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Mayor Jerry Demings Talks Penny Sales Tax with the Orlando City Council

SunRail pulls into Winter Park, Florida. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says leftover revenue from a transportation sales tax could be used for housing or other infrastructure. Demings introduced his penny sales tax proposal at the Orlando City Council meeting on Monday.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings introduced his transportation sales tax at the Orlando City Council meeting on Monday.

He says the penny sales tax will be used to extend SunRail, expand Lynx services, and add more bike paths and sidewalks. And he says local infrastructure projects would create jobs and support small businesses.

“We really haven’t talked about the impact on those who would be the engineers, the architects, the accountants, the realtors, the developers, the construction workers who would benefit as a result of the expenditures.”

But Commissioner Bakari Burns says he wants to make sure these contracts are equally distributed, including to minority owned businesses and contractors.

“So we all communities are truly involved and can participate and benefit from that prosperity that could potentially come from this.”

Demings says leftover revenue would be distributed to individual municipalities for their local infrastructure needs and an advisory board of local leaders and stakeholders will determine how the money is used.

But political analyst Frank Torres is worried it won’t be enough to prevent mismanagement.

“They’ve had funds before and they weren’t popularly used. If you look at the existing situation with transportation management in the region right now there’s not a lot of reason to be optimistic.”

Community members have until February 7 to complete surveys on how to fix the county’s transportation problems. Commissioners will decide in April whether to add the penny sales tax initiative to the November 2020 ballot.

If you would like to listen to the full story, please click on the clips above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur


Danielle Prieur is a general reporter for 90.7 News. She studied journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and interned at 101.9 WDET. She is originally from the metro Detroit area.