Transportation Sales Tax Initiative Relaunched After COVID Delays

April 13, 2022

Community services

Making a long-term investment in transportation is essential to maintaining a high quality of life for all Orange County residents. On January 25, 2022, the referendum initiative on the sales tax on transportation cents was relaunched after an almost two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and his staff participated in more than 200 community engagement opportunities, including town halls, neighborhood meetings, community events and other discussions. Public engagement continues and includes a transportation survey designed to receive feedback from residents in each of the county commission’s six districts. The county will put the proposed sales tax on the November 2022 ballot for Orange County residents to decide, pending a vote by the Board of County Commissioners.

The sales tax is intended to fund specific transit and transportation infrastructure to increase safety (e.g. make road construction zones safer), advance mobility and connectivity, and improve air quality . If passed, it has the potential to generate nearly $600 million a year that would be spent on transportation projects, infrastructure, technology (e.g., traffic light synchronization), and online transportation alone. commmon. It would also provide increased safety for all transport users, including cyclists.

Tourists and visitors fund more than half (51%) of the nearly $600 million collected each year. The tax would only apply to the first $5,000 per single retail purchase of goods and services – the same items currently subject to sales tax. No tax would be levied on essential food items such as bread and milk, or on other foods not currently taxed. Prescription drugs would be exempt, as would utilities.

Residents have asked to simply increase the gasoline tax, but gasoline sales tax revenue remains stable and is expected to decline in the future. And while federal infrastructure dollars can help kickstart projects, the county must provide local matching funds and have a dedicated funding source when applying for federal grants. The transportation sales tax would ensure that a constant amount of funding is available for the county to apply for federal funding.

“Sales tax is an investment in our future,” said Mayor Demings. “It will be an economic engine that creates jobs, opportunities and connectivity, and an evolutionary process that will last for decades.”

A sustainable transportation system benefits everyone, not just those who use public transit. A robust transit system that operates frequently, directly, and on time removes vehicles from the roads when drivers choose to become riders, helping traffic flow smoothly and benefiting the environment. And for those working from home, an improved transportation system means deliveries get to your home more efficiently and reduces traffic congestion when using ride-sharing services or when driving to get groceries or appointments. you.

“Orange County must have a viable transportation system to continue to grow and be the best place to live, work and play,” Mayor Demings said. “This sales tax allows us to meet our critical short- and long-term transportation needs.”

To learn more about the Transportation Sales Tax initiative, transportation quick facts, a list of upcoming open houses, and to take the survey, go to Orange County Transportation Initiative.

About Christopher Easley

Check Also

Oregon man pleads guilty to destruction of Planned Parenthood property | Takeover bid

An Oregon man pleaded guilty today to twice smashing windows and destroying property at a …