NCDOT's financial struggles mean drivers will see some changes

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Construction sites along our major highways are still very active but we likely won't see new projects anytime soon.

"We're learning as we go. We've never had to deal with this before," said Steve Abbott with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The NCDOT has seen a sharp decline in their sources of revenue since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our revenue, all of it comes from either gas tax or DMV-related revenue. So, the gas tax obviously has dropped considerably because people aren't driving and that's more than half our budget," Abbott said.

And based on state law, they must have 7 percent of their budget in the bank. Now, they've fallen below that $293 million cutoff.

"It's like if you have a house and you're planning on building a new roof, buy a car and a few other things, all of the sudden your income is drastically changed," Abbott said.

So, what does that mean for drivers?

"We're not going to be doing as much mowing along the road. We'll take care of things that cause sight distance issues; if grass gets too high and you can't see," Abbott said. "We're probably not going to do all the potholes. We'll only do the ones that cause damage."

The DOT has already laid off about half of its temporary employees and consultants. And furloughs are possible. It is making cuts where it can to continue serving the public.

"We just ask people to be patient and realize it's affecting staff and our work," Abbott said.

The DOT is also preparing for hurricane season. It says that if we see major storms like the last couple of years, that could be another hit on the budget.
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