ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. During his "State of the County" address on Thursday morning, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced a tax referendum on public transportation.

  • Commuters complain that transportation takes too long
  • Voters would decide whether to raise sales tax to fund transportation issues
  • Demings also announced a wage increase for county workers

Demings announced plans to ask voters to approve a one-cent sales tax increase that would pay for improvements to county roads, SunRail and the Lynx bus system. 

Demings pointed out that some people’s commutes are taking several hours a day.

“That will allow us to fully fund a transportation system that can better serve us well into the future,” said Demings.

Testimonials from commuters who use LYNX and SunRail on a daily basis were used in the speech. They say that it can take them four hours to get work.

The mayor says this referendum will help address some of those issues.

Mayor Jerry Demings says Orange County’s population is expected to grow by 1,000 people a week, so the county must take measures to improve transportation now to accommodate for that rapid growth.  

Angel Vargas has only lived in Orlando for a couple years, but he’s already familiar with how difficult it can be to get around the city.

“I think there’s a lot of people who struggle and are turned off by the commute, or getting on the highway, or don’t have access to a car,” said Vargas.

Vargas took his father down to the downtown Orlando Lynx bus station to help him get a bus pass to get to and from work.  He says he’s happy to hear about the Orange County Mayor’s plans to improve transportation.

“I think if we can make our infrastructure better, that’s drastically important,” said Vargas.

Demings also announced a plan to increase wages for county employees.  He wants to pay all full-time county government employees a minimum of $15 an hour by 2021.

“Building our community together means providing a basic standard of life for all of our citizens,” said Demings.​