Orange County mayor proposes sales tax increase for transportation initiative
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County’s sales tax could go up from 6.5% to 7.5% if Mayor Jerry Demings has his way.
"In order for us to make our commute times more predictable it is going to take a multi-modal solution to make that happen," Mayor Demings said.
He’s looking to sell voters on a one-cent sales tax. Orange County spokesperson Despina McLaughlin explained that an extra penny would go to transportation initiatives.
"Projections are that 1 cent will produce nearly 600-million a year that will go directly to your transit your roadways your maintenance your pedestrian safety, your bike ways," McLaughlin explained.
Mayor Demings is hosting his second of six community workshops, giving residents the opportunity to ask questions and to give their input on their transit needs. So far, many are asking for SunRail to run on weekends and more LYNX busses.
"It takes a dedicated funding source to be able to do that, to double the fleet over at LYNX to allow for more frequency those are things we’ve heard from the community that they want and need to be able to use it," McLaughlin said.
The county also wants to improve the timing of traffic lights. They’re looking at adding more bike lanes, sidewalks, and charging stations for electric cars. The county says there would no tax on essential items like food, prescription drugs, and utilities.
"Projections from Visit Orlando right now show that 51% of the sales tax will be paid for by visitors that come to our area," McLaughlin said.
Some are willing to consider paying an extra penny on purchases.
"I think we do have some problems with traffic in the roadways and I think that would definitely help. So I wouldn’t have a problem with an additional tax to help with that," Lisa Morgan said.
Orange County is looking for input on what transportation improvements they want. Click on Transportation Initiative (orangecountyfl.net) to give the county your opinion.
On March 22, the Transportation Initiative Plan will be presented to county commissioners. Commissioners will vote on April 26th, deciding whether this penny tax will go on the ballot in November.
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