Brandon drivers hoping for some relief at the pumps aren’t likely to get it from Hillsborough County.
The commission is expected to discuss extending the county’s 6-cent gas tax during its Wednesday, April 3, meeting.
The local option gas tax, which expires Aug. 31, funds road maintenance projects. If it’s allowed to expire, the county and its three cities stand to lose millions.
“If the Fuel Tax is not extended, the County would lose an estimated $1,780,000 in FY 13 revenue that is currently used exclusively for the maintenance of transportation infrastructure,” the commission agenda reads. “The estimated loss in FY 14 and future years is estimated at $21.5 million per year.”
The cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City would also take a funding cut if the levy isn’t extended. This year alone, the three cities would lose about $842,000 and an estimated $10.1 million combined in 2014.
The county has levied a local option gas tax since 1983, a county report says. The issue of extending the tax came up earlier this year as commissioners were presented with a financial forecast for the county. While still tight from the recession, the county’s budget is looking up, staff members told commissioners. The loss gas tax revenue, however, could produce a strain on the county’s transportation maintenance program and overall budget outlook.
Tom Fesler, the county’s budget director, said in an earlier interview that the funding source is an important one for the county. Without it, “we’d have to look at some pretty signification reductions in our traffic area,” Fesler said.
If the tax is extended, the county faces a $3.2 million budget deficit in fiscal 2014. Without it that number grows to about $25.2 million, Fesler said.
The commission meets Wednesday at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. The gas tax discussion has a time certain slot of 11:30 a.m.
Are you willing to keep paying more at the pump to keep Brandon area roads maintained? What roads would you like to see get a little attention in the maintenance department? Share your thoughts in the comments section.