Several state departments of transportation are starting to receive fiscal aid via $10 billion contained in a COVID-19 relief package passed at the end of 2020 – money aimed at helping help them fill projected revenue gaps caused by the pandemic.
[Above photo by the Georgia DOT.]
The Georgia Department of Transportation is getting $277 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021 or CRRSAA to help it advance several strategic transportation improvements in predominantly rural areas mainly in support of the state’s freight network.
Those freight corridors play a vital role in moving agriculture commodities, manufacturing inputs, and consumer goods between production, distribution, and retail locations in all areas of Georgia, the Georgia DOT noted. The rural projects undertaken with this COVID-19 emergency aid were previously part of the agency’s “outer-year delivery plans” but will now begin construction early, advancing a variety of safety and freight reliability benefits.
“I am thankful for these one-time federal resources that will help keep Georgians working while also keeping our economy on the road to recovery,” said Governor Brian Kemp (R), in a statement.
“Georgia DOT will be able to further enhance the state roadway network to increase safety for motorists and trucks by advancing critical projects throughout the state,” he said.
“These important roadway improvements will help Georgia continue to be the top state for business,” the governor added. “Both the freight and logistics industry and Georgia residents benefit from this much-needed funding, particularly in light of the challenges of COVID-19.”
The remaining supplemental COVID relief funds will go toward resurfacing and rehabilitation of state routes and interstate highways in lieu of previously budgeted state funds as a key “foundational strategy” in Georgia DOT’s Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan, which is maintaining state-owned roadways with a target of 88 percent remaining in good or fair condition over the next 30 years.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved an Oregon Department of Transportation plan to spend $124 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding on road maintenance.
The Oregon DOT said in a statement it estimates that Oregon will see its State Highway Fund revenue fall by about $225 million in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession, so the federal funding will make up about half the lost revenue.
The commission also set aside roughly $56 million or 45 percent of that COVID-19 relief funding for local governments based on the city and county share of the State Highway Fund.