JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The JAX Chamber Board of Directors has announced they will support the Local Option Gas Tax proposal.
The legislation, which was introduced to City Council Wednesday, would increase the gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents on every gallon sold.
“This investment will not only make needed road and infrastructure improvements, it will also put people to work and create jobs in our community,” JAX Chamber Chair Henry Brown said. “The time is now. As business leaders, we need to get behind this proposal and I thank Mayor Curry and JTA CEO Nat Ford for their leadership.”
Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority have said they will use the money for a “Jobs for Jax” program. This program would use the gas tax as the revenue source for $300 million in city road projects. The idea behind this program is that it will free up city general fund dollars to pay for critical infrastructure improvements and septic tank phase-outs in older neighborhoods.
The Jobs for Jax program lists over 70 projects that would be spread over the next five to six years. The projects are broken down into three categories: roadway improvement, drainage improvement, and JTA projects. The Mayor also wants most of the money from the gas tax fund to go towards septic tank removal. To complete all of the listed projects would cost $930,212,011. One of those projects is to revamp the Skyway and turn it into autonomous vehicles.
“JTA is a national leader in autonomous vehicles and incorporating them in our downtown is one more step in building the innovation ecosystem we need to attract more tech investment to our city,” Brown said.
A study done by UNF found that the gas tax, and the Jobs for Jax program, would create more than $1.6 billion in economic impact and create 7,640 jobs.
Council expects to vote on the gas tax legislation on May 12. The gas tax increase would require 11 council members out of the total 19 to vote yes in order for it to pass.
A committee of the whole is scheduled to discuss the gas tax on April 29 at 9 a.m.