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Transportation revenue forecast keeps falling
 
While recent state revenue forecasts show that growth in Oregon’s economy is leading to an upturn in tax revenues flowing to the state, the State Highway Fund doesn’t seem to be benefiting much from the same forces.
 
The June 2013 transportation economic and revenue forecast produced by ODOT finds that even an uptick in economic activity isn’t improving the revenue forecast. While State Highway Fund revenues are expected to grow in the future, they will grow slower than previous forecasts, producing less revenue for ODOT and local governments than expected. This report is the latest in a long trend, with virtually every State Highway Fund revenue forecast since the passage of the Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) in 2009 showing projections of future revenue dropping from the previous forecast.
 
The June 2013 forecast projects that total revenue from 2012-17 will be down $127 million, or nearly 2 percent, compared to the June 2012 forecast for the same period. While that is a relatively minor drop, the long-term decline is more dramatic when viewed cumulatively by comparing the June 2009 projection—the first to include the JTA—with the latest projection. The June 2009 revenue forecast projected $6.94 billion in gross State Highway Fund revenue from 2010 through 2015 for ODOT and local governments. But the June 2013 forecast projects $510 million less in revenues over that same period—a drop of more than 9 percent.
 
A couple other sobering nuggets of information gleaned from the recent forecast:
·         Fuels tax revenue—the largest component of the State Highway Fund’s resources—is expected to drop slightly in 2013 compared to 2012.
·         Revenue from the JTA for 2013 is expected to come in 11 percent lower than originally forecast.