January 21, 2020
Next CEO of Lynx, Orlando's bus system, faces same challenges as predecessor

Photo:

Lynx lacks a permanent funding source, and no single government is responsible for it.

Transportation

Next CEO of Lynx, Orlando's bus system, faces same challenges as predecessor

Jason Garcia | 4/26/2019

The CEO of Lynx, metro Orlando’s bus system, resigned in February after less than three years on the job, leaving the transportation agency leaderless even as Central Florida politicians struggle to answer questions about how the region will fund mass transit.

The move came shortly after the agency revealed it faces a budget shortfall of more than $20 million.

As they accepted Edward Johnson’s resignation, local leaders acknowledged that Lynx’s financial struggles were a problem long before Johnson arrived from the Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where he was chief administrative officer, in April 2016. And the financial issues will continue under whoever succeeds him. That’s because Lynx lacks a permanent funding source, forcing the agency to cobble together budgets based on the whims of an assortment of city and county governments, none of which has sole responsibility for the agency.

Lynx runs about 300 buses a day and says there is enough demand to justify 600. Central Florida leaders have agreed for years that they need to better fund Lynx but have yet to agree on a plan. The problem is becoming more urgent: In 2021, the state will turn over responsibility for the SunRail commuter train system, which costs roughly $30 million a year, to the region’s local governments. Lynx is generally seen as the agency most likely to absorb it.

One idea: Tapping into the region’s hotel tax, which now generates more than $275 million annually in Orange County alone and is primarily spent on tourism advertising and subsidizing the Orange County Convention Center. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has proposed adding a seventh cent to the tax and using the money to pay for transit, though such a change will require the Legislature’s approval.

One important figure has yet to weigh in: New Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who declined through a spokeswoman to say whether he supports Dyer’s proposal. Demings hasn’t yet delivered a promised transit-funding plan.

Read more in our May issue.

Select from the following options:

EXISTING
DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBERS

Access Article Now!

DIGITAL
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue

$4.95

PRINT
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

$4.95
plus $3 postage & handling

PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

One year in PRINT

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

One year DIGITAL

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

ALL ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION

One year Combo
PRINT + DIGITAL

$24.95*
plus a FREE gift!


CURRENT  PRINT  SUBSCRIBERS

If you are already a print subscriber,
ADD DIGITAL EDITION ACCESS
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only

Tags: Government/Politics & Law, Transportation, Economic Backbone, Feature

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Bradenton area delivers on hot buttons for business site selection
Bradenton area delivers on hot buttons for business site selection

Air Products dedicates a test facility and breaks ground for a manufacturing facility expansion near Port Manatee. The company manufactures liquefied natural gas heat exchangers.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

What top issue do you believe Florida lawmakers should address in 2020?

  • Health care
  • Insurance
  • Water/environment
  • Education
  • E-Verify
  • Online sales tax
  • Other

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2020 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.