The latest fundraising reports tied to the Orange County Transportation Penny Sales Tax initiative continue to dominated by special interests, as proponents hope to pass the measure before voters this year, in hopes of being able to tap into new revenue for their own operations.
Engineering firms hoping to win new projects, and real estate interests, trying to take the pressure off of their own affordable housing controversies, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaign that will look to garner support for an initiative that could cost Orange County residents an additional $390 per year (story HERE), in addition to whatever families are paying for public transportation or fuel costs now.
The Orange County Penny Sales Tax was marketed to the people as a revenue source that would provide LYNX with more buses and add new routes to Sunrail, which remains a spine of a rail system after years of setbacks.
However, these fundraising numbers demonstrate an interest from organizations that would lean towards road projects, which is exactly what many public transportation advocates in the area had hoped to avoid.
The measure barely survived a vote by commissioners to get on the ballot. And every special interest in the region testified in favor of it. Tapping even further into taxpayer dollars relieves these organizations from having to dig into their own coffers to help their undperpaid employees get to work.
All of this is taking place against the backdrop of the worst affordable housing crisis in Orlando’s history. Many of the supporters of this tax also oppose fair rent measures that would help working families in the area.
You can view the campaign finance reports HERE