More than anything else the story of highway funding in Arkansas is about real people. Families trying to get through traffic to get their children to school on time. Farmers who have to take a longer way around to get their crops to market because old county roads can’t handle the weight of big ag equipment. And for all of us the issue is always about safety. Nothing matters more than you knowing a state of the art, well designed road is there to get your family to the destination safely. The numbers below also help frame this discussion:
- Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the US and we are 43rd in highway spending.
- Only 18% of Arkansas highways are considered to be in “good shape”. That means 82% are poor or fair.
- While Arkansans drive more fuel efficient cars, 70% of highway funding comes from taxes based on fuel consumption, so the simple reality is that available dollars are shrinking.
- More than ever it takes federal dollars to maintain our roads, and there is every indication federal highway dollars coming to Arkansas will shrink in the years ahead.
- 12% of the county bridges in Arkansas are weight restricted to a level less than the weight of a fully loaded school bus.