One of the more memorable lines from that movie is at the conclusion, when Emmett "Doc" Brown says, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."
Doc was responding to Marty's concern that there was not enough road length to accelerate their vehicle up to 88 mph and travel through time.
When I hear Mayor Alvin Brown say he won't recommend extending the 6-cent local gas tax when it runs out in 2016, it makes me think the mayor doesn't believe where Jacksonville is heading in the future we will need to build and maintain roads.
In 1986 the City Council passed a 6-cent local gas tax, which has been extended by two mayors and a pair of Councils. The millions of dollars from that gas tax have been a major source of funds for road construction and maintenance.
Brown has stood strong in his opposition to imposing any new taxes for the two years he's been in office, but the 6-cent gas tax is not new. In 2016, when it is scheduled to end it will be 30 years old.
A lapse in the gas tax, could truly drag us back in time.
For the 13 years following the launch of the City-county government consolidation, Jacksonville wore as a badge of honor the lowest property taxes in Florida — and generally lower than anywhere in America.
Year after year, Mayor Hans Tanzler refused to offer even the slightest property tax increase. Most years he and the Council took great pride in reducing the millage rate.
Keeping taxes low was proof that the new consolidation was far more efficient and less costly than the previous local system.
But, there was one big problem.
Year after year, as the City lowered taxes it also went without investing in new infrastructure needed for growth or even maintaining what we owned.
Roads weren't built and potholes weren't filled. Drainage issues in some parts of the city were never addressed. Water, sewer and electric-utility plant maintenance was pretty much non-existent.
Light poles in the baseball park next to the decaying Gator Bowl leaned and were about to fall.
In some ways, we really could claim being the "Bold New City of the South." But behind the bumper-sticker slogan, capital investment in public works projects just didn't happen.
In 1978 when Jake Godbold became mayor, in some ways, he inherited a crumbling city that required great attention.
Remember the auto-repair advertising slogan, "You can pay me now, or pay me later"?
Well, because we didn't invest much for about 13 years, we paid a lot to catch up.
But, let's talk about the gas tax and why it needs to be extended. A recipient of the funds from the gas tax is the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
The authority is far more than a bus company.
Originally called the Jacksonville Expressway Authority, the authority has built roads, highways and bridges throughout Jacksonville that connect us as a city and creates millions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs.
The authority has a new, dynamic and professional leader in Nathanial Ford. Without the gas tax, Ford will have at least one hand tied behind his back as he works to build the kind of transportation network Jacksonville needs and deserves. .
The Florida Times-Union recently reported that spending on public works projects in the past two years has dramatically fallen. Funds being spent in the 2012-13 budget year is just $47.4 million, half of what it was the year before and less than one-third of the $168.2 million Mayor John Peyton invested in 2010-11, his last year in office.
Brown regularly talks about leading Jacksonville "to the next level."
He is right about where we should and need to proceed, but the City — and taxpayers — must be willing to invest in the future, not simply sit still while the house around us falls down.
If the City doesn't invest in roads and utilities, if libraries are closed and neighborhoods are unsafe because of a reduction in police officers, we have to realize our economy will not be sound because people won't want to live in Jacksonville. New businesses won't relocate here.
Brown, correctly, is talking to businesses and civic and religious organizations to build partnerships.
Regardless, it's the government that builds roads, keeps libraries open and makes neighborhoods safe — and, that takes money that is wisely invested.
In a recent podcast, I heard former basketball player Bill Walton say something I think applies here. Walton said, "If you don't know where you're going, ask someone who has been there."
That's great advice, especially when it comes to the future of the 6-cent gas tax. Brown should ask mayors Godbold, John Delaney and Peyton what Jacksonville can expect if the gas tax disappears.
Jacksonville Community Council Inc. is really pressing forward and doing great work in its effort to have the community shape what we want Jacksonville to be in 2025. The goals are shaping up with a consensus.
As a next step, the organization wants to see if people are willing to pay for their dreams.
The outcome will be interesting.
One thing is for sure: The public must have confidence that if it agrees to invest money in the future, our City officials are doing it right.
If the mayor buys into a community consensus on our future, then he must be willing to sell that vision to the entire community, including spending the funds to take us "to the next level."
Sometimes I think Jacksonville is in a time machine and we are trying to travel backward, just like in the movie "Back to the Future."