The Road Ahead Looks Clear For County Transportation Funding

The Senate Budget & Taxation Committee has voted to pass Senate Bill 516 with amendments to reflect its cross file, House Bill 807 – paving the way for counties to receive twice as much in highway user revenues as they did in fiscal 2018, for the next six years. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

The House passed HB 807 with amendments which ensure that counties receive 3.2 percent of highway user revenues for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 – about twice as much as the 1.5 percent they received in fiscal 2018 (independently of the capital grants).

The full Senate passed the budget bill on Thursday morning, without cutting any funds to counties for highway user revenues and capital grants. The budget includes $178.1 million in highway user revenues, in addition to $53.7 million in additional local transportation grants. This is approximately 8 percent more than last year, which included $175.5 million in highway user revenues and $38.4 million in additional grants.

Last year, 23 counties ultimately received $12.8 million in grant money, after the legislature cut counties’ portion from the Governor’s proposed $27.4 million. This year, the Governor is proposing $27.8 million to those counties – and the full Senate has approved all of those funds.

In addition, the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee decided to recommend full funding of the grants – a good sign. The full committee will make decisions on the budget on Friday. Then, the budget will go to the Conference Committee, which makes final decisions on fiscal 2019 funding.