Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
September 26th, 2018 • News

September 26, 2018

  • When the Legislative Council met recently to work on a few budget items, the outcome included some good news and some bad news for Arkansas motorists.
  • The good news was that legislative leaders agreed to support the governor’s proposal to use about $22 million in rainy day funds for highway construction and maintenance.
  • That means the Arkansas Department of Transportation will qualify for about $200 million in federal highway funding.
  • The bad news is that once again we used a band-aid for a serious injury. Using rainy day funds to qualify for federal matching funds was nothing more than a quick fix.
  • It was an example of short-term thinking, with no regard for the long-term consequences. We failed to solve the problem, and in a few months we’ll be searching for another financial band-aid for our highways.
  • Meanwhile, our bridges and highways continue to fall into disrepair.
  • When the legislature convenes in regular session in January, we’ll have the opportunity to approve a reliable, long-term source of funding for highways.
  • As always, It will take political courage, and it will take the combined support of numerous groups, from business leaders, trucking companies and local elected officials, and, really, everyone who drives a motor vehicle and uses hour highway system.
  • Using rainy day funds for highway maintenance is not only bad transportation policy. It’s also a bad fiscal policy.
  • State officials are using all sorts of tricks, transferring money from surplus accounts to rainy day funds.
  • Essentially, they are making overly optimistic economic assumptions and gambling that we can continue robbing Peter to pay Paul. But there will come a day when, like a cake walk, the music is going to stop, and there’s not going to be a seat to sit in for our highway department in order to fund our infrastructure.
  • That’s just no way to finance highway maintenance, and it certainly is not the responsible way to operate state government.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from September 26, 2018