Does one cent make sense? Transportation planners eye sales tax to help residents get ‘from point A to point B to point C’ without a car

It’ll be up to voters to extend an existing sales tax charge in Palm Beach County for transportation but the conversation broke out in public for the first time Thursday.

A powerful countywide planning body gave notice Thursday that it may push for a voter referendum to extend a 1-cent sales tax for transportation projects.

County voters approved the extra sales tax on top of the county’s 6-cent per $1 charge in November 2016 to pay for construction projects at schools and municipalities. It is on pace to sunset in 2025 or 2026 at the latest.

Keeping that penny in place could provide $270 million or more a year for transportation projects, enough to pay for a broad wish-list topped by adding a coastal commuter rail line. The money also could help pay for road projects hit by dwindling gas tax revenues.

Weinroth

County Commissioner Robert Weinroth raised the prospect Thursday during a discussion of creating bus lanes on major roads at the monthly meeting of the Palm Beach County Transportation Planning Agency board, which is made up of 21 elected officials, including five county commissioners. 

continue reading

The intersection of bad to worse: I-95 fixes stuck in the slow lane

Work needed by 2040 but projects in a logjam with too much to do, not enough money to do it.

When traffic engineers peered into their crystal ball in 2015 to study Interstate 95 interchanges in Palm Beach County, they saw a major need. 

Not just a need to add more lanes to handle ever-growing traffic on the major north-south highway.

They saw 17 interchanges between Linton Boulevard and Northlake where congestion is expected to get so bad that traffic would spill over onto the main highway and cross traffic would be forced to wait longer and longer to let vehicles enter and exit the highway. 

The $1.7 million study by consulting engineers Kimley-Horn put into motion a plan that in the next 10 years could cost $450 million at 15 of the 17 interchanges. 

continue reading