Written by Arkansas Real Estate
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles… Move Arkansas Forward
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Beebe spoke at the annual Arkansas Economic Development Conference held at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center. One of the major focus areas discussed was Constitutional Amendment Number One, which is up for a vote this coming November.
As an office, it is our practice not to take sides on any specific political issue, however because this an important issue regarding transportation we felt it is a great way to end this blog series, showing as a state where we may be headed and how it could effect us locally if passed. The amendment was placed on the general election ballot by a bi-partisan vote in legislature from both the Republicans and Democrats. So whether you are in favor or opposition of this change, make sure and take a moment to educate yourself on the impact it may mean for us locally.
The information below was provided by Governor Mike Beebe’s speech and outlines the parameters of the Move Arkansas Forward Program.
The amendment provides for a temporary 1⁄2￠state sales tax to be used for construction and improvement of a four-lane highway system connecting all parts of the state. Plus, it provides turnback revenue for every city and county to be used for local road and street projects.
The temporary 1⁄2￠ sales tax will not be collected on groceries or medicine.
With voter approval, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Commission will be authorized to issue Four-Lane Highway Construction and Improvement General Obligation Bonds in an amount up to $1.3 billion, which, with existing revenue, will provide $1.8 billion for four-lane projects. In addition, approximately $670 million will be shared equally between all Arkansas cities and counties for local projects.
Temporary taxes under this amendment will only be collected over a 10-year period. The tax will be abolished once the bonds are paid off.
Construction and maintenance work on state highways, county roads and city streets will support over 40,000 jobs, while making Arkansas roads safer for all, including school buses, emergency vehicles and drivers sharing the highways with big trucks.
Highway construction and maintenance will improve the economy and create statewide economic development, making it more desirable for companies to do business in Arkansas.
The amendment also creates a permanent $20 million State Aid Street Fund financed by the existing motor fuel tax, without raising gas taxes
What This May Mean for Northwest Arkansas…
• Widening I-540 to six lanes between Fayetteville and Bentonville
• Completion of the initial two lanes of the ultimate four lanes of the Bella Vista bypass
• Beginning four-lane construction of the US Hwy 412 Springdale bypass from I-540 to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) connector
Added Revenue for Northwest Arkansas
The below charts show the amount of revenue that will be given to each city in Northwest Arkansas over the ten year period if passed. This money will allow each city to make additional improvements not covered by the highway improvements mentioned above. Between Benton and Washington Counties, an increased revenue of over 85 million dollars over the course of the ten years will be poured back into road improvements in Northwest Arkansas, the breakdown of each city is shown below.