MDOT Writes Down FY 20, FY 21 Local HUR Distributions By Millions

COVID-19 shutdown means big losses to local Highway User Revenue distributions.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)) today released revised estimates for local distributions of Highway User Revenues (HUR). According to MDOT, in FY 20, 23 counties will see a cumulative reduction of approximately $8.8 million from previous estimates. Baltimore City’s FY 20 reduction totals more than $22.8 million from previous estimates.

For FY 21, MDOT estimates that 23 counties will see a reduction of approximately $6.8 million from previous estimates. Baltimore City’s FY 21 reduction totals more than $17.8 million from previous estimates.

At a briefing last month, MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said that the Department was working to close a revenue decline of approximately $550 million for FY 20 and $490-550 million for FY 21.

A 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative increased the county share of HUR for five years, from FY 2020 through 2024, from 1.5% to 3.2%, with additional funding also supporting Baltimore City and municipal governments.

The State created the highway user revenue formula in 1968, and for more than forty years afterward, local governments had received at least 30 percent of transportation revenues— mostly motor fuel tax and vehicle registration fees—to fund their roads and bridges. The Great Recession forced cuts to this area deeper than those in any other component of the state budget.

Twenty-three counties’ share of funds plummeted from nearly $300 million in 2007 to only $40 million in 2018: an 87 percent decimation. In 2018, Baltimore City alone received nearly $100 million less than it did before the cuts.

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