Commissioner Calls For Elimination Of 4-Cent Gas Tax For ECAT

July 31, 2019

An Escambia County commissioner is calling for the elimination of a 4-cent gas tax to fund Escambia County Area Transit.

Commissioner Doug Underhill says he wants to get rid of the entire tax and force ECAT to scale back operations.

“The gas tax has failed to make ECAT better, only more bloated. 11 of our 22 routes experienced declining ridership in the last 3 years,” Underhill said on social media. “It is time to eliminate this tax and force ECAT to scale back to a sustainable operation.”

The Escambia County Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the gas tax interlocal agreement with Pensacola at 5:32 p.m. Thursday.

The 4-cent per gallon Local Option Gas Tax went into effect on January 1, 2014. The Escambia County Commission and Pensacola City Council entered to an interlocal agreement on the tax to fund ECAT. The Town of Century refused to go along with the increase, but the higher gas tax is still collected in the town for ECAT.

Century refused sign off on an interlocal agreement with Escambia County to allocate additional gas taxes collected in Century to the county for mass transit. Town officials contended the new tax is unfair to North Escambia residents and predicted Century drivers would  purchase lower priced gasoline across the state line in Flomaton.

But regardless of Century’s refusal to support the tax, they simply were not allowed opt-out of the tax altogether. The local option fuel tax statute provides that the most populous municipality within the county speaks for all the municipalities in the county on the issue.

The Century Town Council wanted the Florida Legislature to consider exempting the town from the tax, but the proposal never made it to a  meeting of the  Escambia County State Legislative Delegation because Florida law won’t allow the Legislature to consider such an exemption.

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Comments

29 Responses to “Commissioner Calls For Elimination Of 4-Cent Gas Tax For ECAT”

  1. dishearted on August 4th, 2019 6:41 am

    it seems to me about 30+ years ago the gas was raised 6cents a gallon for area transit, were did that money go, the BOCC would say I don’t know what you are talking about,,,

  2. Wayne on August 1st, 2019 9:39 am

    I and many people can’t wait until election time.
    Commissioner guys and gals…we will not forget

  3. retired on August 1st, 2019 9:26 am

    get rid of ECAT, let them call uber, taxi, lyft, ETC.

    If the taxi companies were not making it, they would go out of business or MAYBE THE COUNTY WOULD RAISE A GAS TAX TO SUPPORT THEM.

  4. David on August 1st, 2019 8:14 am

    We pay for taxes for inner city people..not for rural. The county fkd up going with this. You don’t tax people who do not even have a route anywhere in the major part of the county

  5. john on August 1st, 2019 6:57 am

    Really the best course of action would be to dissolve e-cat then take the buses and make fishing reefs out of them.

  6. Whisperjet on August 1st, 2019 6:50 am

    …I am with Underhill for all the reasons already mentioned..

  7. Denbroc on August 1st, 2019 6:45 am

    Got to like the merchants in Santa Rosa County who raised their gas prices by 4 cents and pocketed the profit.

    Get rid of the tax!

  8. db on July 31st, 2019 7:40 pm

    Sounds good. We got scheistered/forced into the gas tax for ecat. Then what did they do? Put free wifi in the buses. One or more of these who voted for it got their palms greased, just follow the money. So out gas tax subsidizes free rides AND free internet.
    When do I get my free stuff? Or do I have to keep on working to py for my own stuff?
    Get rid of the gas tax AND ecat, or make it self sufficient, if it can’t survive on it’s own, let it die.

  9. Brandon on July 31st, 2019 5:34 pm

    4 cents gas tax pushed to fire services! Nope they have a budget they should work within their means. If your not happy with your pay then move on I’m yes there are plenty of folks biting at the bit for an opportunity to have a job. Keep in mind these folks mostly work 24 on 48 hrs off. That translates working 1/3 of the year! Not a bad gig

  10. Bewildered on July 31st, 2019 5:30 pm

    Wilykyote’s comment hit the nail on the head! Isn’t it scary, however, how many people actually believe all these lies and can’t wait until all these free things come their way.
    Never understood how ECAT can send a bus to transport one person to visit a neighbor a couple of miles away for 1 dollar. All you have to do is give 24 hours notice. Definitely not cost efficient – even by Century’s standards.

  11. J.Larry Seale on July 31st, 2019 5:21 pm

    Mass trainsit is like Amtrak………
    It not wanted or needed in Escambia county.
    If our county comm were smart, they would take
    the 4 cent and put it toward something that will
    allways be needed…….MORE fire and police……….
    You can never get enought of them……………………..
    With all the people moving into Escambia county we
    more of the people who put the life on the line to protect
    us………………..

  12. M in Bratt on July 31st, 2019 4:05 pm

    Does anybody remember many years ago the City Buses were operated by the City of Pensacola? They pulled the wool over the eyes of the rubes on the County Commission of the time and transferred all the liability of this service to the County, and we have been paying since. It’s time to quit paying, and make this service self sufficient or shut it down.

