February 20, 2003
Posted at: 7:54 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, Akr. -- Legislation that would clear up state highway officials' authority to pay for and build toll roads won approval Thursday in a House committee.
Efforts to build a Bella Vista bypass in northwest Arkansas prompted state highway officials to call for the legislation. A key provision would authorize the commission to work with a third party and with other states to develop toll roads.
Highway Department Director Dan Flowers says the provision should bring the Arkansas system in line with Missouri so the states can jointly complete a toll-road bypass around Bella Vista to the Missouri border.
The legislation would authorize the commission to acquire land and build and maintain turnpike, or toll, projects, and use revenues from such projects to secure revenue bonds. It also would give the commission sole authority to set and collect tolls and issue bonds to pay for such projects.
The bill already has passed the Senate. It goes to the full House.