Orange County Mayor proposes tax increase to fund transportation system

In his first State of the County address, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced that he wants to put a $0.01 sales tax increase to a countywide vote.

"We’re at a critical stage in the growth of our community now where people feel the pain associated with the transportation challenges that we have," Mayor Demings said on Thursday. 

The money from this increase will be used to fully fund a transportation system, including Lynx and building road infrastructure. Mayor Demings said that SunRail currently does not run as often as needed and Lync bus routes do not meet the current demand.

He said that "we want our average Lynx riders to see improvements in the overall effiency of the system that means better connectivity, more frequent service and affordable service throughout the region. That will likely require us to double the size of the bus fleet."

Mayor Demings said that he wants to see the referendum on the ballot in the 2020 General Election. He also said that the county will work across the board and get community feedback over the next few months.

"Our housing and transporation needs are inextricably tied together," he said.

Affordable housing is another top priority. Mayor Demings said that his new 'Housing For All' task force is working on a plan to create more of it. Next month, the county will break ground on a 96-unit affordable housing complex in Pine Hills.

Demings also promised to pay every full-time county employee a living wage of $15 an hour by the end of 2021. 

See the full State of Orange County address below.