Budget Crisis "Devastating" ADOT; Department Announces it Will Lay Off 115 Employees
"This is a perfect storm -- our revenues are down, we are suffering from the use of state transportation funds for other purposes, and the needs of the state are not decreasing," ADOT Director John Halikowski says in a press release.
Earlier this week Halikowski sent a letter to 90 ADOT employees, informing them that they no longer had a job, and he announced today that 25 more employees will meet a similar end before the year is out.
Halikowski attributes ADOT's financial woes to the state Legislature's plan to use money generated from transportation-related taxes and fees for other state programs.
ADOT warns that this round of layoffs does not account for further cuts in funding that may take place in the future, noting that the state may need to come up with funds to bridge its $2 billion budget gap.
ADOT, like most state agencies, has had a hiring freeze since 2008. Over the past few months, ADOT has been forced to cut back on a number of services, including operation of a majority of the state's highway rest areas.
Most of those laid off were costumer-service workers at the Motor Vehicles Department. In addition to cutting the reps, which will undoubtedly make visits to the MVD painfully longer than they already are, ADOT plans to close at least a dozen MVD locations.
"At a time when the people of Arizona are demanding better and faster service, and in an economy that desperately needs to retain jobs, this was a difficult decision, like all of our budget reductions," Halikowski says. "My thoughts and prayers are with the employees and families impacted by this event."