The Florida Current: Road building trust fund sinking

Mar 5, 2010

The Florida Current published this article on March 5, 2010.

Gary Fineout

The amount of money that state lawmakers will have for road-building and other transportation projects is sinking a new forecast shows.

State economists with the Office of Economic and Demographic Research released new estimates this week that concluded that there will be $75.5 million less this fiscal year in the state transportation trust fund than what was projected back in November. And even more importantly the new figures show that the state will have to close to $500 million less over the next five years.

The news could have big implications for the state’s five-year work plan for road building, which was already projected to decline by $1.6 billion between 2010 and 2015. Members of the Florida Transportation Commission warned on Monday that the state’s road-building fund was skirting dangerously close to a situation where there may not be enough money on hand to meet the state’s obligations. Currently, Florida has an average cash balance of only 1.5 percent of its total amount of projects it has pledged to build.

Legislators are already grappling with a $3 billion budget shortfall. Last year they swept excess cash out of the road-building trust fund in order to help balance the budget.