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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jun. 11, 201412:00 PM EST

Mayor lets gas-tax extension become law without signature

by: David Chapman

Mayor Alvin Brown has said for some time he was against a bill to extend the 6-cent gas tax another 20 years.

But instead of vetoing the legislation, he’s letting it become law without his signature.

City Council passed the measure May 27, its last full council meeting. Like all council-passed measures, it went to Brown for approval. Brown returned it Friday to the city’s Legislative Services Department without his signature.

“As you know, I have long been opposed to extending the local option gas tax,” his letter reads. “We have more than two years before it is due to expire in August 2016.”

He went on to say that “given reasonable concerns” about the revenue’s sustainability, increased fuel efficiency and use of alternative fuels, “we should have taken the time remaining to have an in-depth community conversation” about transportation funding.

The bill extends the 6-cent tax through 2036, providing 5 cents for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority for projects and debt service. The other 1 cent goes to the city for road maintenance and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The JTA has said it will bond about $100 million to finance several road projects.

In his letter, Brown acknowledges that 16 members of council voted in favor of the ordinance, which is why he decided not to veto the legislation.

The bill passed 16-1, with council member Stephen Joost the only dissenting vote.

Vetoing it would have meant the measure would have headed back to the full council for another vote, requiring a two-thirds supermajority to override a veto.

Mayors can sign legislation into law, veto it or allow it to become law without a signature.

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