Extra gas tax revenue to benefit cities, counties in east Arkansas

FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - East Arkansas municipalities and counties will benefit from the passage of a measure during the general election which will dedicate gas tax revenue to road projects.

According to Ray Woodruff, District 1 Engineer, Issue 1 will provide benefits to area cities and counties along with a highway project.

"We have one project that will be completed thanks to the passage of Issue 1 last week. We have a project to widen Hwy. 64 to four lanes from just west of Marion to the Cross County line, and that project will be finished thanks to Issue 1. It will start at the Ebony area and continue west to the county line. Other than that, the majority of the help will be to the cities and counties," said Woodruff.

Under the bill, funding will also be provided to counties and a program, similar to the current state-aid program for counties, will be created for cities.

"Right now, we have the state-aid program which dedicates one cent of the gas tax to counties to assist with road projects. That program will now receive additional funding and a new state-aid program is going to be created which will also take one cent of the gas tax and dedicate it to road projects for municipal projects," said Woodruff.

The tax will not help with the completion of the next phase of a widening project for Hwy. 1, south of Marianna. Woodruff said that project will be finished as part of the state's standard package with plans to let the next phase of the project for bids next year.

"The Hwy. 1 project will continue as part of the standard state package. That project is scheduled to be let maybe in the fall of next year and will go from where it stopped just south of Marianna to the Phillips County line," said Woodruff.

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