Tom Warne Report, 2 February 2013
PRESCOTT – A “dramatic philosophical shift” is taking place in the way the Arizona Department of Transportation handles its state highways, officials said this week. Prior to 2011, the bulk of ADOT’s money went toward constructing new roadways, but as revenues have dropped, the department has increasingly focused on preserving its roads.
“Our traditional revenue sources are on the decline,” ADOT Public Affairs Manager Megan Kintner told the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization this week during an economic presentation. As a result of that decline, Kintner said, “We’ve had to prioritize where we’re going to spend the dollars we do have.”
With gas tax revenue and vehicle license revenue dropping, and with people driving less and buying fuel efficient vehicles, ADOT estimates a $62 billion revenue gap over the next 25 years. The state anticipates about $88.9 billion in road needs through 2035, but projected revenue is much lower, at $26 billion.
Between 2006 to 2011, Kintner said ADOT was spending about 76 percent of its revenue on highway expansion. Highway preservation received about 14 percent, and 10 percent to highway modernization. Since 2011, ADOT has divided revenue more evening, with 27 percent to highway expansion, 34 percent to preservation and 29 percent to modernization, including adding shoulders to highways.