County Commissioners to vote on gas-tax hike for Pasco drivers

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - There is no easy way to get around in Pasco, with cities and towns spread over three area codes, the roadways of this county are its lifeblood.

"And now you've got to take care of it," said John Hagen, CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council. 

With his job, he's on the road a lot, and he's seen the upkeep of pavement in Pasco take a downturn.

Plus, he says the roadways have got to be expanded and enhanced, county-wide.

"We know that we have roughly half a million people here," said Hagen.  "We're going to three-quarters of a million people, we're going to need to build more roads.

"Five cents a gallon is five cents a gallon," said Dave Shaw as he filled up his Accord.  But he was the exception to our at-the-pump survey, when he said he'd be willing to pay the extra.

"It's $3.50 a gallon, what's five more cents?" he asked rhetorically. 

"I mean I don't want to pay any more myself but -- to keep the roads up, it worth it? Yep."

Most drivers we spoke with did not share that spirit of sharing.

"There's people who have a budget," said Venus Madison. "it adds to to be a lot of money."

"I don't like that.  At all," said Emily Whitaker. 

"Cuz I fill up a lot… twice a week, so that would not be fair."

Christine Hediger told me that this sort of wipes out any savings of moving to Pasco… especially since she has to drive more now. "So to add five more cents a gallon… and for us, it's a big commute for us."

"Do you think people will be heading across true border to Hillsborough or Hernando to get their gas?" I asked Tim Newlon.

"I've heard people say that."

And as Mayor of San Antonio, he's hearing a lot lately… his is a city that stands to receive only about $12,000   out of the millions a proposed 5 cent tax increase would raise…and that's just not fair.

"It's abundantly clear that  its not coming back to San Antonio," he said. 

"Or there other municipalities for that matter."

Which is why Tim and his fellow Pasco Municipal leaders have drafted a resolution asking their county counterparts to NOT make the cash grab.

Joe Poblick -- the legal counsel for Municipal Association of Pasco -- had to choose the words carefully.

"Just because somebody may live in the City of San Antonio or the City of New Port Richey, they're also a resident of the county and they deserve representation as well."

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