The Impact of COVID-19 on California Transportation Revenue
Transportation revenue has plummeted because user fees produce a large share of resources needed to operate California’s transportation system. This webinar, research report, and free open-source spreadsheet model authored by Weinstein-Agrawal, A., H. King, and M. Wachs provide resources for agencies trying to figure out what transportation revenues might be during a time of deep uncertainty to plan transportation system operations and maintenance. The research uses simple spreadsheet models to estimate the impact that different scenarios for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic would have on state-generated transportation revenues. Because it is not possible to state with certainty future economic conditions, travel volumes, and vehicle markets, the researchers created five potential economic recovery scenarios and projected future transportation revenue in California through 2030 under each. The differences among the scenarios illuminate a range of possible futures for which we can prepare.
Weinstein-Agrawal, A., H. King, and M. Wachs recently shared their findings with the California Transportation Commission and also on a webinar hosted by the Mineta Transportation Institute. Access the free webinar video here. Full report available here. Key findings include that (1) the total revenue raised varies considerably among the scenarios; (2) fuel taxes generate the lion’s share of revenues in all scenarios; and (3) should the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) dramatically increase, then the registration fees levied on them can replace and potentially even exceed the state revenue that will be lost because of declining gasoline sales tax revenue.