How Low Will It Go? Arizona Bracing For Less Highway Revenue

Published: Friday, August 7, 2020 - 5:05am
Updated: Friday, August 7, 2020 - 7:57am

Highway construction and street improvement projects could hit roadblocks due to COVID-19. 

When you fill up your car, 18 cents from every gallon flows into the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund. That pot of money also includes fees from vehicle registrations and drivers licenses.

The state uses the fund for highway projects and sends hundreds of millions to counties, cities and towns to help with street projects. For example, in fiscal year 2019-20, Phoenix expected to get $145.6 million.

→ Fewer Cars, Faster Speeds: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Metro Phoenix Traffic

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, gas tax revenues in May were 38.1% lower than May 2019. Vehicle license tax revenues dropped 23.7% during the same time period. 

During a Tuesday meeting of the Maricopa Association of Governments Economic Development Committee, MAG Executive Director Eric Anderson said state and regional planners will work on forecasting models to try to get a sense of the long-range impact.

MAG serves as the regional planning council for the metro area with a focus on transportation. Anderson said telecommuting will have a tremendous impact.

“We think that before this happened about 8% of our workforce telecommuted on any given day,” he said. “If that doubles, maybe go up to 15 or 20% that has a big impact on our system.”

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