"Fix Our Roads"... For Or Against
Published October 31st, 2012
GAINESVILLE-Politics makes strange bedfellows... and the people united in opposition to one ballot proposal in North Central Florida are usually on opposite sides of the political fence. But the proposal does have its supporters.
TV 20's Alex de Armas reports... one thing they all agree on is that if it fails, the problem isn't going away.
Alachua county voters are being asked to approve a three quarters of a penny sales tax to raise money for a half billion dollars' worth of road repairs.
"Our cooperative work fell apart in the spring of 2011…unfortunately," said Gainesville City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins.
Initially the City of Gainesville and Alachua County had three things in mind:
1. road maintenance
2. looking at areas with a lot of congestion and
3. enhancing the transit system
But when Alachua County Commissioners decided to use the tax only for road maintainance, City leaders objected.
"We purposely left a quarter of a cent that can come back later and if you factor that in than the City of Gainesville by far in a way gets a disproportionate fair of all the sales tax revenue," said County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson.
A percentage Gainesville City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins says isn't enough to solve the overall problem of transportation.
"It's going to lock up funding we need to address those other two pieces and we won't have congestion relief we won't have economic development for transportation and that's a problem," said City Commissioner Hawkins.
County Commissioner Pinkoson says that about 25 to 30% of the sales tax will be paid by tourists.
"No matter what transportation you're riding, whether it's a car, a bus or a bike, everyone benefits from improved roads," said County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson.
Opposition is coming from two directions: many conservatives who oppose higher taxes... and many liberals who want a broader transportation tax.
"If you are voting yes on this because you don't like sitting on newberry road on gridlock traffic, every morning and every evening, this is not going to solve that problem," said City Commissioner Hawkins.
If this does not pass, the City and the County will work together for a new solution in 2014.
Opponents of the proposal are planning a press conference for tomorrow morning at the Hippodrome.
Commissioner Hawkins will be there... along with some people who usually oppose him politically, including Republican Strategist Alex Patton.
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