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Less Traffic Drives Gas Tax Revenue Down for ODOT

A photo of a gas pump
Roschetzky Photography
Several large Ohio Department of Transportation projects are on hold until funding returns to pre-pandemic levels. As the coronavirus has had fewer motorists fueling their vehicles, Ohio's gas tax revenues have decreased, leading to less funding for ODOT.

Officials report that in 2020, Ohio’s traffic volumes were down an average of more than 15 percent.

Lloyd MacAdam is the chief engineer for theOhio Department of Transportation. MacAdam said at an American Society of Civil Engineers meeting last Thursday that this isn’t good news for the Ohio Department of Transportation. The department gets 98 percent of its funding from federal and state fuel taxes.

MacAdam Cut from march to november 021121.wav
MacAdam: decrease in gas tax revenues

“From March to November, gas tax revenues for ODOT have been down about $198 million from originally anticipated levels,” MacAdam said.

Despite this revenue loss, McAdam says the agency has been able to continue fully funding its ongoing projects and programs.

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MacAdam: funding projects

“This is only possible because of the gas tax increase in 2019. Without it, we estimate that our funding gap today would have been nearly $900 million,” he said.

The loss in revenue has lead the Ohio Department of Transportation to delay several large upcoming projects. MacAdam says the agency plans to resume these projects when funding levels are up again.