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Orange County's road and transit tax referendum takes an early exit

Commissioner Mayra Uribe.
Orange County TV
Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe said she couldn't support a proposed transportation sales tax for this November's ballot.

The Orange County Commission decided Tuesday not to ask county voters again for a transportation sales tax until at least 2026.

At the commission meeting, county staff presented a plan with options for a half-cent or one-cent tax over 10 or 20 years. It aimed to bolster public transit; improve traffic, bike and pedestrian safety; and lessen congestion.

It had funding for cities, LYNX and SunRail improvements, and long lists of safety and widening projects.

Less than two years ago, county voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar tax.

And Tuesday, commissioners raised concerns about transit routes, road widening and other funding sources.

"I just feel like we're doing the same thing over," Commissioner Mayra Uribe said. "And I couldn't support this for this ballot right now. If we can work on it in two years, would be a different story. But as of today, I don't support it."

Commissioners faced a deadline -- a public hearing by April 23rd -- to get the tax on November’s ballot.

So in the end, Mayor Jerry Demings asked to put off his proposed referendum until 2026.

"Whoever's on the board can have workshops that we can lead into it," he said, "but because I think, realistically, given the complexities of the issues that you have brought up, we can't get that done by the 23rd."

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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