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Oregon-Northwest

ODOT: Revenue loss due to COVID-19 deepens, could hit $250 million by 2024

ODOT revenue drop 2020
ODOT
The table below compares the annual State Highway Fund revenue in the last two revenue forecasts.

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation said Monday its July revenue forecast reflects the financial losses the State Highway Fund has sustained due to the COVID-19-related economic downturn. The update to the April forecast increases the total estimated revenue loss to $170 million for 2020 and 2021.

Because the state’s projected economic recovery will extend into 2024, the impact will expand as well, increasing to a total of about $250 million in lost revenue from 2020 to 2024, when compared to the October 2019 forecast.

This amount is split between cities, counties and ODOT, so the impact will be felt statewide, the agency said.

“Certainly we will need to review the plans, projects and programs we had in place with the previous budget to determine where we need to make adjustments,” said Travis Brouwer, ODOT's assistant director for revenue, finance and compliance. “We’ll be working on specifics in the next few months.”

Fewer vehicles on the road and DMV office closures amid COVID-19 have had a major impact on ODOT's funding, the agency said.

Most road projects are paid for with federal dollars and with money allocated by the Legislature to specific projects, so it can’t be used for anything else without a legislative change. However, officials said, the reduction in overall funding could impact some of ODOT’s projects.

Facing a long-term budget shortfall that has been made worse by COVID-19 and the economic downturn, the department established a Budget Task Force earlier this year. The group has been working through ideas for reducing costs, adjusting programs and more.

This week, ODOT will be sharing these initial ideas with the Oregon Transportation Commission during its virtual meeting. as well as discussing next steps to address the budget situation.

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