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Highway Bill: Contact your legislators today!

Now is the time to act.  Call in support of SB336 today.
THIS WEEK, the Arkansas Senate Revenue and Tax Committee will be voting on Senate Bill 336 to generate an additional $95 million annually for highways.  This is part of Governor Hutchinson's proposed plan to bring in an additional $417 million total annually for roads, with $300 million of that going to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.  (The plan also includes permanently extending the half-cent sales tax, which must be decided by voters. Legislators are expected to take up a measure referring the half-cent extension to the ballot later in the session.)
 
We need YOU to call or email the below committee members, letting them know how important Senate Bill 336 is to your work, your community, and the state.   Please thank those members of the committee who are sponsors of SB 336, as indicated below. 
 
Also, please consider attending the committee meeting Wednesday, February 20, at 10 a.m. in Old Supreme Court (OSC) room of the State Capitol to show your support for increased highway funding. 
 
Click on the member's name to find phone numbers and email addresses:
Chair   Senator Jonathan Dismang
Vice-Chair   Senator Larry Teague
   SB 336 Sponsor Senator Cecile Bledsoe
    Senator Trent Garner
   SB 336 Sponsor Senator Keith Ingram
   SB 336 Sponsor Senator Blake Johnson
    Senator Bruce Maloch
   SB 336 Sponsor Senator Jason Rapert
 
For your convenience, listed below are notes from the Good Roads Foundation:

New Revenue for Good Roads
  • This funding package positively impacts virtually every state highway, county road, bridge, and city street in Arkansas.  It will make our roads safer and smoother as well as reducing traffic congestion.    
  • This is a large and long-term plan.  It helps us finally deal with the fact that of the 102,000 miles of roads in Arkansas, 25% are in failing condition. 
  • In Arkansas, we believe in taking care of what we have before we spend money on something new.  A significant amount of the package will go towards maintaining our highway system. 
  • A recent poll indicated that 68% of Arkansans say they sit in traffic delays on a regular basis. This investment in our future spends almost $1 billion dollars on expanding the capacity or local and state roads.  This means shorter drives to and from work at rush hour times, and overall an easier life for busy families. 
  • This investment in our future will create 3,500 new jobs in Arkansas and $8.2 billion in economic activity over the next ten years.  Work on roads and bridges strengthens the Arkansas economy and gives new opportunities to young people entering our workforce. 
  • Today, many of the bridges in Arkansas are structurally deficient and weight restricted.  Some can't even handle the weight of a fully loaded school bus. This new investment would dedicate more than $1 billion to repair every structurally deficient and posted bridge in Arkansas.  This package is critical to help our rural school districts safely get children to school. 
  • We currently have the 12th largest highway system in the United States, but we rank 41st in revenue available to support that system. Approval of this plan would mean we start to keep up with 14 nearby states that have spent $37 billion in new highway funding in the past decade.   This investment in our future means we can stop Arkansas from falling further behind other states. 
  • Nothing matters more than your family's safety when driving. The most important thing any road should offer is safety for the people who drive on it each day.  This funding package supports that.  Over the course of the next decade it will dedicate close to half a billion dollars to safety upgrades such as new rumble strips and cable roadway dividers. 
  • This funding solution includes the opportunity for future growth from casino gaming and the half-cent sales tax. 
  • This funding is not a one- or two-year solution.  One-third of the money will come from the taxes paid by casinos, general revenue, and a new registration fee for hybrid and electric vehicles. Two thirds will come from asking voters to approve the extension of a half-cent sales tax we are already paying. The new plan means an Arkansan driving 20,000 miles a year and getting 18 miles to the gallon, will pay about $2.70 a month in additional taxes.

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