Fewer people holiday traveling could have long term impacts

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(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — For the first time in 12 years AAA predicts a decrease in travel for Thanksgiving, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fewer cars on the road means you could get to your destination easier, but it will also have long term impacts on roads in North Carolina.

NCDOT provided FOX 46 with the gas tax revenue losses this year. Compared to 2019 NCDOT has lost millions of dollars. The gas tax is used to fund NCDOT road projects, which is why NCDOT leaders say all but 50 projects across the state have been delayed for at least a year.

Here is the breakdown of gas tax revenue losses (2019 compared to 2020) provided to FOX 46 from NCDOT:

April: -$34.3 Million
May: -$78.8 Million
June: -$79.6 Million
July +$81.4 Million
August: -$19.7 Million
September: -$9.2 Million
October: -$9.7 Million

NCDOT says July saw an increase in gas tax revenue because distributors were allowed to defer payment of the gas tax without penalty until July 15.

NCDOT leaders also told FOX46 while July 2020 figures were higher than July 2019, the overall gas tax revenue for this year has been significantly lower than for the same time last year.

FOX 46 was also provided numbers showing statewide traffic volume for the year. Traffic was down 39% in mid-April during the peak of COVID-19 shutdowns. Even with the state partially back open, traffic volume was down 9% during the first week of November.

NCDOT has delayed or canceled nine road construction projects in Mecklenburg County, including one that was going to turn the shoulder lanes of I-77 into travel lanes during peak travel hours.

Leaders at NCDOT say that road construction projects started before the pandemic are not impacted.

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