On November 4th, 2014, the voters of Alachua County will be faced with an important decision. A “No” vote for Moving Alachua County Forward will result in further neglect of our crumbling infrastructure, a result of nearly 20 years of intentional governmental misdirection. A YES vote for Moving Alachua County Forward would address immediate need for road improvements, traffic safety, senior transportation improvements, overall transit improvement and bicycle and pedestrian access. Our crumbling infrastructure is a problem that, if ignored, as it has been for years, will continue to fester and become the negative differentiator for our community as we seek competitive economic development opportunities over our peer communities.
There is a better choice; Moving Alachua County Forward.
Moving Alachua County Forward is a "...general election ballot referendum for a 1 cent Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax that will fund improvements to the Alachua County transportation system as well as transportation improvements for every municipality in Alachua County." This tax will not be paid on groceries, rent or prescription medicine, and will be paid by visitors as well as residents. Because of this, about 25-30 percent of sales tax is projected to be paid for by out of town visitors.
Why this method as opposed to a gas or property tax? With more and more fuel efficient vehicles on our roads, gas tax can’t cover the rising costs of road construction. In the case of property tax, property tax payers, especially non-homestead property owners, would be particularly hard hit. Only 12 of the 67 counties in Florida do not have a discretionary sales surtax, Alachua County being one of them.
Moving Alachua County Forward is projected to generate at least $240,000,000 during its 8 year life. At least 95%, or $228 million, will go to repair roads in Alachua County, with the remaining 5% going to bicycle and pedestrian projects. This plan will raise these funds to combat our current road repair backlog of $380 million. Without these funds, our backlog will continue to grow, as the local governing bodies have diverted revenue away from these crucial projects.
Accountability in government, or lack thereof, led Alachua County into our current state of disrepair. Moving Alachua County Forward is specifically designed to restore the constituents' trust in government through a carefully crafted plan. Moving Alachua County requires each municipality receiving funds from the program to have a project list. Funds from the program may only be used on projects that have been vetted and appear on these project lists. Furthermore, Moving Alachua County Forward has a citizen oversight committee, whose express duty is to protect the interest of the community and hold the governing bodies accountable. The oversight committee will perform an annual audit, preventing misallocation of funds.
On November 4th, voters of Alachua County can elect to stand for progress toward additional economic diversity. We can stand for safer roads and transit options for future generations. We can take it upon ourselves to hold our government accountable and correct the poor decisions of the past. In Alachua County, our roads are our future.
Please consider voting yes for Moving Alachua County Forward on November 4th.