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Jacksonville Residents On Both Sides of Gas Tax Battle

Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri
City Council President Tommy Hazouri's Facebook Page
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The Jacksonville City Council listened as people spoke out Tuesday night during public comments on a proposed 6-cent gas tax hike.

“This is why you need to pass the gas tax, because you need the revenue,” said one resident, who said he had moved to Jacksonville from New England. “So you can build nice things and be a great city instead of a city that could.” 

“It’s just not good timing. You saw what’s been going on with this gas line, with all the financial problems that are going on,” another Jaxson said. “I’m simply opposed to it, please vote no. And I do appreciate your time and consideration.” 

The plan has been hotly debated since Mayor Lenny Curry announced it in March.

Some City Council members are reluctant to spend as much as $379 million dollars on the plan to replace and expand the existing Skyway system with autonomous electric vehicles dubbed the U2C, and would rather shift that money towards the Emerald Trail. Amendments currently under consideration would increase the gas tax gradually over the next few years, instead of all at once, or have the entirety of the gas tax directed to neighborhoods in the northwest quadrant of Jacksonville that have not received as much investment as other areas. 

The full City Council is meeting Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss potential amendments to the gas tax. That meeting will be open to the public. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.