Transportation revenues take a hit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pointing to issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, economists say Florida will collect about $1.5 billion less than expected in transportation-related revenues during the next several years.

The economists, who meet as the Revenue Estimating Conference, said in a new report that the cumulative amount of money going into the State Transportation Trust Fund during a period ending in the 2025-2026 fiscal year would be $1.485 billion below earlier projections, or 5.7%.

The largest hit will come during the current 2020-2021 fiscal year, when revenues are expected to be $432.2 million below earlier projections.

The State Transportation Trust Fund, which receives money from fuel taxes and other sources, plays a key role in paying for transportation projects.

The report said fuel tax revenues will be less than projected for a series of reasons, including “decreased consumption of motor fuel and other fuels (diesel, aviation and off-highway fuel) related to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak and the associated lower economic expectations going forward.”

Also, the report said a forecast of revenues from rental-car surcharges was reduced by 13.9%.

“This reduction resulted primarily from the impact to tourism caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” the report said. “Over the longer run, the increased use of alternatives to rental cars such as ride sharing services, destination-provided shuttles and increased remote work options come more into play.”

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