Two Arkansas legislators from Benton County have presented checks totaling $200,000 to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) for a new belly plow, according to a news release Tuesday (July 8).
Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, and Rep. Mary Slinkard, R-Gravette, applied to use the state’s General Improvement Fund to buy the equipment, the release states.
“We knew there was General Improvement Fund (GIF) money available, and we thought some new road equipment would be a great benefit for our constituents in Benton County,” Barnett said.
He continued, “We made the application, and here we are today with checks totaling $200,000 for the Highway Department.”
The money is set to be used for the new 12-yard tandem-axle dump truck that gets the name “belly plow” from the snow plow blade mounted beneath the belly of the truck, according to the release.
It also has a front-mounted plow blade and spreader bed used to distribute snow and ice fighting materials, the release states.
The belly plow will be based in the AHTD area headquarters in Gentry, according to the release.
“We learned this past winter that our aging equipment fleet is no match for a significant ice storm,” said Scott Bennett, director of the AHTD.
He continued, “We took delivery of our first Belly Plow in December and quickly learned how effective they could be in battling snow and ice. We now have six belly plows in our inventory, another eight are ordered, and we plan to purchase 28 more in the coming year. And thanks to Representatives Slinkard and Barnett, we can add one more to that total specifically for Benton County.”