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Transportation revenue generated a billion dollars less than expected last year

Thursday, Mar 25, 2021

* Oy

Though its historic 2019 capital infrastructure plan was estimated to boost Illinois’ state transportation revenues by almost $2 billion dollars annually, state transportation and transit agency revenue generated $1 billion less than expected over the past year due to pandemic-related declines in fuel consumption, sales taxes, and transit ridership, according to a new study by the non-partisan Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). […]

The state’s major transportation revenue streams—motor fuel taxes and transit system fees—saw their steepest declines in the two months immediately following the state’s March 21st stay-at-home order. During this period, statewide vehicle miles traveled (VMT) were as much as 40% less in 2020 compared to 2019. The state’s overall VMT finished the first year of the pandemic down 15% compared with pre-pandemic levels, and ridership for various Chicago area transit systems fell an average of between 50% and 90%. As of yet, neither has recovered back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Because the historic Rebuild Illinois plan doubled the motor fuel tax, the good news is that despite the drop in VMT, Illinois is still generating $800 million more in gas tax revenue than it was prior to the passage of the capital plan,” [ILEPI Transportation Analyst Mary Tyler] added. “The bad news is that because of the decrease in VMT, gas tax revenue still ended up being $308 million less than was projected pre-pandemic.” […]

“According to publicly available data, local sales taxes generated $96 million less for the RTA between March and November 2020 compared with the year prior,” Tyler added. “And combined farebox revenue from the CTA, Pace, and Metra generated $645 million less in 2020 compared to 2019.” […]

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 35% of Illinois workers who commuted prior to the pandemic are now working from home,” Tyler said.

The study is here.

* Graphs…

* Meanwhile, from WTTW

According to BOMA, between 88% and 92% of workers who would normally be in their office are still not back. The rate of office subleases is at an all-time high. And the Chicago Tribune reports the overall Loop office building vacancy rate is 15% and could go higher. […]

“The experience of the office and your experience downtown is going to need to shift and change,” said Sheryle Shultze, who leads repositioning and landlord services for the design firm Gensler.

A survey the company published revealed that 70% of respondents plan to go back to the office, all or most of the week, while 30% said they wanted flexible work schedules.

* CBS 2

a survey of chief executive officers from KPMG, which said last August, 69 percent said they would downsize their company’s physical space. When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments »
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 2:55 pm:

    ==last August, 69 percent said they would downsize their company’s physical space. When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent==

    Zoom is getting old. I miss people IRL. I guess I’m not alone. It turns out, we are a social species. The trick, of course, is to be F2F in a way that is safe.


  2. - Responsa - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    I do not see how this dearth of transportation revenue could be a surprise to anybody.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===a survey of chief executive officers from KPMG, which said last August, 69 percent said they would downsize their company’s physical space. When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent.===

    If true to those numbers, that’s far better news than what was a trend thought in the fall of “I doubt I’ll ever be in an office or my old office ever again”

    The prestige of an address and office space in a specific building, street, or business is still real. How that reality translate in the coming years to occupancy after this pandemic is yet to be fully measured, but a change from 69 to 17 is an indicator of a healing?


  4. - City Zen - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    ==69 percent said they would downsize their company’s physical space. When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent.==

    How many expect to expand?

    The real awakening is going to be with mass transit and Loop businesses. While employees will indeed make their way back into offices, it will be at a much reduced rate than before. That means less train trips, less lunches, less lattes. The revenue hit will linger for years to come.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:28 pm:

    === How many expect to expand?===

    That wasn’t the question posed, keep up.

    The office space downsizing and those two percentages are a significant change in thought.


  6. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    I’m pretty certain I haven’t filled up my tank 10 times in the last year, more like 7 or 8. That’s down from about once every 10 days prepandemic, so let’s says it dropped from maybe 40 tanks in a year to 10, tops on both numbers. Apparently most people are driving a bit more than me, but still not a lot.
    Ouch.


  7. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:39 pm:

    ===When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent.===

    Still doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    Last fall I was doing some contract work for a fairly large fortune 100 company. In August they tried to force everyone back into the office, including contractors who were hired prior to the pandemic to be fully remote workers. It was not a choice. It was a Marissa Meyer-esque control trip by the executive.

