The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will delay 11 construction projects and review local transportation programs due to revenue shortfalls.
WYDOT has experienced long- and short-term funding issues caused by reductions in fuel tax revenues, petroleum market revenues and other areas, with the coronavirus pandemic creating an additional budgetary impact.
The delayed construction projects will be statewide and will reallocate about $436 million over the next six years from new capacity improvement (growth) projects to maintenance of the assets WYDOT currently has. (See attached chart for the projects and their locations.)
“We are operating in unprecedented times exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and we need to look at every avenue to save money,” said WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner. “We are looking at ways to save money and streamline our processes so we can continue to provide the people of Wyoming with the best possible service. These cost-savings measures will be challenging, but as a state we will get through this together and emerge stronger than before.”
WYDOT and other state agencies have been asked to look at ways to reduce spending to ensure the state has a balanced budget.
“These projects are being put on hold, but we are hopeful that in the future we will be able to continue moving forward with them,” Reiner said. “The projects we identify for construction are important to make sure the state continues to have a premier transportation system that can help foster economic development and commerce within our state.”
WYDOT officials have reviewed the department’s overall transportation system, which includes various assets, resources, staffing and funding, to see how they can continue to meet the department’s mission while reducing costs.
“WYDOT’s state and federal funding streams also have not kept pace with the needs of the state-owned transportation system for maintenance, construction and improvements or even inflation,” Reiner said. “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has further compounded those issues.”
WYDOT’s review also included discretionary funding the department provides to local communities. Officials said some programs will be affected now, while others may need to be revisited in the future as the department refocuses its budget on state-owned and state-operated assets.
“We will continue to work with local government agencies to promote transportation and its positive effect on the state’s economy; however, until the funding outlook improves, we must concentrate available federal and state resources on state-owned assets and federally required programs,” Reiner said. “WYDOT will continue to seek methods to stretch our available resources to meet state needs, to be effective and good stewards of state and federal funds, and to make decisions promoting transportation for the state and the nation.”