Lee County is being asked to give $600,000 to an effort to promote a tax hike. The Metropolitan Planning Organization wants the money to formulate a plan to sell a tax increase to voters. The tax hike would be in the sales tax - from 6 cents per dollar to 7.
"I am against it because of the tight budget and the fact that the commissioners are capable of formulating a plan for public transportation," said Lee Commissioner John Manning. "We are not ready for a full transit authority with light rail transit and all that. We don't have the population here. A tax increase, I believe, would be defeated big-time by the voters."
Beth Schultz, a homeowner in south Ft. Myers, agrees. "I say transportation for roads is good, but not a rail system. And we do not need bigger government," she told WINK.
The planning group wants to push for a tax hike. The extra money would fund a new Lee Transit Authority. It would possibly build a light rail system, and it would try to improve bus service as well.
Don Scott of the planning group says: "I am not shocked this idea is not popular. I know the budget is tight. If it is defeated, we will have to find other ways to improve transit. But I do not have an answer on how to improve it, at this time, without the extra money and taxing authority."
Lee Commissioners are supposed to vote on the $600,000 next week.