The Tire Industry Association (TIA) and other trade associations are asking United States Senate leadership to authorize allocation of at least $37 billion to state departments of transportation (DOTs).
In a recent letter, TIA and other trade associations wrote “as Congress works to find agreement on additional legislation in response to the pandemic, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to include an immediate infusion of at least $37 billion to state DOTs to ensure the delivery of planned transportation projects, whose benefits will extend far beyond this pandemic and forestall further job losses in the public and private sectors.
“With millions of Americans following stay-at-home orders, many state DOTs are facing severe losses in revenues, including dedicated user fee revenues on which state transportation programs heavily rely. Projections continue to show decreases in state motor fuel tax and toll receipts as nationwide vehicle traffic reduction bottomed out at about 50% during the height of the pandemic. As a result, the ability of state DOTs to carry out their core functions, including capital construction programs, is threatened.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, many state DOTs have imposed furloughs and delayed or cancelled $8.6 billion in critical transportation projects, putting at risk transportation construction jobs and the timely realization of benefits those projects bring to communities and commerce.
“Earlier this spring, many of the undersigned organizations requested that Congress provide $49.95 billion in funding for state DOTs to address estimated state transportation revenue losses over 18 months, composed of a $16.7 billion loss in FY 2020 and $33.3 billion loss in FY 2021.
“This request was supported by 137 members of the House and 26 members of the Senate through ‘Dear Colleague’ letters sent to your offices. As updated data has become available over the last three months, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials now estimates state transportation revenue losses of $37 billion over five years (through FY 2024), with an estimated loss of $16 billion in FY 2020. This change in estimated loss is mainly due to more optimistic outlook for FY 2021 from state DOTs compared to earlier this year. That being said, the recovery period is now expected to be longer than originally anticipated.
“Nonetheless, the need for federal funding for state DOTs remains urgent. It will prevent further disruptions to planned transportation projects and allow state DOT employees and transportation construction workers essential to planning and delivering these projects to remain on the job. The funding will also preserve the core capabilities of state DOTs that are critical to implement a robust, bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bill, which can serve as a platform for national economic recovery and growth.
“Again, we appreciate your leadership during this unprecedented time. We urge you to provide state DOTs with an immediate infusion of federal funding in order to make critical transportation improvements and keep Americans working as our country looks to reopen stronger than ever.”