Voters to decide on Orange County transit sales tax in November

The decision will now be up to Orange County voters if they will have to pay a new one-cent sales tax to fund public transit projects.

Orange County Commissioners voted Tuesday evening to put the sales tax increase on the November ballot.

The meeting lasted several hours before the commission passed the measure 4-3.

"I’m happy about the outcome tonight that our board, at least the majority, saw fit to give the power to the people and let our residents whether to tax themselves in this manner," said Mayor Jerry Demings.

Mayor Demings’ push for the sales tax referendum began in 2019. In March 2020, it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

County officials say they've met with thousands of residents, coming up with a plan to expand bus and rail service through LYNX and SunRail, building new stations for them too.

Funds would also go towards fixing roads and replacing dozens of bridges.

County officials say the one percent sales tax could fund $12 billion worth of projects over 20 years.

They said more than half will end up getting paid by people visiting the county.

Before the vote, commissioners got hung up on things like how much money would go towards transit systems instead of roads and how an oversight board will operate.

"I wasn’t comfortable with that, I think the public deserves full upfront transparency on everything," said District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson after voting against the tax.

In January, the county launched an online survey to gauge support for the tax The full results from the 2022 transportation survey can be found here.

Commissioners Christine Moore, Mayra Uribe, and Maribel Gomez Cordero joined Mayor Demings in voting to place a Transportation Sales Tax Referendum on the fall election ballot. Joining Commissioner Wilson in voting against the measure were Commissioners Emily Bonilla and Victoria Siplin.