Bond Proposals Put to the Test on December 13th

December 1, 2005--Posted at 6:30 p.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, AR--Governor Huckabee's highway bond proposal is gathering some important backers, including the top executives of Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods. The bond issue will be decided by you the voters in a special election December 13th. The other bond issue to be decided by voters concerns higher education. If approved, neither of these bond referendums would trigger a tax hike. The money is already allocated in the state general budget. It's money that is already in place it just needs your approval.

"It is a bond issue for the purpose of keeping interstates repaired and rebuilt," said Arkansas Highway Commissioner John E. Regenold.

With Interstates 55, 40, 30 and 540 in the state having quality roadways is crucial to the local economy.

"If you don't have interstates and repaired interstates you won't get economic development," said Regenold.

But the measure does have its opponents. The Arkansas Trucking Association is against the proposal. Trucking Association President Lane Kidd says the program is irresponsible. He says it would give five unelected highway commissioners a revolving credit card and a 575 million dollar credit line to use at their will.

In addition to the interstate bond issue also on the ballot December 13 will be the issue of higher education bonds in Arkansas, under this bond 150 million dollars will be dispersed across the state to 2 year universities like Arkansas Northeastern College and 4 year universities like Arkansas State University.

"The money from these higher education bonds will be used to maintain our facilities and some cases some institutions are proposing new buildings on their campuses," said Arkansas Northeastern College President Dr. Robin Myers.

Money that will have a major impact here in Northeastern Arkansas.

"Look about 50 to 60 miles from Jonesboro and all those community colleges that serve Northeastern Arkansas, this region would be participating in the proceeds from this higher education bond initiative," said Myers.

Schools like Mid-South Community College, East Arkansas Community College and Black River Technical College are just a few of the schools in need of an upgrade.

"It is very critical that we enable our universities to be on the cutting edge of technology," said Myers.

One program that will be implemented if these bonds are passed is the E-corridor.

"It's a version of the internet that is 1000's of times faster and it is the common mode used by researchers across the country," said Myers.

Currently Arkansas is the only state in the region not using E-corridor.

Early voting is already underway for both issues.