A former state lawmaker, who has led efforts concerning state highways in previous years, was appointed Thursday to the Arkansas Highway Commission.
Former House Speaker Robert Moore was named to a 10-year term, replacing commission Chairman Madison Murphy, whose term is expiring.
Moore said he realizes the significance and challenges of maintaining good highways and will look for innovative new ways to meet the challenges of funding needed work.
"Business and industry undoubtedly, good roads, what it means to future economic development in the state cannot be overstated ," Moore said.
His appointment comes as an idea is being floated in the Legislature to use state general revenue for highway funding, even though Arkansas voters last year approved a 10-year funding package worth nearly two billion dollars.
After being announced by Governor Mike Beebe, Moore, a 68-year-old who grew up in south Arkansas, reflected on what highways in the state were like when he was a kid.
"The trip from Arkansas City to Little Rock was a hair-raising, four hour trip just to get up here. And my daddy was a county sheriff and he drove pretty fast and it was a still a long trip and a lot of curves and now when I make this trip in under two hours, cruise control most of the way, you have a firsthand realization of the importance, what good roads mean to rural Arkansas," Moore told reporters and colleagues at the Capitol.
In the past, Moore has warned if the state didn’t fix its roads, financial problems would follow.
"We have a great tourism base, but in order for people visiting our state to access and enjoy the amenities of our state and more importantly, sometimes spend their money, we’ve got to have good roads to get them safely where they want to go."