Elected officials in Broward County are asking voters for a tax increase they say would help fund much needed transportation improvements.
The sales tax in Broward is currently six percent but the proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot would bump that up to seven percent, and to make sure the added tax isn’t too much of a burden officials have put a cap on the amount to be paid.
Broward Mayor Beam Furr said he gets calls every day about transportation issues.
"They are either asking me 'What can you do about traffic? It’s taking me forever, or there is no bus coming to this house, why I had to be three hours on a bus or the bus was late,'" Furr said.
The campaign is called the "Penny for Transportation" and the county’s website offers explanations and details on the additional one percent sales tax.
Project highlights include installing smart signal technology to reduce traffic congestion, re-configuring 122 bottleneck intersections across the county, improving drainage to reduce flooding and adding about 270 buses and new bus routes and some 1,400 new bus stops.
More expensive items, like cars, would be subjected to the additional one percent tax. But it’s capped at $5,000 per sale, so the maximum additional tax on a big ticket purchase would be $50.
"It's not that huge, it is still money, I don’t want to demean that, but it’s not...it’s a fill-up, one fill-up," Furr said.
The additional tax would be imposed for 30 years and would generate about $300 million each year. County officials say the average annual cost to a Broward household would be about $174.
Furr said light rail on major corridors is one component to the plan. Officials in Broward are hoping the estimated $15 billion generated over the next 30 years will calm their traffic woes.