Estimated $19 Billion in Highway Needs Lurks for Legislature

JANUARY 22, 2007 - Posted at 3:44 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Highway department director Dan Flowers told legislators today that they will have to decide how to start paying for the estimated $19 billion in needs for the state's roadways.

Flowers says legislators could approve a plan to seek a new bond issue.  Or they could dedicate money from sales taxes on car products or generate new fees.  Flowers says it is up to the House and Senate to choose whether the time is right for any of those options.

Flowers spoke before the Senate's transportation, technology and legislative affairs committee today.  He outlined the state's needs for its 655-mile interstate system and other roads.

The state expects to receive $4.1 billion for highways over the next ten years, which will only cover a part of the $19 billion in needs.

Flowers says prices for road materials continue to rise, with demand increasing worldwide and in areas redeveloping after hurricane damage.

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