Jax Councilman Joost: Gas Tax A ‘Tired System’

Mar 18, 2014

City lawmakers have begun to publicly debate whether the city’s six-cent gas tax should be extended for another 20 years.

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Jacksonville City Councilman Stephen Joost joined Dan Leveton on First Coast Connect to discuss the proposed gas tax extension.

Joost is opposed to extending the tax, calling a “tired system.”

“As everybody knows, for example, the current mileage standard for cars is like 23.6 miles a gallon," Joost said. "That’s going to double by 2025.”

“This year alone 350,000 people are moving to the state. We’re in our third year of record tourism. So actual aggregate miles for the state of Florida is going way up, and yet you’ve got a declining revenue source to pay for roads, to pay for all this additional demand and burden put in our road systems.”

Joost believes that the city should be looking for better ways to improve the mass transit system.

“We need a new, better, smarter, progressive system that keeps up with today’s technology and not yesterday’s,” he said.

According to Joost, if the tax is extended there will be less money for road projects because fuel efficiency in automobiles will continue to rise. The revenue gathered by the city through the tax currently funds road infrastructure projects with s portion also allocated for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.

“It’s going to encourage more traffic,” Joost said. “There’s not one project on the list that addresses mass transit. Every study done on transportation says we need more mass transit, and out of 600 million dollars not one penny is going to these things.”

Joost noted that the tax doesn’t expire until 2016, leaving time for city leaders to examine the most efficient way to maintain funding for infrastructure and transit projects.

“What’s the rush to jump into these projects today?” he said.

Joost also suggested that lawmakers hold town hall meetings in neighborhoods where infrastructure projects are scheduled to gather input from residents on whether changes or improvements are necessary.

You can follow Cole Gordon @Cagordon33Cole.