Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and local business, elected, community and labor leaders announced the official start of the campaign during a press conference at Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C.
Adam Beaton, a transit rider who oversees membership services for the Local 362 Union Hall “Unite Here!,” remembered the times he’s had to sleep at the airport not to miss a flight because there weren’t and still aren’t enough public transit routes to meet his needs. He said he’s also had to spend money he barely saved to pay for an Uber from the bus station to his job, just because he would not arrive on time waiting for public transport.
“We can do much more, we can do better,” he said.
With residents like Beaton in mind, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and local business, elected, community and labor leaders announced the official start of the campaign Move Orange County Forward to support the initiative to fund transportation needs.
The kick-off campaign was announced during a press conference at Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C. The Move Orange County Forward campaign will rally support for the one-cent sales tax referendum that will appear on the November ballot.
If the transportation sales tax referendum is passed, revenues would start being collected on January 1, 2023, and could bring in approximately $600 million per year to be dedicated to transportation issues like the ones Beaton and thousands of Orange County residents face daily.
“More than 50 percent will be paid for by tourists,” Mayor Demings said.
“It will be an economic driver that will create jobs, opportunities, and connectivity.”Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings
He described this move as “an evolutionary process that will be something going forward for decades.”
Demings began the push for the referendum in 2019 by implementing a transportation survey and hosting more than 200 community meetings to better understand the concerns and needs of the residents. More than 19,000 residents responded to the survey, and thousands of people attended more than 270 community meetings
“Together, we can build a region prepared for the future. The time to act is now.”Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings
Demings was joined by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who invited people to “imagine what our future could look like if we boldly invest in our regional transportation system. The referendum will double our transit system, creating more frequent, reliable, and faster LYNX bus service. It will add evening and weekend service to SunRail, increasing frequency and access to more locations, connecting service to the airport, adding an east-west route and more hours of operation.”
“We need a transportation infrastructure that keeps up with our growth. Our future depends on it.”Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
The Orlando Economic Partnership will be working hand-in-hand with other community organizations, nonprofits, unions, bike and pedestrian safety groups, and all economic and community partners in the region to push the community to get out and vote for the penny tax that will help improve the transportation of our region in the future.
“On behalf of the region’s economic and community development organization Orlando Economic Partnership, they have our support,” said Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Partnership.
“This one cent sales tax dedicated to transportation will be a game changer for our community residents, businesses, and visitors. The future of transportation impacts all Orange County residents.”Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership
Giuliani highlighted how improving roads and transportation will help connect residents to hundreds of thousands of jobs, bolstering the strength of our economy and the breadth of opportunity available.
“Here’s a startling statistic: Today, those who have access to a car can reach nearly 527,000 jobs in a 30-minute commute. Those who rely on transit alone have access to just 5,600 jobs within that same 30-minute commute,” he said.
“If we do nothing, many of our challenges today will grow.”Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership
The future economic competitiveness of the region, Giuliani said, “depends on a robust, efficient and fully-funded transportation system. This is why we need the employers and employees of our region to come together. Together, we can build a region prepared for the future. The time to act is now,” he added.
For Gaby Ortigoni, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO), having better transportation is a personal issue. As her mother’s caretaker, who is legally blind, Ortigini has to transport her everywhere.
“A better transportation system would help my mother and hundreds of thousands like her. It would help our working class, those who live in multigenerational families and rely on just one car. It helps all of us.”Gaby Ortigoni, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
“It is not surprising that the number of passengers on public transport by bus is mainly made up of low-income service workers. Because this workforce is overwhelmingly female and mostly people of color, I’m here today to tell you that we need to invest in transit to create more access and affordability for this community. Our mission of promoting opportunities for progress for various entrepreneurs and professionals goes hand in hand with having a reliable transit system that allows them to get to and from their destinations efficiently,” Ortigoni added.
Eliza Harris Juliano, Board member and spokesperson for Bike/Walk Central Florida, could barely hold back her tears when she spoke about road safety.
“Better roads and better transportation keep us all safe.”Eliza Harris Juliano, Board member and spokesperson for Bike/Walk Central Florida
To learn more about this initiative that will appear on the November 8 ballot, visit moveorangecountyforward.com.