Jefferson Parish voters will be asked next month to renew two millages crucial to funding public transportation in the parish.
The transit system, which served 2 million riders in 2016, consists of 41 buses serving six routes in East Jefferson and seven routes in West Jefferson.
A 2-mill tax for operations and maintenance for Jefferson Transit, or JeT, and a 1-mill tax to fund its services for people with disabilities will be on the Oct. 14 ballot.
Both are 10-year renewals, with the Jefferson Transit millage projected to generate $6.8 million a year and the millage for the disabled $3.4 million per year.
The 2 mills provide 52 percent of the funding for the transit system, and officials say that without it, Jefferson Transit could not secure the federal grants that make up the rest of its budget because the Federal Transit Administration requires a one-to-one match. Jefferson Transit has a $16 million budget this year.
The parish says that some JeT buses need to be replaced now, and all of them will need to be replaced by 2024.
The 1-mill tax pays for 87 percent of the expenses of the Mobility Impaired Transportation System, which provides curb-to-curb service for disabled residents — more than 70,000 riders last year. The MITS system includes 17 specialized vehicles in a fleet that is being transitioned from gas-powered to propane-powered, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The MITS system has a $3.3 million budget this year.
Taken together and factoring in the state's $75,000 homestead exemption, the total of 3 mills would cost someone owning a $300,000 home $67.50 per year and someone owning a $500,000 home $127.50 annually.
Early voting begins Sept. 30.