JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Like it or not, the doubling of Jacksonville’s gas tax is now a reality and will hit the gas pumps early in 2022.
The goal of doubling the gas tax from 6 cents to 12 cents, according to leaders, is to free up money to pay for septic tank replacements and to beautify and connect Jacksonville with the Emerald Trail project.
But the main force behind the gas tax is to pay for road and infrastructure projects and those could start before the tax is ever collected.
Along Main Street in Springfield is just one of many areas that will benefit from the new tax. Over $1 billion in projects are now on the books as a result of the tax.
On Main Street, turning lanes will be added and the pedestrian walkway from 1st Street to 12th Street will be expanded at a cost of $1.2 million.
One project that might be as controversial as the gas tax is on the Northside.
On Soutel Road, the city is planning to do a road diet, shrinking it down from four lanes to three lanes. Many have been opposed to this but people in the area say this is a great way to spend $6.6 million in tax money.
One woman who did not want to be identified lives right of Soutel Road said the project is vital to protect the area.
“The main thing about this highway here, this is like Interstate 95. The police come out here and try to control it to keep the speed down,” said Ray Rogers.
But others have signed petitions opposing the project and say it would only cause more problems.
Another project on the books is on University Boulevard. It’s a plan to shrink down the lanes, not get rid of all of them. It’s a $7 million project that the city still has to work out the details.
One of the smaller projects is in Northwest Jacksonville and involves a bridge on W. 5th St. The bridge will be replaced with $750,000 from the gas tax. Right now, the bridge is degraded.
Another area that is expected to benefit from the new tax is the Town Center on the Southside.
“What’s the number one complaint about why we don’t go to the Town Center. You can say it: traffic. Traffic. So we are going to re-do the intersection at Gate Parkway and Southside Boulevard,” said District 4 Councilman Kevin Carrico before voting yes to the new tax last week.
These are only a few examples.
City Council said it will have better oversite to make sure the projects get done, unlike the Better Jacksonville Plan. Some of those road projects still are not complete.