ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says the future of transportation in Orange County might include another penny sales tax.
The Orlando Economic Partnership hosted Demings to discuss their shared vision for the city’s regional transportation network Wednesday morning.
“We’re talking about investing boldly in transportation solutions,” Demings said.
Demings said a penny tax would bring in $600 million a year for the county.
Back in January 2020, Demings was making a push to get support for a one-cent sales tax to tackle issues with transportation. Two months later, the push came to a halt amid the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demings said now that the economy is bouncing back, he’s considering the initiative again. He said half of the money raised from the tax will come from tourists.
“It is my desire, my goal to bring that back,” he said.
The tax would need to support of the Board of County Commission before it would get put on the November 2022 ballot.
Demings said he would use the funds to build a well-connected community with public transit close to where people live and work.
The mayor highlighted News 6′s focus on this issue during our Boomtown series. He shared our story from February 2020 where we featured a mother who spends seven hours a day traveling from Kissimmee to Orlando on buses and SunRail to get to her job.
“One lady we talked about spends three hours one way, three hours the other way,” Demings said. “Six hours and she was a single mother and they highlighted her.”
The Orlando Economic Partnership also discussed the president’s infrastructure bill and the billions of federal dollars Florida could get in the next five years.
“This legislation will be historic and create amply opportunity for transportation projects across the United States,” Rachael Kobb, the senior director of advocacy & public policy with the partnership said.
The partnership also shared its latest report that identifies seven regional priorities, including transforming all of I-4 and improving regional transit systems.
“So these decisions that we’re making now are really about the Orlando that will be in 2030,” Tim Giuliani, the president & CEO of the partnership said.