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Arkansas Trucking Association Applauds DOT for Infrastructure Grants

Arkansas Trucking Association applauds the U.S. Department of Transportation for announcing its $1.5 billion investment in infrastructure projects around the U.S. including two important projects in Arkansas. DOT Sec. Elaine Chao announced today that $45 million would be awarded for Arkansas infrastructure through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program which is allocated for nationally and regionally significant projects. Interstate 49 at the Arkansas-Missouri border will receive $25 million to complete the project and an extension of a Hot Springs bypass will receive $20 million.

U.S. Department of Transportation Infrastructure Grants

Arkansas legislators including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rep. Steve Womack (Ark.-03) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (Ark.-04) supported the grant applications and asked Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao to award the funds to these projects in order to boost economic development in the area.

The demand for BUILD grants exceeded available funds, and the state is lucky to have two projects recognized out of the 851 eligible applications submitted from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Arkansas Trucking Association applauds the Department of Transportation and Washington leadership for supporting Arkansas infrastructure projects.

“Our industry relies on the federal government to ensure interstate commerce can move safely and efficiently,” said ATA President Shannon Newton. “We are so pleased our senators, representatives and officials within the USDOT have listened and delivered what our industry and state needs to meet the needs of Arkansans.”

Over the past 25 years, Missouri and Arkansas have worked to complete I-49 between Interstate 40 in Arkansas and Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Mo. The Arkansas/Missouri connector, often referred to as the Bella Vista Bypass, is the only portion of the more than 290-mile route between Kansas City, Mo., and Fort Smith, Ark., that is not interstate quality.

“Interstate access heralds the continued economic growth of any area, which is why completing the Bella Vista bypass is vital for Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. Many businesses and future infrastructure projects depend on its finalization, and this funding will allow that project’s construction finally to move forward. I am grateful to Secretary Chao and the Trump Administration for their dedication to improving Arkansas infrastructure,” said Sen. Cotton.

“This is exciting news for Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. Securing these funds for this shovel-ready project has taken years of vigorous and persistent advocating from my team. Our hard work has finally resulted in funding for a project that will yield dividends when it comes to economic growth and quality of life in the region,” Sen. Boozman said.

“Today’s funding announcement is a game changer that will do more than just upgrade the I-49 corridor – it will transform and modernize our local transportation system to support Arkansas families and the growth of our state. This investment, which I have tirelessly advocated for, will increase travel safety, decrease congestion, create jobs, and enhance the economic vitality of our region. I am grateful to Secretary Chao for listening to the concerns I brought to USDOT, and for moving this important and long overdue project forward,” said Rep. Womack.

In 2016, Garland County voters passed a five-eighths percent sales tax to raise $30 million to help fund the Hot Springs bypass extension. The $20 million grant from the U.S. DOT will help complete the project along with $5 million from the ARDOT. The project will construct an extension of the Hot Springs Bypass from the interchange of U.S. Highway 70 to the intersection of Highways 5 and 7. The bypass will consist of two 12-foot travel lanes and 8-foot shoulders.

"This grant award is an example of success that can be realized when all levels of government work together to accomplish a common goal," ARDOT Director Scott Bennett said. "Additionally, the Trump administration is looking more favorably toward projects where larger amounts of non-federal funds are being used. Almost half of the money for this project is from local sources."

"The bypass in Hot Springs plays an outsized role in our region's economy and movement of goods. This grant will further support and expand the bypass, creating opportunity for additional economic development in the Ouachitas. It will also improve response time for emergency services, which will save lives. I thank Secretary Chao and the Trump Administration for awarding this grant important to our region's expanding infrastructure," Rep. Westerman said in a written statement.

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You are here: Home News In Brief Arkansas Trucking Association Applauds DOT for Infrastructure Grants