We hope Osceola residents will vote to improve Lynx

Great news! Osceola County is taking steps to create a dedicated source for funding that can help both the Lynx bus and SunRail. The rest of Central Florida should follow Osceola’s lead.

On May 21st Osceola County voters will have the opportunity to approve a one-cent sales tax for transportation. If voters support the referendum, money raised by that tax can be used for a variety of transportation improvements from road widening to helping Lynx and SunRail.


Kissimmee Intermodal Station
That’s outstanding. Please vote "for" this referendum.

Lynx is catastrophically underfunded. Right now, the Florida Department of Transportation is helping to fund SunRail. In 2 years that becomes the responsibility of local governments.

Public transit – Lynx and SunRail – don’t raise enough from the fare box to fully pay operating costs. If government didn’t subsidize public transit, people would have to pay up to $14 for a one-way ride on some Lynx routes.

No public transit system in the world can pay for operations solely from the fare box. Typically, a transit system can pay about 30 percent of the costs from fares. Beyond that, they need government support.

Remember, public transit is a service. The police and fire are also very expensive services paid for by the government. Unlike police and fire, transit raises some of the money needed to pay for its operating costs. Keep in mind that all transportation – from the street outside your house to the airlines – receive government subsidies.

Up to now, every year Lynx officials must go hat-in-hand to local governments to beg for money to keep the buses rolling. This creates a precarious situation, which makes it difficult to improve the bus service.

Osceola County Commissioners demonstrated enormous wisdom and courage in putting this issue up for voters to decide.

No elected official likes to raise the subject of increasing taxes, but "for"  this issue is an important investment in Osceola's future. One of the great things about this referendum is it includes a little something for everyone.

If approved, this tax would raise $67 million per year.

That money will go to:
·        Improve roads and bridges
·        Install sidewalks and bike lanes
·        Help Lynx and SunRail.
For more details on the tax and how the money will be used, click here.

Osceola County residents make great use of public transit. You can see that every day in the crowds at the Intermodal station in downtown Kissimmee that serves Lynx and SunRail. You can also see it on the SunRail trains. They’re packed leaving and returning to Osceola.

Granted adding a penny to the sales tax will put a squeeze on some residents. But the sacrifice is worth it because communities with a strong transportation system – both roads and public transit – are attractive to investors and that means more employers; more and better employment opportunities, and a better standard of living for everyone.

We encourage Osceola residents to vote “for” this sales-tax referendum on May 21st.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that on May 21st, Volusia County is also holding a vote to increase the sales tax by a half-cent. Sadly, that money is for infrastructure improvements, which includes roads. None of that money can be used for Votran or SunRail.

That’s a shame, and very shortsighted.

Meanwhile, we’ll rejoice that Osceola County is showing real leadership on public transit funding. We urge Orlando, Orange, and Seminole counties to get on board with dedicated funding sources for public transit.

We need it now, more than ever!


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