The local gas tax in Jacksonville will be doubling next year.
The Jacksonville City Council voted 14-5 Wednesday afternoon to approve raising the current local gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents a gallon. The tax is estimated to raise about $1 billion over 30 years.
The legislation, which Mayor Lenny Curry supports and is expected to sign, raises the current gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents a gallon to fund infrastructure projects, freeing up previously budgeted city funds for removing more septic tanks.
The vote also allocated millions to certain infrastructure projects. The Emerald Trail, a planned 30-mile bicycle/pedestrian trail and park system across 14 Jacksonville urban core neighborhoods, is getting $132 million.
The Skyway replacement and expansion plan is getting $240 million to fund purchasing autonomous vehicles. The plan also calls for the Skyway’s current elevated infrastructure to be adapted to accommodate the new vehicles.
At-Large Group 4 City Councilman Matt Carlucci said the tax will allow the city to build infrastructure needed to prepare the city for the future.
“With all these things, we’re going to be the Bold New City of the South and not an old city of the South,” Carlucci said.
District 11 Councilman Danny Becton, who voted against the tax increase, said infrastructure improvements could have been funded without the tax increase because the city is in good economic condition.
“When is enough, enough?” Becton said. “When are we going to quit asking for dollars that we don’t need?”
A University of North Florida poll found 58% of residents oppose the gas tax hike to increase road and transportation improvements. However, 68% said they would approve reallocating funds freed up by the gas tax increase toward septic tank phase-out projects.
The gas tax legislation now heads to Mayor Curry for his signature. Curry has been lobbying for the tax, under the name: Jobs for Jax.
The gas tax hike will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.