County Gas Taxes at Work in Florida
With revenues from a 2000 half-cent transportation sales tax to fund the Better Jacksonville Plan slumping, the Jacksonville City Council in 2014 decided to extend "the local 6-cent gas tax that was on track to expire in August 2016," reports David Bauerlein for The Florida Times-Union on the current spending of revenues from the renewed county gas tax.
City Council extended the gas tax until 2036. City Councilman Bill Gulliford, who guided the gas tax extension to approval by City Council, noted that some Florida counties have enacted the maximum 12-cent local gas tax allowed by state law, but he’s not advocating an increase in Jacksonville’s tax amount.
Under the 1968 City of Jacksonville-Duval County consolidation, one of eight consolidated city-county governments in the United States, the Jacksonville City Council determines the county gas tax, explained Bauerlein in a phone call. The Jackson Historical Society provides the historical context of the consolidation.
Bauerlein goes on to describe the road projects where the gas tax revenues are being put to work. What's significant from a transportation funding perspective is that Florida is one of a relatively small number of states where counties are able to set county gas taxes, and may be the only state where every county has its own gas tax.
All 67 counties in the Sunshine State have a local option fuel tax, a minimum of six cents except Franklin, which has five cents according to [pdf] the state's Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Gas tax revenues fund the "city and Jacksonville Transportation Authority road projects and the bus system," News4JAX reported on May 20, 2014, the day the finance committee voted 7-0 to support the extension.
What was particularly noteworthy about the 2014 vote by the city council to extend the expiring 6-cent gas tax was that gas prices, about $3.63 per gallon, were 60 percent higher than current prices of $2.27 per gallon.
Just as significant was the city council vote: 16-1, reported The Florida Times-Union on May 27, 2014. However, the vote was not at all unusual.
- Santa Rosa County Commissioners also voted on a six cents per gallon gas tax increase in September 2015, supported by four of the five county commissioners. The fifth commissioner supported a four-cent increase, reported the Pensacola News Journal.
- Osceola County commissioners voted 4-1 in March 2015 "to increase the county's gas tax by 5 cents per gallon on top of the 6 cents already imposed," reported the Orlando Sentinel.
- The Clay County Commission voted 4-1 to impose a 5-cent Local Option Fuel Tax for 24 years, reported The Florida Times-Union in April 2017.
Hat tip to AASHTO Daily Transportation Update.