Mayor Demings Engages Residents for Feedback on Long-term Transportation Overhaul

Community & Services

Weary of enduring endless traffic snarls and dismayed by ongoing congestion on our roads? Consider getting involved in a movement for change.

Candid conversations and sensible solutions regarding gridlock and safety are happening in your community.

Business owners, local city leaders and neighbors assembled at Windermere High School on April 1 to ask questions, offer input, and voice concerns regarding transportation challenges unique to their district. They heard Mayor Jerry Demings, along with the Public Works Deputy Director, pitch a potential funding strategy to support the ever-growing transportation strains throughout Orange County. Representatives from Lynx and SunRail were also on site to hear feedback and answer questions.

“As a growing community we have growing traffic issues,” said Mayor Demings. “This traffic congestion is only going to get worse…. We are stretched.”

Demings hopes to educate the community on the benefits of a new and improved transportation sales tax plan. The objective is to persuade County Commissioners to place the referendum on the November ballot to go before the voters.

Overall sentiment about the reemergence of a shelved penny sales tax has been mixed.

Hotelier Raman “R.P.” Rama, President of Sarona Holdings, supports the idea of a sales tax saying it would benefit the community by providing greater safety for all. “I beg you to support this tax,” he said. “This is the capital of tourism. This penny tax is minuscule compared to the benefits of it.”

Tom Raimonde, a resident of Horizon West, opposed the idea saying he doesn’t think his district would benefit. “The infrastructure is woefully inadequate. I can’t say I would be in favor of the tax because I would feel like I was subsidizing the rest of the county.”

Orange County’s Deputy Director of Public Works Brett Blackadar shared the results from a 2022 public survey highlighting three key challenges: traffic congestion, transit needs, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.

“We heard from a diverse group. The general approach is that the system needs to be safer for all users…everyone understands there is a need, but have different ways to solve for it,” Blackadar said.

Expanding the mass transit system would require a chunk of the funding going to Lynx and SunRail. Some residents don’t fully support the suggested resource allocation.

Local resident Jenna Green said she is poised to vote for the sales tax if it makes it to the ballot, however, she wishes more would be done to address key problems in her area. “I would be in favor of the sales tax, but what I really want to hear about is how those of us in the suburbs can be positively impacted by the tax, with road expansion, traffic signal improvement and infrastructure expansion.”

The Windermere High School talk was one of three Transportation Community Meetings the Mayor previously hosted. The team will continue outreach on April 18 at the Wekiva High School Media Center starting at 6 p.m.

Demings’ goal is to garner input and support prior to the critical Board of County Commissioners upcoming April 23 vote. If you are unable to attend a community engagement session but are interested in making your voice heard, we encourage you to take this short survey. Visit for more information.

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