    About 40% of those contractors just walked away from the company.

    A few months later, they laid off about 15% of the rest of the staff who they forced to come into the office everyday.

    Then, last month the CEO announced her retirement.

    Some businesses are going to destroy themselves in their nostalgic attempts to return to the days that are never going to be coming back.


  8. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    I may not have been contributing to the gas tax, but working from home cut down on over 650 miles of car commuting each week. So, I did a bit for the environment and emissions side of the balance.


  9. - Huh? - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    I went from driving 1,000 a week to about 100 miles a month.


  10. - Blake - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    The report says 38% of RTA revenue is farebox. If Fairbox continues to be down dramatically much longer, its gotta hurt RTA’s fiscal sustainability.


  11. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 4:02 pm:

    Just think. The working poor and middle classes coughed up an extra $800 million.


  12. - Frumpy White Guy - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 4:16 pm:

    Reason. Drum Roll. Covid 19.


  13. - Fav Human - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 4:52 pm:

    69 -> 17

    That is how many want it to be 1990 again.

    About 40% of those contractors just walked away from the company

    At some point, the extra expense of offices you don’t need will work Darwinian magic on CEOs who are control freaks or just silly.


  14. - SIU - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    “Because the historic Rebuild Illinois plan doubled the motor fuel tax, the good news is that despite the drop in VMT, Illinois is still generating $800 million more in gas tax revenue than it was prior to the passage of the capital plan

    Wonder when the last time Governor Pritzker pumped gas into his car…..?

    He has no idea what it’s like to make a living and support a family in Illinois.


  15. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 5:03 pm:

    Another example of how the pandemic is having an impact on governments. As for the complaining about the increase in the gas tax, amazing how easily people forget how long it had been since it had been increased, how many other states (including red states) have increased their gas tax in the last few years, the increase in costs to do road construction, etc.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 5:06 pm:

    === Wonder when the last time Governor Pritzker pumped gas into his car…..?===

    Lemme guess, you think that trash can van phony previous governor in costume “knew”

    How many chauffeurs has the governor had? In college too?

    If you’re going to be small and bitter, it’s tough not seeing people pumping their own gas.

    Of course even during the times of Thompson, let’s say, they ALL had drivers, Quinn too.


  17. - Top of the State - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 5:09 pm:

    Folks here are going out of IL to get their gas. It would be interesting to see how fuel tax revenues for IA and WI along the border with IL have increased.


  18. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 5:37 pm:

    =Folks here are going out of IL to get their gas.=

    Not sure where you’re at. I’m 20 miles from the WI border. According to Gas Buddy I can get gas at my local Costco for $2.51 or drive the 20 miles to get it at Costco in WI for $2.49. Not sure that driving 40 miles round trip to save 2 cents a gallon accomplishes anything.


  19. - Sue - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 6:05 pm:

    I have occasionally used Metra trains down to Chicago. Since Covid began no conductor has asked me to pay for the trip.


  20. - City Zen - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 7:04 pm:

    ==amazing how easily people forget how long it had been since it had been increased==

    or that Illinois is one of the few states that levies sales tax on gas.


  21. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 8:40 pm:

    ==or that Illinois is one of the few states that levies sales tax on gas. ==

    However, Illinois, unlike Kentucky or Missouri, doesn’t have “local personal property taxes” on vehicles.


  22. - Abu Iskandr - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 9:42 pm:

    The Commonwealth of Virgina is going big ($3.7B) on a plan to expand rail service beyond just commuter rail for DC—Regular service from NoVa to MD-B’more (without the DC transfer), establishing new service from VaBeach to SW Va,etc. They found when they extended service just to Lynchburg, usage shot well over their initial projections.

    Imagine if we did the same in Illinois: rail service from Champaign to Peoria to Quad Cities; Chicago to Rockford; Carbondale to STL. Think of the infrastructure investments (track, stations, etc.)

    Sometimes, you have to go big, my friends.


  23. - Abu Iskandr - Thursday, Mar 25, 21 @ 9:44 pm:

    … especially when you have big supporters of rail and infrastructure in the White House and USDOT.


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