The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: thelakelander on April 15, 2021, 09:16:26 AM

Title: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: thelakelander on April 15, 2021, 09:16:26 AM
Quote
(https://photos.moderncities.com/photos/i-PdcHBrX/0/L/i-PdcHBrX-L.jpg)

The gas tax increase proposed by Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority would be Jacksonville's largest injection of funding for infrastructure in years. Unfortunately, by committing 40% of the funding to JTA's Skyway plans, two major, potentially transformative projects are largely left out: the Emerald Trail and the return of Amtrak to Downtown.


Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/gas-tax-should-include-emerald-trail-downtown-amtrak/
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: Charles Hunter on April 15, 2021, 09:43:23 AM
Excellent opinion piece, with the points very logically made.
I urge forwarding this to all members of City Council.
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: CityLife on April 15, 2021, 12:19:34 PM
Nicely done. I'd love to see the Groundwork Jax team come up with a formal ask to be included in the gas tax funding (that residents and businesses can lobby Council/Mayor for) and do some analysis about how that money would be more transformative than what is listed on the current project list. Shouldn't be too hard to attack a few of the projects on the below list.

 https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A6e32ee87-ec44-463d-b36f-18d8e018b80d#pageNum=2

Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: bl8jaxnative on April 15, 2021, 01:12:54 PM

The only thing more wasteful that's been proposed is the evaluator for the robot buses to get on the Skyway.

Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: WAJAS on April 15, 2021, 02:05:04 PM
Did the Lavilla Link of the Emerald Trail ever start construction? I remember that was going to happen last Fall originally.
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: thelakelander on April 15, 2021, 02:23:09 PM
Not yet. It is supposed to soon.
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: CityLife on April 15, 2021, 03:41:00 PM

The only thing more wasteful that's been proposed is the evaluator for the robot buses to get on the Skyway.

(https://media.tenor.com/images/a87c5b0b22cc7a9136f6f04f7af0643b/tenor.png)
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: Ken_FSU on April 15, 2021, 10:21:30 PM
Awesome piece as always fellas.

Could not agree more that both of these projects are a hundred times more transformative than a half-billion dollar network of clowncars.

The only caveat that I'll add is that, from my understanding of the gas tax proposal, the Emerald Trail would have to come at the expense of a city project on the list, rather than a JTA project, leaving the full Skyway budget intact.

In other words, I'm not sure we could take money from the Skyway and put it toward the Emerald Trail.

Because of the complexities of the COJ/JTA revenue split (JTA's entitled to 83% of existing gas tax funds through 2036 and 50% of all of the incremental gas tax revenue beyond that), it seems like the overall pot is split into two rigid parts - JTA's piece of the pie for their projects, and the City's piece of the pie for their projects (which the Emerald Trail would have to be).

So, even if the city agreed to add the Emerald Trail to their project lost, we've still got the $380 million Skyway 2.0 boondoggle hanging around the neck of the gas tax proposal unless JTA magically wakes up and decides they want to put their massive piece of the pie toward something the public and City Council would actually get behind.

It's a shame, it's an otherwise solid project list and a good plan overall, but even with the Emerald Trail and Amtrak baked in, the Skyway is going to bring the entire thing crashing down. To your point, the optics would be SO MUCH better if they cut the Skyway budget in half and included Amtrak and commuter rail to St. Augustine.

Really, my biggest issue with this gas tax is that roughly $450 million will go to the City, who has a solid list of projects that will free up revenue in the general fund to correct other longstanding issues in the community. And roughly $450 has to go to JTA, who has no plan aside from a ferry boat, a cheap commuter rail study, and nearly $400 million in clown cars.

Even with 10 Emerald Trails included in the city's half of the pie, it'd be really hard for me to support giving $450 million to the JTA with their track record and their poorly thought out plan for the money.

It's such a classic Jacksonville Catch-22.

If we want to build the Emerald Trail, improve infrastructure, and fulfill the promises of consolidation, we'll also need to spent $380 million sending plodding clownmobiles into mixed traffic.


Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: thelakelander on April 15, 2021, 10:49:13 PM
I'm pretty confident that the Emerald Trail will end up with some level of funding in the gas tax. All the reasons that it can't will go away if it looks like the entire plan is going to die due to so much being dedicated to the Skyway. It seems like a no brainer to put your face behind something that most of the community supports. But yeah, it is crazy to see the U2C is now almost double the cost of a streetcar system. Especially after all the years of being told that rail was too expensive.
Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: Ken_FSU on April 15, 2021, 10:55:52 PM
I'm pretty confident that the Emerald Trail will end up with some level of funding in the gas tax. It seems like a no brainer to put your face behind something that most of the community supports.

I really hope you're right.

I could just imagine a Brian Hughes type trying to claim it wasn't a true transportation project  ::)

Would love to see the Jags throw in $5 million as well, perhaps in exchange for Kids Campus.

Lord knows they can affordi it with the new television deals signed this year.



Title: Re: Gas tax should include Emerald Trail & Downtown Amtrak
Post by: thelakelander on April 16, 2021, 06:14:11 AM
I definitely can see someone trying to claim that initially. It's a very privileged perspective though, considering the trails provide safe bike and ped access to transit and even the U2C in underrepresented communities. Given the cost is peanuts in comparison to many projects on the draft list, but very popular with the community, I believe that type of sentiment will go by the wayside if inclusion helps sell council.