Voters to Decide Sales Tax Increase to Fund Highway Projects
Voters will soon hit the polls on November 6th to decide on a sales tax increase that would fund highway projects across the state.
The half-cent sales tax increase would fund highway projects across the state.
It would expire in 10 years and is expected to cost households an average $7 more a month.
Those who support the tax say an expanded i-540 will cut down on drive times between Fayetteville and Bentonville.
“Another $125 million dollars to allow us to complete widening of 540 to six lanes it would allow us to build the first leg of the U.S. 412/Springdale bypass from interstate 540 to the west, which would connect the new airport connector out to XNA,” says Scott Bennett, Director of Highways and Transportation.
State Representative Jonathan Barnett says road construction now would be cheaper than in the future.
“We will get about a dollar that we invest in this project we will get a about a dollar and half return so it’s a good investment. It’s the money following the cars for Northwest Arkansas and as we all know Northwest Arkansas is a busy part of the state, it’s the fastest growing part of the state,” says Jonathan Barnett, State Representative.
Opponents say more taxes aren’t the answer.
“This tax increase is like putting a Band-Aid on a problem that requires surgery,” says Jeff Oland, Chairman of the Washington County Tea Party.
Oland says state road money should be spent on where the population grown is.
“The people in Northwest Arkansas for example the population density is much more than in Southeastern Arkansas, but they’re getting per capita about $3,400 per person, in Northwest Arkansas it’s about $800 per person,” says Oland.
The tax increase would not apply to grocery, medicine or diesel purchases.