Key points of transportation tax plan
Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 10:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 10:42 p.m.
The Alachua County Commission has voted to put its Moving Alachua County Forward initiative on the November ballot in the hope voters will support it.
The referendum, if approved, would implement an 8-year, 1-cent sales tax to fund various transportation projects throughout the county ranging from road repairs to certain transit improvements.
Here are some key points of the plan.
How much money would the sales tax raise?
The sales tax would raise about $30 million per year, which would then be split among the county government and its municipalities. Roughly 30 percent of the revenue is expected to come from people passing through the area who don't actually live in Alachua County.
When would it start?
Jan. 1, 2015
What is Alachua County's current sales tax level?
Alachua County has the base state sales tax of 6 percent, or 6 cents for every $1, according to Transportation Planning Manager Jeff Hays. He said the county is one of few communities in the state that do not currently have a local-option sales tax.
How much of that revenue would go to Alachua County and how would it be used?
The county would receive just under $13 million per year from the sales tax, amounting to a revenue share of 43.24 percent. Ninety-five percent of the county's share would go to road projects while the remaining 5 percent would be used for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
What happened with the 2012 Fix Our Roads referendum?
The Fix Our Roads referendum would have set up a 15-year, 3/4-cent sales tax solely to fund road repairs but failed with about 67 percent of voters deciding against it in November 2012. The initiative was troubled by disagreements over the proposal between the County Commission and the Gainesville City Commission, which wanted to pay for non-road transportation projects with its share of the money, including a controversial bus rapid transit system. The county's decision to make it a roads-only referendum drew opposition from the city. The revenue split between the county and the municipalities was also a contentious issue.
What about the gas tax that is already collected for such projects?
County customers pay about 53 cents in taxes per gallon of gas, about 15 cents of which goes to the county government. However, that money must be shared among the county and its nine municipalities. The county gets between $11 million and $12 million annually in gas tax money, which covers road resurfacing as well as other costs like Regional Transit System and routine maintenance expenses.
How does the city of Gainesville plan to use its share of the money?
Of the approximately $103.8 million the city expects to receive over the life of the proposed eight-year sales tax, the City Commission has decided to put 55 percent of that money toward road projects, provide 40 percent of it for bus service and funnel the remaining 5 percent to bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Gainesville's road project list sets aside $22.3 million of almost $57.2 million for general pavement management while around $19.6 million is slated to fund eight resurfacing and reconstruction projects.
Those eight projects are:
- Depot Avenue (Southeast Seventh Street to Williston Road)
- Northwest Eighth Avenue bridge replacement
- Southwest 62nd Boulevard reconstruction (Newberry Road to Southwest 20th Avenue)
- Southwest 47th Avenue (Southwest 40th Boulevard to Southwest 34th Street)
- Northwest 16th Terrace (Northwest 16th Avenue to Northwest 23rd Avenue)
- Southwest 37th/39th Boulevard (Archer Road to Southwest 34th Street)
- Southeast 10th Avenue/Veitch Street (Southeast Fourth Street to South Main Street)
- Northeast Eighth Avenue (Waldo Road to Northeast 26th Terrace)
How does transit fit into this?
The 2014 initiative does permit transit projects to be funded through the proposed tax. However, rail projects and dedicated bus lanes are among those that aren't allowed.
The city of Gainesville has slated some transit projects for funding, including bus pullouts, but not dedicated bus lanes. Its $41.5 million transit project list includes around $20.7 million for new buses and almost $17 million for improving operations.
The city would use the transit-specific money for two new bus routes as well as to cut down on the time between buses for several routes and add service on Saturdays and Sundays to more bus routes, among other things.
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