Not surprisingly, an organization of local business leaders is supporting a proposal to double the local gasoline tax.
In a letter to the mayor and City Council president, the Jacksonville Community Council President Jeanne Miller expressed support for the tax increase – which will generate local business – but knocked the idea of spending a large part of the proceeds on the Skyway Express boondoggle.
With shortages caused by a cyberattack, amid riding gas prices, it is not a propitious time to support higher taxes on gas but that doesn’t seem to daunt the local politicians leading the effort.
The business leaders sought to dodge that point by saying the tax is more like a user fee and some of it will be paid by people who do not live in Jacksonville.
But Miller noted that Jacksonville is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, which means its revenues from existing taxes should be rising rapidly and that seems to call into question the assertion that a higher tax rate on gas is needed.
In any event, JCC did not mince words about the proposal to waste another $379 million on the Skyway Express.
“The skyway has been an expensive Federal government mistake,” Miller said.
“It never achieved its potential and therefore carries a stigma that can’t be ignored. However, it is necessary to separate that fact from the current reality of this proposal.”
Being stuck with the Skyway, the city should go ahead with plans to change how it operates, Miller said. Rather than an elevated monorail, it would be converted to driverless buses that run overhead and connect to street level.
But JCC said the city should only spend $190 million on the project and let the Jacksonville Transportation Authority find the rest.
With the federal government throwing money out the door without a care, that should not be hard to do.
No boondoggle will go unfunded under the current administration in Washington.
JCC also does not support letting the victims (aka taxpayers) vote on paying twice as much tax on gasoline.
It is the politicians’ duty to make that decision, they say.