Gov. Hutchinson Recommends New State Highway Program

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The Arkansas governor has recommended a multi-million dollar state plan for the next ten years to address highway infrastructure,

According to a release from his office, Gov. Asa Hutchinson program would provide a state investment of approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars to the Highway Department, without raising taxes or introducing any new taxes to Arkansas.

“Highway infrastructure is key to our state’s economic development and growth, and this plan should act as a catalyst for that growth by allowing us to increase our investment in highways without placing an unnecessary burden on Arkansas taxpayers,” Hutchinson said in the release. “I am pleased to say that it accomplishes both objectives.”

According to the release. the state match allows Arkansas to access over $2 billion in federal highway money over the next 10 years.

The release outlines several points of the proposed program.

  • There are NO new taxes as part of this program.
  • This plan will generate 3/4 of a billion dollars in new highway funding over 10 years.
  • The first year is unallocated surplus of $40 million – $20 million of which will be transferred from FY15’s unobligated surplus, while the other $20 million will come from the Governor’s rainy day fund.
  • In subsequent years, the highway program will generate revenue from sales tax on new and used cars to be phased in over 5 years and capped at $25 million.  (Efficiency efforts and other budget savings will offset any lost revenue.)
  • $4 million will be directed from General Revenue for diesel tax collection each year. $2.7 million of which will go to the State Highway Department. The other $1.3 million will go to cities and counties.
  • $5.4 million will be redirected from Central Services for the amount collected from the 1/2 cent sales tax for roads.
  • 25% of the unallocated surplus will transfer to the Highway Department for after RSA obligations are met.