ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Local leaders and business partners gathered Thursday to discuss transportation concerns during the 2022 Orange County Regional Economic Summit.
During the event at Full Sail Live, economist Sean Snaith highlighted challenges that remain after the pandemic.
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“It’s been an interesting couple years to say the least,” Snaith said. “The major issue we face (is) inflation. It’s currently 8.5%.”
Snaith said labor shortages and gas prices are also short-term concerns. He said the economy, for the most part, has seen a full rebound and growth is expected to continue.
“People continue to move into the region and I think that trend is not something that’s going to go away fast,” Snaith said.
With the population growth, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the current transportation system is overburdened and underfunded.
“We need to find better transportation alternatives (for) moving people around our community,” he said.
Demings spoke about the proposal for a one cent sales tax increase that’s focused on improving and expanding transportation infrastructure.
The initiative includes creating a robust mass transit system, facilitating road improvements and implementing new technologies.
With Central Florida seeing tens of thousands of new residents every year, Demings said now is the time to act.
“Our residents deserve a convenient, affordable and reliable means of commuting to their jobs and other places,” he said.
The sales tax proposal will be voted on Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Commissioners.