ELECTION 2018: County ballots around Florida to include road funding questions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/30/2018

Voters in counties across Florida will decide next week whether to raise local taxes for more than $25 billion in transportation.

Broward County
Voters will decide whether to raise the county sales tax for transportation improvements.

Passage of Referendum 1 would increase the local tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent. The 1-cent increase would raise $16 billion over 30 years.

The revenue would be used for improvements to “reduce traffic congestion, improve roads and bridges, enhance traffic signal synchronization” and transit and other projects. If approved by voters, county commissioners would create a separate nine-member board to oversee how the county spends the revenue.

Advocates say a portion of the new revenue would be used to aid congestion efforts. Specifically, fiber optic cables would added to about 75 miles of roadway to adapt signal timing to traffic demands.

Collier County
Ballots throughout the county will include a question to raise the local sales tax by one cent for seven years.

Question 1 would raise an estimated $70 million annually for purposes that include constructing, repairing, and maintain roads and bridges.

About 90 percent of the estimated $490 million in total revenue would be allocated to Collier County. The remaining revenue would be split amongst the cities of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City based on population.

Of the nearly one-half billion dollars raised through 2025, $191 million would be set aside for transportation projects that include improvements to key roadways, bridges and sidewalks.

The sales tax would increase from 6 percent to 7 percent starting on Jan. 1. Exempt purchases would include fuel sales.

Hillsborough County
Voters in the county that includes the city of Tampa will decide whether to raise the local sales tax by one cent for better roads and bridges, and other improvements.

Referendum 2 would implement a transportation plan to add technologies that include smart, or timed, traffic lights and road sensors. The changes are billed to improve traffic flow.

The tax increase would be used to reduce congestion and improve safety by raising the local sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. The tax increase is estimated to raise $552 million each of the first two years. Over the course of the next three decades it is estimated to raise $276 million annually.

About 55 percent of new revenue would applied for road work. The remaining funds would be used to pay for new and enhanced transit options.

Funds could not be used for expansion of right of way or width on the interstate highway system.

St. Lucie County
Amendment 14 on the county ballot would raise the local sales tax by one-half percent over the next 10 years.

Revenue would be used to help with infrastructure projects that include roads that total about $1.2 billion. The county and each municipality have prepared a specific list of improvements.

Specifically, St. Lucie County would collect $13.1 million for road improvements and $8.6 million for bridge replacements. Port St. Lucie would receive $27.5 million for road repaving. Fort Pierce would get $16.6 million for road resurfacing.

If approved by voters, the tax would increase from 6.5 percent to 7 percent on Jan. 1. Exempt purchases would include the fuel tax.

For more 2018 election coverage from Land Line, click here.



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