Broward County, Florida Advances One-Cent Transportation Sales Tax
The sales tax would last for 30 years. Funds would go to a "broad range of projects include miles of light rail transit, roadway construction, sidewalks, green ways and neighborhood transit centers," writes Brian Ballou for the Sun Sentinel.
However, buses appear to be left out according to Commissioner Dale Holness, who voted against the motion on the Commission's April 12 agenda, stating "he would not support it because it would lead to cuts in the number of buses, a major mode of transportation for low-income people," adds Ballou. "Holness said the tax would be a bigger burden on residents with lower incomes."
They are utilizing the transit system more than anyone else ... moderate and lower income folks paying into system and it's not impacting them positively."
According to the county's Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department, an improved network of mass transit would attract more "choice" riders — people with cars who would be more likely to use transit if the quality and convenience is improved. That would translate into less congested roadways, according to the department.
Another issue raised by Commissioner Beam Furr was whether a combination of a sales tax and gas tax should be considered. Florida may be the only state where all (67) counties have gas taxes, minimum six-cents. "County governments are authorized to levy up to 12 cents of local option fuel taxes in three separate levies on fuel sold within the county," according to the Florida Department of Revenue. "The funds are used for transportation expenditures."
However, looking at the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research spreadsheet [PDF] on local gas taxes, it appears that Broward County has maxed-out its fuel tax options.
Furr voted for the sales tax, stating, "We are quickly approaching gridlock and something has to be done quickly."
"Many cities in the county also have ambitious plans to create vibrant downtown areas and improving mass transit to those areas would encourage the type of growth those cities are seeking, according to the Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department's assessment of the proposal," writes Ballou.
The measure will be heard by the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) on Thursday. Look for an update, if there is one, in the comment section below.
Hat tip to The AASHTO Daily Transportation Update