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UNF poll: Majority of Duval voters oppose gas tax, support plan to phase-out septic tanks

Poll also finds respondents nearly split on issue of renaming some Duval County public schools, removing Confederate statues

A recent UNF poll reveals that the majority of Duval County voters oppose a plan to double the city's gas tax.
A recent UNF poll reveals that the majority of Duval County voters oppose a plan to double the city's gas tax.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A poll of registered Duval County voters submitted by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab finds a majority of respondents oppose a bill to increase the local option gas tax in Jacksonville from 6 cents to 12 cents.

The bill would allocate funds to road and transportation improvements. Of those who responded to the poll, 58% said they either strongly or somewhat oppose the bill.

Notably, when respondents were asked about reallocating funds freed up by the gas tax increase toward Jacksonville’s septic tank phaseout, 68% said they approved either strongly or somewhat.

RELATED: City working on new legislation to replace more septic tanks

According to the city, 65,000 septic tanks need to be replaced all over Jacksonville.

“This is a somewhat tricky situation,” said Dr. Michael Binder, associate professor of political science at UNF. “The bills are structured so that the septic tank plan. depends on freed-up funds from the local option gas tax, but the data shows voters want the improvements without the additional gas tax.”

Respondents were also asked about an amendment to a proposal to reallocate funds away from the JTA Skyway improvements toward work on the Emerald Trail, a 30-mile urban trail that will link the Brooklyn neighborhood through LaVilla.

It would reduce the total amount going to the Skyway from $379 million to $229 million.

Of those questioned, 34% said no money should be spent on improving the Skyway, 21% said less than $190 million, and 21% said $229 million.

When asked a similar question about the Emerald Trail, 54% said at least $150 million should be allocated to funding the trail, with 23% saying even more should be spent. Twenty-six percent said it should be less than $150 million, while another 20% indicated no money at all.

Apart from the bills, respondents were asked about removing confederate statues from public spaces. A total of 51% said they either strongly or somewhat support it, while 49% said they either strongly or somewhat oppose it.

They were also asked about renaming Duval County public schools currently named after Confederate soldiers. Of those asked, 52% said they strongly or somewhat support it, while 48% said either oppose it either strongly or somewhat.

When it comes to the topic of the “most important problem facing Jacksonville,” crime has once again taken the top spot, with an overwhelming 32%. It’s followed by improving the downtown area (13%) and economy/jobs (11%)

The survey interviewed 1,263 registered Duval County voters from May 11-16.