Perdue’s new budget allows the state gas tax cap to expire, but continued low gas prices will likely mean the state gas will be below the cap anyway. Falling transportation revenue will necessarily adjust down the statutory appropriations for roads and highways.
The budget proposal allows the cap on the gas tax to expire July 1, 2009. Projections, however, say the rate (calculated in part based on the price per gallon) will be 29.16 cents per gallon on July 1, 2009 and 28.06 cents on January 1, 2010. These estimates are below the gas tax cap of 29.9 cents per gallon.
As of January 2009, fiscal year-to-date actual Highway Trust Fund revenues were $94.3 million, or 14.9%, below budgeted revenues. Revised Highway Trust Fund tax revenues, for fiscal year 2008-09, are expected to fall short of budgeted revenues by $190.6 million or 17.8%. Total Highway Trust Fund revenues are estimated to decline 2.8% in fiscal year 2009-10 and increase slightly in fiscal year 2010-2011.
As of January 2009, fiscal year-to-date highway use tax collections have fallen $72.9 million or 21.7% below fiscal year 2008-09 budgeted revenue. Total highway use tax collections for fiscal year 2008-09 are estimated to be below budgeted revenues by $142.0 million or 24.9%. With no improvement expected in vehicle sales in fiscal year 2009-10, total highway use tax collections are estimated to fall an additional 4.0%.
As of January 2009, fiscal year-to-date excise tax collections on motor fuels credited to the Highway
Trust Fund have fallen $8.4 million or 3.6% below budgeted revenues for fiscal year 2008-09. Total motor fuel tax collections that go to the Highway Trust Fund are estimated to decline 2.5% in fiscal year 2009-10 and fall an additional 3.5% in fiscal year 2010-11.
The declining revenue means:
- A $92 million reduction for the intrastate system
- $37 million less for urban loops
Reduction in Highway Trust Fund Transfer to Continue
The governor’s proposal continues the previously scheduled reductions of transfers to the General Fund from the Highway Trust Fund, diverting instead the money to gap funding for the Turnpike Authority.
- Adds 50 net new positions funded by the Highway Fund (reduction of 33, expansion of 83)
- Adds 79 new positions in Ferry operations to comply with new federal requirements, however Ferry services are being reduced
- $157M reduction in road construction funds in HTF