Do you get the feeling now and then that sections of the state highways and interstates in Arkansas resemble a bolt of corduroy cloth with hundreds of ridges designed to keep the front end of your car or truck out of alignment?
If you respond in the affirmative, the Move Arkansas Forward Committee may have a proposal you can’t afford to pass up.
Arkansas and the state’s cities and counties would benefit with additional street and road construction monies during the next decade if voters approve Issue No. 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot
The proposed one-half cent temporary sales tax if approved will finance a $1.3 billion bond issue for four-lane highway construction across the state and generate $700 million for cities and counties for local road and street improvements.
In addition to providing money for four-lane highway construction, existing revenues will raise the amount available to $1.8 billion.
The projected work calls for widening a number of highways from two to four lanes.
With a sunset provision included in the measure, collection of the tax would end after 10 years and would not be applied to medicine, groceries or gasoline.
The tax revenues are projected to support more than 40,000 jobs on the state, municipal and county levels. That’s right - 40,000 jobs.
Arkansas’ counties and cities would each share 15 percent of the revenue from the proposed tax to finance local road, bridge and street improvements. The amount allocated to municipalities and counties would be based on population.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department would establish a municipal street aid program along the same lines as the county aid road fund for city street and bridge improvements.
The county program has been around for years and was initially created to expand rural road systems by providing money to pave existing dirt and gravel roads. Roads that would link existing paved roads were given a priority to build up the network of paved roads.
Color coded maps are available at Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department offices or on the Internet at MoveArkansasForward.com. The website information details the amount of additional revenues the cities and counties are projected to receive annually and over the 10-year lifespan of the measure.
Proposed work on state highways includes:
— Four- and six-lane construction and improvements;
— Interstate rehabilitation;
— Remaining work on the existing 2010-2013 highway program; and
— Additional work of the planned 2013-2016 highway improvement program.
Without approval of proposed Issue No. 1, the four-lane projects will take longer and cost more, with less money available for the state to construct, maintain and improve secondary roads.
Bottom line: If we are going to have interstates and good highways, we have to maintain them. Vote FOR Issue No. 1.