Jacksonville committee votes to extend gas tax

Finance committee votes to extend 6-cent gas tax set to expire in 2016

By Jim Piggott - Reporter , Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 6-cent local tax you pay every time you pump gas is Duval County appears headed for renewal as a City Council committee unanimously votes to continue the tax for six more years.

Right now in Jacksonville, the average price for a gallon of gas is around $3.63, which includes the current six-cent tax.

The money funds city and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority road projects and the bus system.

The local-option tax was set to expire in 2016, and some people -- including Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown -- don't want it extended.

Paul McCormick, who runs an advertising agency, say the gas tax needs to stay.

"I think it's real simple. Go out and look at the street in front of your house your building. Driving down the streets of Jacksonville. I think that will help you make up your mind that this is mandatory," said McCormick.

A couple weeks ago most council members attended a joint committee meeting to discuss the issue. JTA was there and explained what would happen if the gas tax is not extended.

"If this local gas tax is not extended, there will be drastic cuts in core bus services, fixed routes, connection service and senior service," said Ed Burr, representing JTA.

Council member Stephen Joost has concerns. He said gas is used different these days and that extending the tax won't generate as much money as before. But his ideas were dismissed by most council members.

The council was given a list of 33 road project that could be funded by the tax which would bring about $30 million a year. Those project could begin once the tax is approved.

The push to extend the tax was started by City Council President Bill Gulliford. He made it clear his small construction equipment company would not profit from this.

Tuesday morning the finance committee added funding for the Mayport ferry to the gas tax extension bill and passed it  voted 7-0.  It now goes to the full City Council for approval.

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