How COVID-19 is Affecting the Transportation Industry
Many agencies in the transportation industry are continuing to work during the coronavirus outbreak, while taking necessary precautions to protect their workers. However, impacts of the coronavirus continue to evolve as closures and stay-at-home orders expand. Decreases in the workforce, tollway revenues and gas taxes are just some of the nationwide problems that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
State of the Industry
Surveys and research from the transportation industry indicate that it is too early to tell what impacts projects and agencies will experience due to the coronavirus. Although many projects are still ongoing, some are experiencing a reduction in workforce, which will cause delays in projects, but they have noted that supplies have not been affected yet. The transportation industry is expecting to eventually see project delays, postpones or even cancellations.
See what issues others in the industry are experiencing:
- American Road and Transportation Builders Association: Transportation Construction Continues in Most States; Industry Taking Steps to Ensure Worker Safety, National Survey Finds
- Roads & Bridges: Survey Results on the Effects Of COVID-19 on Industry Operations
- American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): State DOTs Buttressing Transportation During Coronavirus
- ENR: COVID-19: Confronting The New Normal
Effects on Revenue and Funding
Local governments and state agencies across the nation are already seeing the effects of COVID-19. As shelter-in-place orders have increased to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, there are fewer people on the roads. This is starting to reduce the revenue from taxes and tolls, which states rely on to help fund infrastructure projects.
See what other agencies are experiencing during this time:
- Community Impact Newspaper: Transactions on North Texas toll roads see sharp decline in March as residents shelter in place
- Texas Tribune: Local governments, already hard hit by the coronavirus, are facing a fresh budget threat: economic recession
- Raleigh News & Observer: As coronavirus keeps people home, North Carolina gas and sales tax revenues plummet
- The Tax Foundation: Gas Tax Revenue to Decline as Traffic Drops 38%
Relief and Stimulus Legislation
State and local governments will experience some relief with the help of the CARES Act, which will help agencies prevent, prepare and respond to the COVID-19 impacts. Funding will cover operating and maintenance costs as well as revenue loss and purchasing of personal protective equipment. Another round of federal assistance could include funding for infrastructure, but talks are in the early phases.
Learn more about these developments:
- AASHTO Journal: Analysis of Transportation Funding in Federal Coronavirus Rescue Bill
- American Public Transportation Association: CARES Act Provides $25 Billion for Public Transit
- Houston Chronicle: Pandemic revives hope of federal aid for Texas highways, ports, rural internet
- The Hill: Trump's ambitious infrastructure vision faces Senate GOP roadblock
- Bloomberg News: Pelosi Scales Back Next Stimulus Plan After Jobs Report; Infrastructure on Hold
Tools and Resources
Below are some tools and resources to help keep workers safe, maintain operations and reduce the number of drivers who are speeding as roads become less congested due to the coronavirus:
- National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO): Rapid Response: Tools for Cities
- INRIX: Transportation in the Coronavirus Era: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Our Cities & Transportation Networks (webinar)
- Streetsblog: As Roads Empty To COVID-19, Drivers Who Remain Are Speeding Up. Here’s How to Slow Them Down.