Rental Car Surcharge Proposal Might Receive a ‘Chilly Reception’

A Florida Orange County Commissioner is seeking a $2 rental-car surcharge to help pay for future transit needs, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Commissioner Ted Edwards wants to enlist voters to help get the surcharge approved.

County Mayor Teresa Jacobs had earlier proposed putting the issue to the voters in a straw poll next year, but she has since backed away from the referendum.

Edwards, however, is citing looming operating costs tied to the $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train and long-standing funding challenges with the Lynx bus system in his desire for the surcharge.

Past ideas for transit funding included a penny sales tax and the $2 surcharge on rental cars, but voters or state lawmakers have turned those ideas down during the past decade.

Anti-tax legislators who now control the House and Senate are against the rental-car surcharge to pay for transit, with one saying tax increases will find a "chilly reception" in the Florida House.

Commissioner Fred Brummer opposes a rental-car surcharge to pay for transit and suspects Tallahassee politicians would oppose it, too, as long as Orange leaders fail to enact higher gas taxes for transit.

A $2.50 per rental-car charge that airport leaders enacted in 2008 is scheduled to expire in a few years, when it pays off Orlando International Airport upgrades, including rental-car parking spaces and fueling stations.

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