ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County residents on Tuesday decided against approving a transportation sales tax measure aimed at infrastructure.
With 95% of precincts reporting, the measure was trailing by a 58-42% mark.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings pushed for the proposal to be on the ballot since 2019, but plans were delayed due to COVID-19. Demings said the initiative would have collected nearly $600 million annually for the next 20 years.
Read more about the sales tax in the story below.
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Shall a Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax at the rate of one percent (1%) be levied in Orange County, Florida for a period of 20 years with revenue deposited into a trust fund dedicated exclusively to transportation and transit improvement uses authorized by law, with oversight and accountability for the revenue provided by a citizen oversight board and the elected comptroller, as approved by the Board of County Commissioners?
BREAKING IT DOWN
If approved, the county says the transportation sales tax, also known as a penny sales tax, would create a robust mass transport system, including expanding SunRail and adding more buses to LYNX’s fleet. It would also include funding for road improvements and the implementation of new technology for pedestrian and bicycle safety.
The county would begin collecting revenue on Jan. 1, 2023. The sales tax in Orange County sits at 6.5% currently, and the added penny sales tax would increase that to 7.5%.
The county said the sales tax would improve roadway and transportation infrastructure through:
- Technology, traffic signals and street lights (timing of traffic signals and major roadway lighting).
- Roads (adding lanes and resurfacing roadways).
- Public transportation (LYNX and SunRail).
- Intersections (adding turn lanes).
- Pedestrian safety.
According to the county, tourists and visitors would fund more than half (51%) of the nearly $600 million raised each year through their purchases, though everyone would pay the higher tax.
The tax would apply to:
- The first $5,000 per single purchase of retail goods and services.
- Purchases of retail goods and services that are currently subject to a sales tax.
This tax would not apply to essential foods, such as bread and milk, or any other food items that are not taxed.
If approved, the money from the transportation tax would go through an oversight process to determine how the funds are spent. This includes a review by a technical committee along with an appointed citizens oversight board and finally, the board of Orange County commissioners.
A “YES” vote means you support raising the county sales tax a penny or 1% for transportation projects.
A “NO” vote means you want things to stay the way they are.
Click here to view an interactive dashboard that shows transportation initiative projects.
And if you’d like to learn more about the initiative, click here.
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