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ARDOT considering two options for lack of highway funding

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is scrambling to figure out how to fund its ambitious plans for Arkansas roads, after the governor announced he will not support the department's initial proposal.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is scrambling to figure out how to fund its ambitious plans for Arkansas roads, after the governor announced he will not support the department's initial proposal.

For the past several years, ARDOT reports falling short more than $400 million to fund improvement projects; their initial proposal was to use general revenue funds, but on Tuesday Governor Asa Hutchinson said he will not support this.

"There's some discussion where we ought to divert sales tax on new and used cars or batteries over to highways, this would be anywhere from a $100-300 million hole in the general revenue budget if you took that funding stream and applied it to highways, those are funds that are necessary for education, for public safety,” he said.

Following this announcement, the highway commission taking up the issue on Wednesday. Director Scott Bennett told KATV they're looking at two choices for funding; creating a ballot measure for 2018, or letting lawmakers take the issue up during the 2019 legislative session.

"We'll be able to take care of especially rural roads, like farm to market roads that are not in good condition, I think we will be able to show you that we will be able to take care of areas of the state that are experiencing congestion by widening highways," Bennett said.

Come this December, ARDOT plans on releasing a map consisting of projects throughout the state, hoping to drum up even further support from either voters, or lawmakers.

KATV contacted the governor's office, his spokesperson said his stance has not changed.

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