The Impact of COVID-19 on California Transportation Revenue

The COVID-19 public health emergency has affected every aspect of life in California, and the severe reductions in social and economic activity have dramatically reduced travel. Transportation revenue has plummeted because user fees produce a large share of resources needed to operate California’s transportation system. As we emerge from the crisis and return to normal levels of activity, the state must plan transportation system operations and maintenance in the context of deep uncertainty regarding available resources. This research used simple spreadsheet models to estimate the impact that different scenarios for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic would have on state-generated transportation revenues. Because it is not possible to state with certainty future economic conditions, travel volumes, and vehicle markets, the authors created five potential economic recovery scenarios and projected future transportation revenue in California through 2030 under each. The differences among the scenarios illuminate a range of possible futures for which the state can prepare. Key findings include that (1) the total revenue raised varies considerably among the scenarios; (2) fuel taxes generate the lion’s share of revenues in all scenarios; and (3) should the number of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) dramatically increase, then the registration fees levied on them can replace and potentially even exceed the state revenue that will be lost because of declining gasoline sales tax revenue.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Bibliography; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 31p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01741017
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Report/Paper Numbers: WP 2018
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 26 2020 3:34PM