NW Ark. officials eye stimulus package as solution to infrastructure needs

BELLA VISTA, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas transportation officials are preparing a list of infrastructure projects that could benefit from federal funding under a new stimulus package.

Arkansas Highway Commission Chairman Jonathan Barnett says his top priority is the $225 million U.S. 71 bypass of Bella Vista.

President-elect Barack Obama supports a stimulus package that would create jobs through infrastructure projects in the states. The House in September passed a $61 billion economic stimulus bill, but the Senate rejected it. Officials say that bill would have provided $174.3 million for Arkansas highways, said Mike Malone.

Another project vying for economic stimulus money is improvements to the taxiway at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport at Highfill.

Democratic Congressman Vic Snyder says if a stimulus package is approved, he wants to ensure it works quickly to help the economy. His Republican colleague, John Boozman, says he considers the Bella Vista bypass a worthy project, but that he's not sure putting money into infrastructure projects is the best way to revive the economy.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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