Blytheville native receives national highway award

Blytheville native receives national highway award

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials presented Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett with the organization's Thomas H. MacDonald Memorial Award.

The award was given to Bennett - a Blytheville native - during the AASHTO annual meeting this week in Boston.

The award was established in 1957 in recognition of outstanding achievements of MacDonald, who served as chief of the Federal Highway Administration's Bureau of Public Roads in the fields of highway administration, engineering and research.

The award is considered the highest honor bestowed by AASHTO among its membership, officials said in an announcement. Bennett was also recognized for his public service contributions to the transportation industry at both state and national levels.

In his more than 28 years of employment at the AHTD, Bennett spent 22 of those years in the agency's Planning Branch where he was responsible for envisioning and developing great planning tools such as the Arkansas Primary Highway Network. He was also responsible for development of the State's Four-Lane Grid System, which identified a network of roads needed to stimulate economic growth in Arkansas.

In 2011, Bennett was named Director of Highways and Transportation by the Arkansas Highway Commission and has since emerged as a respected liaison between the agency and elected officials at the local, state and national levels.

He has worked on legislation passed for the AHTD during the past three state legislative sessions; and is a strong advocate for finding a solution to transportation funding problems at the state level, officials said.

Bennett was a primary author and editor of the Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee on Highway Finance Report – the culmination of an 18-month effort in research and information gathering that has since served as a framework for highway funding reform in Arkansas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Bennett in 2015 to be a member of the Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding.

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