  13. Sedition on July 31st, 2019 3:59 pm

    Since I’m paying for some people to ride the ECAT system, when is fairness going to kick in and have them pony up to put gas in my truck?

  14. David Huie Green on July 31st, 2019 12:06 pm

    CONSIDERING:
    “Lots of the gas in our area is sold to people who don’t live here. Those people are helping us to pay for this needed service.”

    That really isn’t a point in its favor. We should not go around with the attitude, “I want something so I will make somebody else pay for it.”

    If you do it as an individual, it is called robbery. Doing it as a government doesn’t all of a sudden make it moral.

    (This is a separate question from whether or not it is a good idea, but the truth is that bus service throughout the county is not economical and won’t be until people are stacked on top of each other throughout the county.)

    David for honesty

  15. CW on July 31st, 2019 11:55 am

    @jp

    Enjoy it while it lasts, Gov Ivey just signed a 10 cent gas tax increase for Alabama that will be phased in over the next three years.

  16. ensley boy on July 31st, 2019 11:33 am

    Ever notice ECAT buses stopped on the side of the road? They are too far ahead of their next scheduled pick up. Less riders mean fewer stops, so they have to pull over and wait until time passes so they will not get to the next pick area too early. My opinion only is that the covered windows on the bus serve two reason: 1. To keep the sun out and 2. So you can not see how empty the buses are.

  17. Concerned on July 31st, 2019 10:58 am

    Finally something we can get behind I never see full buses 3 maybe 4 people and at one time thwy had WIFI i do notice a lot new buses .I might feel diffrently about this tax if it was managed in this county or even better this country it isnt it is managed by a german company and last time i checked no one can tell what anyone in the managment of ECAT makes. Just a few things to consider when we where forces to pay a tax we did not vote on. I feel if we are paying for it atleaat let this country manage it .it drives me nuts to see more then half empty seats on a brand new bus .I do tyink there is a need for it and it does serve a purpose .but scale it back and make it self supporting.

  18. Northof10 on July 31st, 2019 10:34 am

    Ever notice when a politician is in trouble or a controversy that they try and align themselves with an issue to connect to the voters? Great idea about the four cent tax issue but where’ve ya been and what’s taken so long?

  19. jp on July 31st, 2019 10:04 am

    Like everyone that I know that lives in the north end of Escambia, I buy my gas and fuel in Alabama anyway.

  20. retired on July 31st, 2019 9:39 am

    IF THE SERVICE IS NEEDED THEN IT SHOULD BE SELF SUPPORTING!!!!!!!!!!!

    GET RID OF THE TAX

  21. Wilykyote on July 31st, 2019 9:19 am

    Are Elections coming up ? Is most everything bloated where
    government is concerned ? More Employees, more costs to
    the folks pulling the Wagon ! If we’ll just wait a bit it kinda looks
    like we’re headed for free Health Care for All. Free College and
    Schooling and meals for bout 18years . A minimum pay of $600
    per week for beginners. Anyone from anywhere in the world can
    come get on the gravy-train. Only about a year & a half to the
    green new deal! I’m hoping for free green lawn care for the
    Elderly! It’s a human right …right ?

  22. Manning on July 31st, 2019 9:14 am

    How about putting that 4 cent sales tax toward fire service instead of eliminating it. We are already paying it, let’s put it to a better cause commissioners.

  23. w.w. on July 31st, 2019 8:55 am

    Bloated is correct. You can never just throw money at something and make it better. Thank you Mr. Underhill.

  24. Well on July 31st, 2019 8:19 am

    Way too much wasted money going through ECAT.
    Everyone utilizing the bus could be given a car yearly and still save money by shutting ECAT down.
    Century is not always out of step.

  25. Henry W Coe on July 31st, 2019 7:47 am

    Underhill is short sighted. Lots of the gas in our area is sold to people who don’t live here. Those people are helping us to pay for this needed service.

  26. molino jim on July 31st, 2019 7:42 am

    I hope Underhill is ready to pick up the riders who need public transportation. He has become a sad sad joke. He started out good and has gone down hill.

  27. john on July 31st, 2019 7:19 am

    Subsidies never work….Never!

  28. Bob C. on July 31st, 2019 6:12 am

    Is it too early to predict:
    1–failure to get a second
    2–fails by a 1-4 vote.

    Always some hidden agenda or unannounced plan.

  29. Citizen on July 31st, 2019 2:04 am

    The item on the agenda is for the interlocal agreement with Pensacola. Not a vote on whether to levy the tax or not. Underhill is blowing up the issue, probably to heal his wounded ego and prolong the meeting so nobody sticks around when he throws the people in Forrest creek apartments under the metaphoric bus.





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