Sometimes things happen that affect us that we never know happened until it is too late. Here are two:
1. 30% of our gas tax money from road improvements can be diverted to mass transit
This one is a done deal and already voted on. I attended a MetroPlan meeting and there was a vote taken to potentially divert 30% of our gas tax money from road improvements into mass transit. The way I understand this is our gas tax money goes into a pot to fix our roads and build new roads. Now MetroPlan Orlando which is a board of 19 key members in 3 counties has the opportunity to take 30% of this money and put it into mass transit if they vote on it and approve it starting in 2020. The reason for 2020 is because MetroPlan does not want to rearrange projects that are already approved on the 5 year plan so this would take effect after the 5 years.
How does this affect us? Our gas tax money is how our roads are maintained. Orange County uses the gas tax money it receives to maintain the roads such as fixing potholes. Starting in 2020 if the MetroPlan votes for a mass transit project over road improvements then expect more potholes and more mass transit such as buses and Sun Rail.
The vote at the MetroPlan meeting was unanimous with Commissioner Edwards fully against it. If that sounds wierd, it is. A vote was taken and before Commissioner Edwards could vote no, Chairman Swan moved on to the next subject. Commissioner Edwards comments immediately after on the vote and was told the vote was done. Commissioner Edwards left the meeting at that time. Shortly after Chairman Swan brought the subject back after being advised that the vote should have asked for any opposed. A new vote was taken and was unanimous because Commissioner Edwards was not present with a note in the minutes stating that Commissioner Edwards was not present. That was a bit strange watching it unfold. Here is a memo written by Commissioner Edwards to Chairman Swan expressing concern over the vote. Memo from Commissioner Edwards RE MetroPlan Board Discussion
2. A bill that was defeated but has momentum and is due to come back that will affect roads
There is a bill that went through legislature that was backed by utility companies to stop utility companies from paying for the relocation of utilities such as poles and make the local government pay for this relocation when roads are changed or built. This would add a tremendous burden to road repairs and new roads. It was defeated but has a powerful lobbyist effort behind it driven by utility companies. It will probably reappear in the next fiscal year which starts in September. We need to keep an eye on this as it will most certainly affect road upkeep.
Check out this video and article from Channel 9.