LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A new study released shows investing more money in Arkansas highways would create more than a billion dollars in economic growth across the state.
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation and the State Chamber of Commerce released the details of the study done by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
It found that an additional $478 million invested into highways statewide each year would not only increase economic growth but also create almost 6,000 new jobs.
The State Chamber of Commerce president says that adequate transportation infrastructure is essential to Arkansas’ ability to attract and keep industry here.
Joe Quinn, Executive Director of AR Good Roads Foundation, says Highway 70 to Hot Springs is a perfect example of how money spent correctly in one community can improve the quality of life for those in that community and those who use those roads.
“People want to be connected in a safe way, they want to be connected to communities around them, they want to feel connected,” says Quinn. “A strong highway system accomplishes that.”
Right now it’s not been determined where that additional funding would come from, but those in favor are looking ahead to getting support from legislators ahead of the 2019 session.
The Highway Department says it needs a long term funding solution. Right now officials say almost 70% of funding comes from the fuel tax that Arkansans pay at the pump.
Over the next ten years that department has $9 billion of needs statewide, but only $4 billion currently allowed by the budget to address those needs.