Governor To Announce Recommendations To Increase Arkansas Highway Funding

Jan 18, 2016

File photo of the Big Rock Interchange in west Little Rock, a key project in recent years by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is to announce his plan Tuesday to address a shortfall in highway funding for Arkansas. Vehicles getting better gas mileage has led to a decrease in fuel tax revenue.

A task force Hutchinson appointed to study the issue recently recommended raising state fuel taxes or moving revenue from elsewhere in the state budget. The governor said earlier this month that all recommendations are on the table, though he wants it to be a revenue neutral approach that won’t increase state spending or increase taxes without cuts elsewhere.

Arkansas would miss out on getting federal funding for highways if the state can’t provide a percentage of the money for construction and maintenance.

Hutchinson has also said he wants Arkansas lawmakers to consider his recommendations during one special session that would also address proposed changes to healthcare. Legislative leaders have said that might to be too much and that two separate sessions may be needed, one on each issue.

The governor is scheduled to make his announcement at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Capitol.