JACKSONVILLE, FL – Council Member Aaron Bowman will introduce an amendment to ORD 2021-223 (Local Option Gas Tax) that will ensure our city finally recognizes and remedies the more than fifty-year neglect of the northwestern part of our city. The amendment will modify the current thirty-year, $1 billion legislation that is planned to be spent throughout the city and includes expansion of the skyway system to a more reasonable three-cent, ten-year gas tax with all proceeds going to the Northwest quadrant.
Bowman estimates that this will generate approximately $130 million over the next ten years. These dollars can be used pursuant to FL Statute 336.025 for projects such as roadway and right-of-way drainage, public transportation operations and maintenance, roadway and right-of-way maintenance and equipment, street lighting, bridge maintenance and operation, and other infrastructure needs that have been neglected since consolidation.
“Now is finally time to come through with our promises on which we sold consolidation over fifty years ago. I am disappointed that once again we have been talking about spending massive amounts of money raised by a new tax and we conveniently have forgotten about making this an equitable city. I am confident my colleagues will agree that we have a chance to do something that will make every part of this city a place that is safe, people are proud to live, and infrastructure is first class.”
The City Council will be discussing this legislation over the next several weeks. If this amendment is passed, Bowman will ask the incoming Council President to establish a special working committee that will be charged with establishing an Urban Core Development Authority as recommended by the 2020 Charter Revision Commission. This authority’s board should include residents within the geographical boundaries of the targeted area and have the power to prioritize projects within the NW quadrant. The Urban Core Development Authority should also have an executive director and staff chosen by the UCDA board that has the sole purpose of improving the quality of life in those targeted areas.
Bowman also believes that this tax can be spent as “pay-go” and will prevent long-term bonding agreements and financial commitments.
Through community and public meetings, CM Bowman will educate community members and fellow Council Members on this amendment.