Even though 2020 may be over, the problems from last year, mainly COVID-19, will still linger in 2021 at the Delaware River and Bay Authority.
The DRBA Commission’s budget for this year passed last month proposed spending to be reduced by nearly two percent. The total operating budget of $88.2 million is a decrease of $1.7 million compared to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
DRBA Public Information Officer Jim Salmon highlights where they’ll be saving.
"Some of the items that we anticipate reductions in are vessel fuel for the ferry, contract services, marketing and advertising, some operational supplies, and food and retail items at the ferry."
This year, the DRBA is expected to generate $164 million in revenues and make debt service payments of nearly $32 million.
Salmon gives an example of how much COVID will hurt DRBA’s 2021 revenues.
"The operating budget this past year we realized revenues were down about 26 million dollars compared to what our forecasts were. We expect some improvement in 2021, but they're still going to be about 11 million dollars less than the pre-COVID forecast. The pre-COVID forecast was in the neighborhood of 175 billion dollar revenue generation."
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to reduce traffic and revenues at the Delaware Memorial Bridge and Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which are run by the DRBA.
Nearly 80% of the agency’s revenues come from the Delaware Memorial Bridge tolls.