Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has formally unveiled a plan to fund more than $900 million dollars of transportation projects with an increase to the local gas tax.
Nicknamed the “Jobs for Jax” program, the six-cent increase in the cost of gas would raise about $30 million each year. That would fund projects like road and sidewalk construction, stormwater drainage systems, and improvements to Jacksonville’s Skyway.
It would also free up money from the general fund, which could be used to remove aging septic tanks.
Curry said that by hiring local contractors and supporting industries like shipbuilding outside of Jacksonville, the project would likely create thousands of jobs.
“This Jobs For Jax program is about investing in our community, its future, providing jobs for our citizens, increasing the quality of life and economic outlook for our neighborhoods, and fulfilling decades-old promises,” Curry said.
“We’re doubling down,” said City Council President Tommy Hazouri. “We’re talking big-time projects that have been long past due.”
In Florida, counties are allowed to add a tax of up to 12 cents per gallon of gasoline to fund local transit projects. Duval County has had a 6-cent gas tax since 2016. This increase would make Duval the 32nd of Florida’s 67 counties to use the maximum 12-cent rate.
Nathaniel Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, said it was important that this additional gas tax be added now, because electric cars and more fuel-efficient vehicles are projected to reduce the demand for gasoline.
“We have projected, over the next 30 years is probably the last opportunity to leverage the gas tax for these types of projects,” Ford said.
WJCT News partner the Florida Times-Union first reported that Curry had been meeting with members of the City Council to win support for the plan. Speaking at an active roadworks site Thursday morning, Curry said those conversations are ongoing.
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