Universal Studios has asked Orange County to pay $125 million to help build a road connecting their theme parks.

Then Orange County is going to ask you to raise your own sales taxes...for even more transportation funds.

Free Yard Sign! NO tax increase if Universal gets $125 million!

FAQs

Is the $125 million road a new proposal?

Universal’s Kirkman extension is not listed in the I-Drive Redevelopment Plan, which is a prerequisite for the county-controlled CRA to spend any money on it. In fact, the road has NEVER been listed in that plan, from 1998 until today. That means the county did not ever have a plan to spend a single dollar to build the road—until Universal planned its theme park expansion.

Could the money for the road be spent on something else?

The money is coming mostly from a fund that could be used for affordable housing, community policing, or a train connection to the airport. The fund, called the International Drive Community Redevelopment Agency, is controlled by the county commission. But the county commission has never voted to spend the I Drive CRA money on those purposes.

Just how much is $125 million?

It’s more than double what Orange County spends in a year on Lynx, our bus agency ($45 million in 2018). It’s enough to pay for all SunRail riders’ fare for 35 years. But it’s only paying for 1.7 miles of this road.

Who is the road deal structured to benefit?

The road design that Universal proposed has a very high price tag attached: their estimate that says it’ll cost $315 million to build, more than the I-4 Ultimate costs per mile. But if it comes in under budget? “Universal – rather than taxpayers – would get most, if not all, of the savings.

Could Universal pay for its own road?

Comcast, the parent company of Universal Studios, gained $12.7 billion from the Trump tax cuts. Comcast’s theme park division alone generated $1.3 billion in just three months last year.

Will Universal’s taxes double when the new park opens?

All of the property taxes from their new park will be captured by the CRA’s restricted fund—where it can be spent on projects in the area around Universal’s new park.

What is the proposed transportation sales tax?

The proposal by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings would increase your sales taxes from 6.5% to 7.5%. It would go toward “transportation”—which could mean buses or transit, or it could mean more roads.

Who will decide whether to raise our taxes?

Mayor Demings made the proposal—but we get to vote on it. The tax can only be passed by the voters, most likely on your ballot in November 2020.

ABOUT US

UNITE HERE is an organization of working people, coming together to win dignity and higher standards in the hospitality industry and beyond. We are proud of the work we do and want to make it better. We represent workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, airport, textile, manufacturing, distribution, laundry, and transportation industries.