COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT) released on Friday a preliminary analysis of COVID-19 financial impacts to the department.
As a result of “lower traffic volumes and a drop in car sales” SCDOT expects a significant decrease in agency revenues, to the tune of $78 million, between April and July. Specifically, the data suggests a $54 million decrease in gas tax revenues, and a $24 million decrease in car sales tax revenues.
There is respite on the horizon, as SCDOT reports a 20% increase in traffic volume from April to May. Secretary of Transportation, Christy Hall, said that they “expect traffic volumes to continue to climb as the state emerges from the pandemic, and [they] expect the revenue gap to close over time.” How long it will take to close the gap, however, is still unclear. Hall went on to say that the department is “conservatively planning for a longer recovery period that may last as long as two years with a potential $293 million total impact.”
To offset the losses, Hall has reduced “the internal operating budget of SCDOT by 11% for the remainder of this state fiscal year.” Hall said that she believes by taking this action, they will be able to carry out “mission-critical operations” and “manage through this with no disruption to [their] core priorities, including the road and bridge projects currently under construction.”
However, Hall said that they will monitor the data over the coming months, and adjust road and bridge projects correspondingly.