and many states rely heavily on taxes from gasoline sales and road toll revenue to fund those repairs. California, Texas and other large states rely on that combination to fund more than half their roadwork budgets, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation. “State departments of transportation are forecasting a significant reduction in state
transportation revenues that will challenge their ability to maintain and operate our transportation system in a way that can support the COVID-19 response,” said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The AASHTO forecasts a 30% drop in state transportation revenue over the next 18 months, and has asked Congress for nearly $50 billion to help offset the decline. The Energy Information Agency expects gasoline consumption to fall by 1.7 million barrels this quarter to 7.1 million barrels a day.