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?
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.
- I Drive CRA Advisory Board Meeting Minutes 5-9-19, with proposed modifications to Redevelopment Plan
- I-Drive CRA Redevelopment Plan, 1998 original, including two blight studies
- I-Drive CRA Redevelopment Plan, 2009 Update (most recent approved as of Nov. 2019)
- Map of I Drive CRA
- Memo of Understanding for Kirkman Road funding, approved by county Feb 2019
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.