Arkansas Transportation

The Arkansas Highway Commission has approved bids on multiple projects in the state, including a $16 million plan to widen U.S. 167 in northeast Arkansas.

Transportation officials announced Wednesday that construction will begin in the next month on the U.S. 167 project, which will widen a 4.5-mile stretch to four lanes near Cave City. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

I-30 interstate 30 construction
AHTD

A nearly half-billion dollar highway construction project to widen a section of Interstate 30 running through Little Rock and North Little Rock is the focus of a public meeting scheduled for Thursday night in North Little Rock. KUAR's Chris Hickey recently spoke with State Representative Warwick Sabin of Little Rock who raises objections about what the project might do to the social and economic climate of the city.

 

Arkansas Highway Boss Speaks At Blytheville Chamber, Talks Bypass Work

Oct 19, 2015
Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

There are two options available for increasing revenue for much needed highway projects: raise taxes or transfer funding from existing line items in the state budget, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department director Scott Bennett told a Blytheville chamber group Monday.

Bennett spoke during the monthly chamber luncheon at the Blytheville Holiday Inn in front of about 40 people. After an introduction from Blytheville chamber director Liz Smith, Bennett spoke about highway funding and the state agency.

Interstate 30
Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Half of Arkansans believe the condition of the state’s roads is “a major problem that deserves attention,” but 64% oppose raising motor fuels taxes to address it, according to a poll by Americans for Prosperity.

Forty-five percent strongly oppose a motor fuels tax increase, and half said a legislator’s support for an increase would make them less likely to vote for him or her. The group, which supports smaller government and lower taxes, surveyed 500 voters by phone, 30% of those by cell, Sept. 22-24.

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Governor’s Working Group on Highways has been meeting for months to discuss possible solutions for short-term, medium-range and long-term funding goals to maintain and repair Arkansas highways. 

Currently, the task force is focused on short-term funding and is seeking to come up with approximately $110 million in new annual revenues for roads.

The Uber app connects passengers with drivers using personal cars who are not direct employees.
wikimedia.org

Arkansas officials are considering state regulations in an effort govern ride-sharing companies such as Uber.

A hearing was held Wednesday before the Public Service Commission to discuss the issue. The three-member board didn't take action, but it's expected to issue final regulations within the next two months. Regulations proposed by the commission must pass a legislative review before they become final.

Flickr.com

Among the ideas being considered by the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding has been transferring some of the state’s 16,418 miles of roads to cities and counties.

The Association of Arkansas Counties doesn’t support the idea.

“Obviously, counties are in no position to absorb additional roads,” said Chris Villines, Association of Arkansas Counties executive director, in an association press release. “For the most part, we run a road maintenance program around the state, not one of new construction, and we can barely handle the 70,000 miles we currently have.”

cable barrier median
wisconsindot.gov

Transportation officials are trying to determine why an Interstate cable barrier didn't prevent a cross-median crash in central Arkansas.

The crash occurred Sept. 13 on Interstate 530 just north of Dixon Road in Little Rock. Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Danny Straessle tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the barrier did "corral" the vehicle involved in the crash like it's supposed to, but the cables stretched farther than they should have.

Andy Davis
Talk Business & Politics

Highway funding has been more than a speed bump for policymakers to find a way to increase revenue while gas tax collections sputter and inflation keeps raising the price of construction. A governor’s task force is working on potential recommendations to try something new and it will meet again on Thursday to discuss options.

A pilot program by sobriety courts in two Arkansas counties will allow those with suspended driver's licenses to borrow bicycles for transportation.

Conway Planning and Development Deputy Director Wes Craiglow tells the Log Cabin Democrat that those who have a suspended license often have a family to support and may find it more difficult to do so without a vehicle to get to their job or to a grocery store.

Craiglow is seeking bike donations for the effort in Faulkner and Van Buren counties.

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