(The Center Square) – Georgia’s transportation revenue is showing more positive signs of recovery, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
The GDOT collected 9.1% more in transportation-related revenue in September than at the same time last year. The state collected around $190 million in September from motor fuel tax and transportation fees, McMurry said, a sign Georgians are starting to get back on the state’s roads.
“So, obviously, the pandemic has transcended over a year in, almost two years now,” McMurry said Thursday during a state transportation board meeting. “We’re seeing a positive number on revenue for comparison from September this year to September last year.”
COVID-19 shutdowns and remote work cut traffic on Georgia’s roadways, causing revenue holes in the agency. A bulk of the tax revenue is used for maintenance and construction.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced in April plans to provide $277 million in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) funds for the GDOT to fill revenue gaps caused by COVID-19. The funding was used to speed up projects in the state’s rural towns and its freight network.
Fiscal-year-to-date collections were $558 million, of which $506 million was generated from fuel tax. The remainder came from transportation fees. Current fiscal-year-to-date collections reflect a nearly $60 million, or 9.4%, increase from a year ago.
Earlier estimates in June showed toll revenue had increased more than expected but had not neared prepandemic levels. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) sales tax revenue also had recovered and was doing better than projected.
The GDOT also has collected 50.3% more hotel tax revenue in fiscal year 2022 compared with the same time last fiscal year. The GDOT saw an increase of 37.5% in hotel tax revenue over the past month.
“Obviously, transportation and people are out and about, so those are positive signs,” McMurry said.