Broward County is home to 1.9 million residents and welcomes 12.8 million visitors a year. More than 64 households move to Broward each day, gas tax revenues used for transit and road projects are flat or declining, and 50 percent of the air pollution in Broward is caused by vehicle emissions.
Broward County is built-out which physically constrains the ability to accommodate an approximately 235,000 new residents expected by the year 2040. It also physically and financially constrains the ability to increase road capacity through the construction of additional travel lanes for automobiles.
Broward voters will decide in November whether they want to increase the county’s sales tax for the next 30 years to raise $16 billion for local transportation projects. Those in favor of the project suggest that the plan targets our biggest traffic problems with solutions that will give residents a greater quality of life. Those opposed have tried to convince the County to consider a 10-year tax, or something far less than 30 years, that proves their numbers are trustworthy and that doesn’t commit Broward to old-school technology in the face of a rapidly changing transportation landscape.
If a majority of voters say yes, the referendum would take the county sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. While it’s called a “penny tax,” it would increase by 17 percent the amount of sales tax charged to consumers for any taxable goods they buy in the county.
In 2006, Broward voters overwhelmingly rejected increasing the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent to improve mass transit. In 2016, Broward County voters defeated a proposal to raise the sales tax for transportation and infrastructure issues. The ballot actually contained two bills that would have resulted in a new 7-percent sales tax.