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Sold! Auction continues to return money back to state funds

A line of green tractors
The public auction features vehicles as well as equipment.
May 14

In the current economy, spending money on passenger fleets and heavy equipment can make a large dent in transportation budgets. The Alabama Department of Transportation found a way to turn that challenge into an opportunity to recoup money and increase efficiency.

In 1980, state legislation was passed allowing ALDOT to establish a revolving fund within the State Road and Bridge Fund to collect a monthly depreciation and replacement rate along with a rental rate (operating cost) from the end user. This allowed ALDOT to have good equipment ready to respond to the needs of the state’s infrastructure without directly impacting budgetary funds.

Additional legislation was passed in 1995 to allow ALDOT to sell and auction its equipment by using an outside auction company. Since that time, ALDOT began turning in most of its passenger fleet at 55,000 miles or five years (whichever occurs first), the optimum time for replacement before operating costs begin to climb. It also allows ALDOT to determine the best time to replace all other equipment and to get the most return on investment. 

Some of the trucks on the auction block.

To ensure buyers receive top-notch vehicles, ALDOT has the auction equipment refurbished and inspected to ensure it is ready to roll and be put to work.

The process also generates extra dollars into the state’s economy through direct sales to counties and municipalities. They receive high quality equipment with a lower acquisition cost.

Auction bidders participate onsite and online from all over the globe, as far away as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. In fact, online bidding continues to increase at each auction. According to J.M. Wood, the auctioneer of record, during the May 2024 auction an estimated 2,300 were watching online.

“Our auctions provide the public the opportunity to buy well-maintained vehicles at below retail prices while allowing us to return money to our Road and Bridge Fund and Equipment Revolving Fund,” Equipment Bureau Chief Stan Carlton said.  

During the May 2024 auction, ALDOT equipment sales recouped an across-the-board residual value of approximately 55.5% of the original purchase price. ALDOT officials are “SOLD” on their equipment renewal process.