Lake County consider 5-cent per gallon gas tax to pay for road projects


LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Hundreds of miles of roads in Lake County are in bad shape, and drivers may be asked to pay for new blacktop.

County leaders are looking at a controversial five-cent hike in the gasoline tax to cover roadway repairs.

Resident Allen Kane said he drives a lot and knows a lot of the roads are in rough shape, but he doesn't like the idea of a gas tax.

A five-cent tax per gallon of gasoline would raise more than $5 million a year, and officials would like to put it to the resurfacing costs of 300 roads.

Each road is expected to last up to 25 years, officials said.

"But 20 to 25 years is really pushing it," said Public Works Director Jim Stivender. "So you get cracking and potholes and you get settling.  It's time to resurface the roads."

Commissioner Jimmy Conner said with a gas tax, everybody pays, including out-of-county commuters and tourists. He said he'd prefer that as opposed to raising impact fees on the construction of new businesses and homes.

"The economy is not growing the way a lot of people want to make you think it is," Conner said. "So I think reinstating impact fees right now is a job-killer for Lake County."

But Kane said Lake County commuters will feel the pain.

"It's not going to be good," said Kane. "With the economy the way it is, trying to get to work, the people that drive. Not everybody works 10 miles from the house."

If the county pushes forward, a gas tax would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.