Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has officially unveiled a plan to fund more than $ 900 million in transportation projects with a local gas tax hike.
Nicknamed “Jobs for Jax,” the six cents increase in gas costs would make about $ 30 million a year. This would fund projects like building roads and sidewalks, stormwater drainage systems, and improvements to the Jacksonville Skyway.
It would also free up money from the general fund that could be used to remove aging septic tanks.
Curry said that by hiring local contractors and helping industries like shipbuilding outside of Jacksonville, the project would likely create thousands of jobs.
“This Jobs for Jax program is about investing in our community and its future, creating jobs for our citizens, improving the quality of life and economic prospects for our neighborhoods, and fulfilling decades-old promises,” said Curry.
“We’re doubling up,” said City Council President Tommy Hazouri. “We’re talking about large projects that are long overdue.”
Florida counties are allowed to levy a tax of up to 12 cents per gallon of gasoline to fund local transit projects. Duval County has had a 6 cent gas tax since 2016. That increase would make Duval the 32nd of Florida’s 67 counties using the 12-cent maximum rate.
Nathaniel Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, said it was important to add that extra gas tax now as electric cars and more fuel-efficient vehicles are expected to reduce gasoline demand.
“We forecast that the next 30 years is likely to be the last opportunity to use the gas tax on these types of projects,” said Ford.
WJCT News partner, the Florida Times-Union, first reported that Curry had met with members of the city council to seek support for the plan. Speaking at an active construction site Thursday morning, Curry said those talks were ongoing.
Contact Sydney Boles at [email protected] or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.