Related video above: Tampa streets in bad shape and getting worse

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor proposed the city’s first property tax increase in decades on Thursday as part of the fiscal year 2024 budget to help pay for roads and transportation.

The proposed budget includes $45 million in new investments in transportation, public safety, housing, and parks, and Castor said the property tax increase is needed to fund those investments.

The millage rate would increase one point to 7.2076 and would cost the average household about $20 per month, Castor said. The new millage rate would be the highest since 8.16 in 1982 and the first increase since it went to 6.5390 in 1990.

Courtesy: City of Tampa Budget Presentation

Tampa voters said they want better transportation infrastructure and were willing to pay for it, Castor said at Thursday’s meeting.

Courtesy: City of Tampa Budget Presentation

“There could be no clearer message from voters that the time to act is now,” Castor said. “This is something that we hear about all the time from the public, but also from members of City Council.”

Castor called the budget proposal “historic” and the first step to fixing infrastructure and transportation needs over the next 30 years.

“These are needs, they’re not wants,” she said.

“Tampa residents don’t want to hear about why we can’t afford to fix our often-failing streets, they want us to take responsibility now and get to work, and this is exactly what this budget does,” Castor said.

Part of the proposed transportation improvements includes more paving, more sidewalks and more safety.

Officials said more than 40% of Tampa’s roadways are in “poor condition,” requiring many of the roads to be rebuilt instead of just re-paved.

Courtesy: City of Tampa Budget Presentation

Forty-four of Tampa’s 125 neighborhoods are rated to have “poor” pavement conditions, city officials said.

In addition to pavement, more than half of Tampa’s 600 traffic signals need to be replaced because they’re past their “useful life,” officials said. One intersection costs about $1 million.

Without the millage increase, city officials estimate 30 neighborhood projects over the next five years. With the increase, about 100 projects could be completed in the next five years.

Officials said with the property tax increase, they could complete 3 miles of sidewalks per year, as opposed to a half-mile. They could also replace four traffic signals per year instead of one.

Courtesy: City of Tampa Budget Presentation

“Without additional funding, service levels will remain as they are while demand and deferred maintenance increases,” Castor said. “The public is demanding that we start tackling these challenges head on. That we invest in our infrastructure and increase our services levels today. Not tomorrow, not in the next administration, or under the next council, but now. And we have to listen.”

Castor said Tampa is at a pivotal point in its history and is asking council to ensure the city has the resources to “keep Tampa thriving.”

The proposed budget will be voted on at a later date.