ELECTION 2014: Voters in three Florida counties to decide on transportation issues

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/27/2014

Voters in at least three Florida counties are set to cast ballots this fall on transportation issues.

In Polk County, voters will decide on a sales tax referendum to benefit roads and transit. Revenue from the proposed 1-cent sales tax increase would be split evenly.

Half of the funds raised would be applied for expansion of the Polk transit system. The rest of the revenue would be used for road improvements in the county located between Orlando and Tampa along Interstate 4.

It is estimated the penny increase would raise $64 million annually.

Tax advocates say if voters approve the referendum the county would stop using a portion of property taxes to support road work and transit operations.

Voters in Alachua County, which includes the city of Gainesville, will choose whether to raise revenue for various transportation projects.

The referendum would increase the local sales tax by one cent for eight years. The revenue would be used to fund about $30 million a year in road and transit work throughout the county.

Specifically, the county would claim about $13 million annually. Of that amount, 95 percent would be used for road projects while the remaining 5 percent would be applied to bicycle and pedestrian projects.

The county’s nine municipalities would split the rest.

The city of Gainesville would apply 55 percent of its portion each year to roads. Bus, bicycle and pedestrian projects would get the other 45 percent.

In Pinellas County ballots will include a question to increase the county’s sales tax by 1 cent to expand bus service and build a light rail system linking St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The new tax would take effect in January 2016.

The deadline to register to vote in the fall election in Florida is Oct. 6. Early voting begins on Oct. 25 and ends Nov. 1.

For more 2014 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Copyright © OOIDA