Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Tommy Hazouri have filed a bill to add a six-cent tax to every gallon of gas purchased within city limits.
Curry unveiled the plan in early March under the slogan “Jobs For Jax,” saying the nearly $1 billion in infrastructure projects would create up to 7,000 jobs and pump billions of dollars into the economy. It is also expected to free up more money in the city budget to continue Curry’s goal of phasing out septic tanks.
“With this legislation filed, Jacksonville is moving closer to fulfilling decades old promises in neighborhoods throughout our city,” Curry said. “Jobs for Jax will have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for citizens across Northeast Florida, improving neighborhood conditions and generating economic opportunities.”
“I urge my colleagues on City Council to support this significant investment in our future and prove that we are a community that is true to our word," said City Council President Tommy Hazouri. "This legislation is integral to the future of our city.”
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has come out in favor of the plan, and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority voted unanimously to support the proposal early this month. In a presentation to the JTA board, CEO Nat Ford acknowledged that one major hurdle to the legislation could be the significant spending on the 2.5-mile elevated people-mover that looms large — physically and symbolically — over Downtown.
“Unfortunately, I think the history of the Skyway is getting in the way of the future of mobility,” Ford said. “So I’d like to mark today as the day we start to retire the name ‘Skyway’ and look at exercising and using the phrase U2C: Ultimate Urban Circulator.”
The proposed expansion to the elevated train would connect it to the Riverside neighborhood’s popular Riverside Arts Market, as well as the UF Health Center, the VA outpatient clinic and San Marco.
Among other projects to be funded by the gas tax are flood resilience improvements, a study of a commuter rail between Jacksonville and St. Johns County and improved bus shelters throughout the city.
Contact Sydney Boles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.