Arkansas Transportation

Governor's Radio Column: Paving The Way

May 21, 2016
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Governor's Office

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of May 20, 2016:

  We all learn from history and that includes Arkansas history.

In 1911, the Arkansas Legislature met for the first time in the new State Capitol. The building was still unfinished, but it was “finished enough” for legislators to meet for a general session.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) addressing the Arkansas General Assembly at the start of a special session.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's highway plan is headed toward a final vote in the Legislature, while a Senate-backed effort to limit the funding for one year appears dead.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee today endorsed Hutchinson's proposal to use the state's surplus, investment returns and other funds to raise nearly $50 million for road needs in the coming fiscal year.

The House approved the measure earlier today, and it's expected to go before the full Senate on Monday.

Metroplan / Metroplan

Convoys of cyclists will take to the streets of central Arkansas Friday morning as the kick off event for “Ditch the Keys” week. “Bike to Work” day is a national event, which has been incorporated into a regional campaign to draw awareness to, and improve air quality in Little Rock and the surrounding cities.

Metroplan, Rock Region METRO, Bicycle Advocates of Central Arkansas, and several other organizations are supporting the event by encouraging biking or walking to work.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) addressing the Arkansas General Assembly at the start of a special session.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A special session of the Arkansas Legislature is underway and the governor is still looking for more traction for his $50-million highway plan.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s highway plan is expected to have widespread support in the Arkansas House and Senate in the special session that starts Thursday. However, can the bill get out of a key Senate committee?

North Little Rock plane crash
KATV, Channel 7 News

A preliminary report says a small airplane that crashed at the North Little Rock airport, killing a flight instructor, may have lost engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board report says pilot examiner Doyle Reynolds took over the controls of the twin-engine Cessna and was trying to land it safely when the plane crashed May 5. Reynolds, who had logged more than 12,000 flight hours, was killed in the crash.

Scott Bennett Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to raise about $50 million in order to qualify for nearly $200 million in federal funds has the support of Arkansas highway officials, but they aren’t ruling out supporting other proposals.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) after presenting his "challenge" to spread broadband to every parcel of Arkansas.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

At least three legislative proposals are being floated for a highways-focused special session planned for May 19, but on Tuesday the speaker of the House said it’s doubtful a consensus can be developed on any of them before the session begins.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced a plan that will raise about $50 million a year in order to make the state eligible for $200 million in federal funds as part of the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

Amtrak derailment
KATV, Channel 7 News

An Amtrak train headed for San Antonio is delayed after the wheels of one car left the track in southern Arkansas.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the wheels of the car on the eight-car train came off the track about 12:30 p.m. in Hot Spring County just east of Malvern - about 50 miles south of Little Rock.

Magliari said the train did not derail and no one was injured. He said the train, known as the Texas Eagle, carried 81 passengers and a crew of nine.

Arkansas Senate
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are to formally adjourn the bi-annual fiscal session of the legislature Monday, with a general consensus that it was a productive, bi-partisan effort.

Last week included passage of a formal budget for the coming fiscal year. The start of the session saw debate and eventually approval of legislation to allow Arkansas to accept federal healthcare dollars to continue the state's Medicaid expansion plan, providing coverage for more than a quarter million low income residents.