LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A freshman senator takes on a long-standing issue facing the Arkansas legislature: highway funding.
Sen. Breanne Davis, R-Russellville, said she has only been working on a plan for additional resources for about 24 hours.
Davis asked the incoming Senate president, Jim Hendren, to facilitate discussions between all stakeholders and work with fellow lawmakers and the governor’s office to have a proposal ready by the legislative session, which starts in January.
If voters pass a casino measure in November, more than half of the tax revenue would go to state’s general revenue fund. The legislature could decide to put those funds toward roads.
The area Sen. Davis represents, Pope County, would be one of two counties to get new casinos.
“I don’t have a position on that yet,” she said. “It’s so complicated and there’s so many unknowns with the casino issue even if it does pass. And then just where exactly to get money from, pull money from for the highway department and what the answer is there so I think it’s just too soon to say.”
Nearly a year ago, the governor and highway department were on two different sides of the road when it came to highway funding.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he would “vigorously oppose” any plan that taps additional revenues from the general revenue stream, while the highway department argued further investment in the state’s roads was inevitable.