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Mayor Buddy Dyer Says Orlando Needs to Offer More Affordable Housing, Public Transportation

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Mayor Buddy Dyer highlighted both in his speech at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center today. 

Dyer says Orlando needs to do more when it comes to tackling a shortage of affordable housing.

He said new affordable housing units and an easier permit application process for add-on units and tiny houses has helped.

But he says in order to solve the problem the city needs to continue to consistently receive federal and state assistance.

“The ability of local communities to leverage federal dollars to address this issue is based on population. And that’s why I’m asking every one of our residents to make sure they’re counted in the 2020 census.”

Dyer’s comments come the same week the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether a citizenship question can be added to the census. 

Some experts say the question could deter people in underrepresented communities from completing the questionnaire that's used to decide electoral college seats and federal aid. 

Dyer says inter-related to this issue, is the city's lack of public transportation options.

He says the city is already exploring a SunRail extension to the Orlando International Airport and a high-speed rail line from Miami and Tampa for this reason.

But he also wants to see more city buses and pedestrian walkways.

“And that’s why we’re standing with our residents and we’re standing with Mayor Demings to invest in expanded mobility options in Central Florida.”

In his state of the county address, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings recommended a penny tax increase to pay for some of these projects. 

Dyer says making sure residents can live, work and commute more easily will not only encourage long-term residents to stay in the city, but it will attract new businesses and employees to the area.

He says the city is already leading the region in high-tech job opportunities which could be boosted by a 5G network.

“They help us understand why the race to 5G is a modern equivalent to the space race and why Orlando needs to win that race.”

The city has already started to expedite the permit process for companies that install 5G networks. 

Dyer has been Mayor since 2003 but he'll be running for re-election in the fall. 

Aretha Simons and Shantele Bennett will be his opponents in the municipal race.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.