Broward Cities That Get Behind A Proposed Transportation Surtax Would Get Funding, County Says

Aug 23, 2018

If a penny tax on the Nov. 6 Broward County ballot passes, cities who support the tax could get at least 10 percent of the money generated to fund their own transportation projects. 

The county commission is trying to get cities to support the surtax, which would raise the countywide sales tax from six cents per dollar, to seven.

The 30-year surtax for transportation upgrades would go toward projects like synchronizing traffic lights, laying fiber-optic cables for the lights, and adding more electric buses, among others.

 

County Commissioner for District 1, Nan Rich, told WLRN Wednesday one of the goals would be to streamline services between the county and city. 

"One of the biggest things people talk about is traffic," she said. "The number one call we get in this office is about transportation disadvantage."  

The county's transportation agency, the Metropolitan and Planning Organization, would prioritize qualifying projects among different cities. 

"There's over 700 already that have been put in," Rich said. "Many of the cities today fund their own community bus service. All of those things, the county is going to fund, for the entire county."

Not all cities were excited about the offer. Some said they hoped for more than 10 percent, or that the money could be distributed differently.

The surtax could also go toward funding a light rail system, according to the county. The Broward County Commission voted in May to kill Fort Lauderdale's planned Wave Streecar system, after the city no longer wanted to move forward with the controversial project's rising costs.

Broward County also asked voters to approve a tax to upgrade infrastructure and transportation projects in 2016. Despite support, that half-penny surtax did not go into effect, because it was paired with a second half-penny tax on the ballot that did not pass.

If this year's proposed whole-penny surtax does pass in November, it's estimated to generate approximately $300 million in its first year.