New Legislators Hear Highway Pitch

JANUARY 4, 2007 - Posted at 12:06 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state highway department director says voters should be asked again to consider a $575 million bond package if revenue is not available to meet highway maintenance and improvement needs.

Highway and Transportation Department Director Dan Flowers addressed new legislators yesterday.  Flowers said the bond package should go back on the 2008 ballot if regular state revenue can't cover Arkansas' $19 billion in highway needs over the next ten years.  Flowers says the department anticipates getting only $4 billion over the coming decade.

In 2005, voters turned away the highway bond package.  In 1999, voters approved a $575 million bond issue for interstate highway repairs, enough to refurbish 300 miles of Arkansas' interstates.

Flowers says the 2005 measure failed because it was an open-ended proposal.  He says voters may be more amenable to a bond package with a spending cap.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)