The N.C. Department of Transportation will lose more than a third of its expected revenue over the next three months because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Bobby Lewis, the department’s chief operating officer. Lewis told the Board of Transportation on Thursday that NCDOT will receive up to $200 million less in revenue than it had counted on by July 1. Most of that money will come in the form of lost gas taxes, which account for about 54% of NCDOT’s state revenue. Also hurt by COVID-19 and the resulting downturn in the economy is the highway use tax, a tax on car sales that makes up another 21% of NCDOT’s state revenue.
Falling tax revenue is going to be a problem for all local governments and state agencies in North Carolina, as residents hunker down and stop spending money. Sales taxes on retail, restaurants and hotel rooms are all taking a hit, as is the state’s income tax as businesses lay off hundreds of thousands of workers.
With the coronavirus outbreak still growing in North Carolina and country, the length and depth of the economic fallout is still unknown. Lewis said NCDOT currently expects its tax revenues will be down through the summer and into next fall and will be 7% to 11% lower in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
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by richard stradling
april 2, 2020