How proposed gas tax might help neglected Jacksonville communities

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville city councilman is proposing a gas tax to help create an Urban Core Development Authority, addressing racial disparities in predominantly black neighborhoods.

According to City Councilman Aaron Bowman, he’s not sure how much of a tax increase he’s proposing, but some locals say it needs to be a significant one to address years of economic neglect.

RELATED: Councilman: Gas tax could help tackle racial disparities in predominantly black communities

“I remember they promised my mother and all the other people who live in this neighborhood many years ago that we would be getting sewage systems in this neighborhood," Corine Mcnaire, a resident on Jacksonville’s Northside.

News4Jax interviewed Mcnaire in 2019, who said she and her community were promised by the city that they would be connected to basic sewer services. Currently, families and businesses in the area operate off septic tanks.

Mcnaire also wants to see the area cleaned up, saying she hopes the proposed gas tax would help resolve these issues.

”I work with companies all the time that are interested in Jacksonville, and it’s difficult to get them to commit to moving to an area that they don’t feel safe, there’s no place to eat, there’s no place to get gas, it’s hard to get in and out," Councilman Bowman said.

Although it’s unclear how much of an increase the councilman is proposing, here’s a look at how Duval compares to other Northeast Florida counties’ gas taxes.

  • Duval County: $0.06
  • St. Johns County: $0.06
  • Baker County: $0.06
  • Clay County: $0.12
  • Nassau County: $0.12

City Council says state law requires gas tax money to be used for road construction, maintenance, and transportation facilities. So to get around that, Bowman is proposing to put the gas tax money into the City of Jacksonville’s general fund. That way Urban Core Redevelopment Authority members could use the money where they see fit in the neglected neighborhoods.

“I want everywhere -- the people of Jacksonville to feel safe, to be proud of where they have, and they have access to everything they need, and that’s what this program does,” Bowman said.

The gas tax can be approved by City Council with the majority vote plus one, so 11 people need to vote for it out of 19.

About the Author: