The Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) applauds Governor Asa Hutchinson and his announcement to secure much needed additional funding to meet the state’s infrastructure needs. The trucking industry has a vested interest in the maintenance, safety and capacity of Arkansas’ highways.
Yesterday Governor Hutchinson announced a plan to increase highway funding by $750 million over the next 10 years, ensuring that the state would qualify to receive an additional $2 billion in federal matching funds over the same time period.
Many elements of the Governor’s program include redirecting revenue generated by road users to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. Diesel tax revenue and receipts from the ½ cent sales tax program would be properly invested in the state’s highway network.
“Our industry supports the Governor’s proposals on highway funding,” said Shannon Newton, Arkansas Trucking Association president. “It is in everyone’s best interest that Arkansas have an adequately funded, safe, efficient transportation system that is capable of meeting the needs of the citizens that live here and the businesses delivering commerce in and through our state.”
The trucking industry is grateful for our partnership with the administration and legislative leadership and the opportunity to work together on this important issue. We congratulate the Governor for devising a plan that addresses the immediate concerns, ensures the federal match and minimizes the concerns of other important stakeholders.
“We are concerned about weight-restricted bridges, deferred maintenance on major corridors, congestion issues and how each of these impacts safety,” said Newton. “The trucking industry is a very substantial consumer of the state’s highway network and a significant contributor to its funding,” addressing the industry’s vested interest. The trucking industry currently pays 44% of all taxes owed by Arkansas motorists.
Yesterday’s proposal recognizes a shift in the state’s priorities and responds to voters’ expectations. Recent polls indicate Arkansas voters perceive provision of safe, maintained roads as an essential function of state government. “Dedicating surplus funds to state highways acknowledges that good roads positively contribute to the overall welfare of the state, our standard of living and economic prosperity,” said Newton.
As Gov. Hutchinson stated, his proposals are doable and flexible. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration, the legislature and other stakeholders as the state addresses the challenges related to long-term infrastructure funding.