Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 92nd General Assembly
March 21st, 2019 • News

March 21, 2019

  • One of the most important achievements of this year’s legislative session is the enactment of a new highway program.
  • Thanks to legislative action, the Arkansas Transportation Department will have an additional $95 million a year for improvements to interstate highways, replacing old bridges and resurfacing worn out roads.
  • That money will come from a combination of taxes on motor fuels, vehicle registration fees on hybrids and electric cars, and taxes on the new casinos approved by voters last year.
  • Another significant source of revenue for highway improvements will depend on Arkansas voters.
  • In the November election of 2020, voters will decide whether to permanently keep the current half-cent sales tax that is allocated for transportation.
  • If voters reject the proposal, the half cent will expire in 2013. But if they approve, it will generate about $205 million a year for state highway and bridge projects.
  • Additionally, cities and counties will each receive $43 million a year. Under the traditional division of highway revenues, 70 percent goes for the state highway system, while city and county governments each get 15 percent.
  • If voters extend the half cent, combined with the new revenue approved by the legislature, the state Transportation Department will receive an additional $300 million a year.
  • The additional revenue is vital for the entire state, and especially the delta of east Arkansas, which depends so much on its transportation system.
  • River traffic, railway lines and major interstate highway all intersect in eastern Arkansas. Because we live and work in the crossroads of America, the shipping of manufactured goods and agricultural products is a huge component of our economy.
  • That’s why the highway program had the support of truckers, business leaders and farmers. It is an investment in our future.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from March 21, 2019