Beebe Proposes Using Surplus for Highways, Extra City-County Funds

FEBRUARY 13, 2007 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CST

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe says part of the state budget surplus could be spent on cities and counties and on highway improvements.  But Beebe still says the first priority for the surplus still should be improving public school buildings.

The surplus is estimated at $843 million.

Beebe's first appointee to the state Highway Commission, former state Senator Cliff Hoofman, says Beebe's highway plan calls for using $100 million of the surplus for highway work.  He says Beebe also wants to raise the tax on diesel fuel by five cents per gallon and extend bonds used to finance interstate highway improvements.

Extending the bonds would require a public vote.

Beebe did not provide specifics on how much money would be available for cities or counties or for the highway improvements, and said it would depend on how much money is needed for school facilities.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)