Arkansas Transportation

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his highway funding plan will work without raising taxes by finding government efficiencies and continuing with the state’s Medicaid expansion. Without those planks, Hutchinson says tax increases will enter the debate.

Gov. Radio Column: Highway Funding Plan

Jan 23, 2016
Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Jan. 22, 2016:

  This week I wanted to visit with you about Arkansas highways. The facts are we have declining revenue for our highways and our needs are greater than ever. And then we need additional funds for Arkansas to access new federal money that has been made available in recent federal highway program.

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Sign
commons.wikimedia.org

It was a mixed bag for Arkansas’ three largest airports in 2015. Clinton National Airport in Little Rock fell below a million enplanements, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) for the second consecutive year set a new record for traffic, and the Fort Smith Regional Airport saw traffic fall more than 7%.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced a plan to increase highway funding by $750 million over the next 10 years, making the state eligible for an additional $2 billion in federal matching funds over that time period that was made available by the federal highway bill passed by Congress in December.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
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.

Two separate accidents on the fast-flowing, swollen Mississippi River caused barges to break loose.

The Coast Guard says the first occurred Monday night along the eastern boarder of Arkansas when a towboat pushing barges struck a pier of the Helena Highway Bridge, sending four barges traveling free.

They were secured at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday. Officials say two barges containing about 2.4 million gallons of denatured alcohol were damaged and were taking on water.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he'd prefer one special session on the future of the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion and highway funding, but hasn't ruled out asking lawmakers to address the issues at separate times.

Hutchinson told reporters Wednesday he's meeting Feb. 1 with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about his proposals to rename and add restrictions to the "private option." The program, crafted as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law, uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he'll issue recommendations on boosting funding for state highways next month after receiving a report from a panel he formed to study the issue.

Hutchinson said Wednesday he's received the report from the Working Group on Highway Funding he created to look at ways to close the shortfall for the state's roads. The panel last month recommended the governor look at a range of options, including increases in fuel taxes and tapping into general revenue.

new broadway bridge
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

Crews are preparing to begin work on a major component of the new Broadway Bridge to connect Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department says the steel that is needed to build arches for the new bridge will start arriving this week.

Sample of Arkansas Driver's License.
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

Starting next year Arkansans issued driver’s licenses will only have to renew them every eight years. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced the change from four to eight years on Monday in accordance with legislation passed earlier this year. The cost  of the license changes from $20 to $40.

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