Orange County voters to decide on transportation tax

Justin Warmoth hears both sides on ‘The Weekly’

Anchor Justin Warmoth spoke with both sides about Orange County's 1% transportation sales tax referendum on “The Weekly.”

ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite record inflation and rising interest rates, Orange County voters will decide on Tuesday whether to raise taxes to improve transportation infrastructure.

The proposed 1% sales tax hike will generate an estimated $600 million annually to go toward expanding Lynx and SunRail routes as well as road and bike path projects.

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Supporters say 51% of the revenue would come from tourists, but critics claim it’ll also cost Orange County residents between $300 to $400 dollars per year.

Anchor Justin Warmoth spoke with both sides about the referendum on “The Weekly.”

Brian Henley, the president of the group Ax the Tax, agrees the county needs to improve its transit, but says now is not the time to do so.

“I’m against the tax because it raises taxes in a recession,” Henley said. “The second reason is because the plan relies on putting too much money into SunRail, which is a boondoggle. It lost $50 million last year, and they want to expand it. The more it expands, the subsidies are going to increase, and we’re just going to be on the hook for more and more money. It’s also regressive. It hurts the working class the worst.”

Tim Giuliani, CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership, is in favor of the tax hike and said it’s more important than ever in order to accommodate the influx of new residents.

“By 2030, which isn’t that far away, we’ll probably have another million people calling Central Florida home and we know visitation continues to grow every year,” Giuliani said. “To keep up with that growth and to keep up with that quality of life many of us moved here for, we’ve got to continue to invest in our infrastructure. There’s really no other good way to do this. No one wants to raise taxes, but it’s the best way to really address and leverage all those tourists who are coming here.”

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

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About the Author:

Justin Warmoth joined News 6 in 2013 and is now a morning news anchor.