JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We all have felt and seen how the price of gas has affected our wallets and Jacksonville Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber says relief, not more pain at the pump, is needed.
"The gas tax is wildly unpopular,” she said to First Coast News.
She filed this ordinance Monday, asking to repeal the six cent gas tax increase city council approved in May.
She says the local improvement projects that are expected to benefit from the nearly $1 billion it would fund in the next three decades will soon come from the federal government after Congress passed a $1 trillion plan this fall.
"We have infrastructure needs today. So, we need to figure out how to pay for that today but we shouldn't be mortgaging our future for the next 30 years to do it,” she said.
The US Department of Transportation says the state is likely to receive $19 billion for projects that include airport improvements, bridge and highway repair and replacement and improvements in public transportation, as well as billions more in competitive bidding for park and rail upgrades.
"It is money that is guaranteed to Florida through this $1.2 trillion. If we can't get a huge chunk of that, shame on us. We are the largest city in Florida,” Cumber said.
A spokesperson for the city of Jacksonville told First Coast News:
"Mayor Curry worked in conjunction with City Council earlier this year to create a revenue source that would benefit the citizens of Jacksonville, and provide thousands of local jobs. The local option gas tax will generate $1 billion over the next 30 years for much-needed transportation infrastructure projects like sidewalks, drainage, bridges, and other improvements. We are grateful to the City Council for their strong support to fulfill broken promises that date back as many as 50 years."
However, Cumber says paying for those broken promises shouldn't come at the expense of children, including her own, who she says would be paying for these projects for the next 30 years.
"It is a wildly irresponsible thing to do. It hurts all the kids who are now in elementary school because they are going to be paying that tax long after the projects are completed,” she said.
Cumber plans to bring the ordinance to city council in mid-December.
You can view the full ordinance below: