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2nd Quarter 2012


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A publication of the ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS/ TRANSPORTATION COUNCIL

2012 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

From the Desk of D.B. Hill, Executive Director

Jim Wooten • Beebe PRESIDENT

The cover of this quarter’s magazine shows a busy four lane highway just south of Little Rock on a clear summer day. During this time of year, all of Arkansas’ highways are going to be busy as Arkansans and guests to our state are driving to various destinations to enjoy our beautiful state. Later this year, we will have the opportunity to ensure our four lane highways, county roads and city streets continue to be inviting to all who drive them. In the November general election, Arkansas voters will be given the chance to approve a temporary ½ percent increase in the state sales tax. With this increase, four lane highways around the state will be constructed and improved over a ten year period. Not only will four lane highways be improved, Arkansas’ counties and cities will receive 15% respectively for their use. Additionally, a NEW State Aid City Street Fund will be created to assist cities with their growing infrastructure needs. Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council and its members will play an integral part in the passage of this program. Each of us will be given the opportunity over the next four months to speak to the merits of the ½ percent sales tax increase. The opportunities to speak may come in a formal presentation to a civic club, to a chamber of commerce or to a city board or county quorum court. Or the opportunity may come in an informal gathering of family or friends. No matter the opportunity, we need to be prepared to speak in favor of the proposal. We will have available all types of materials to speak from and to leave with your audience after the presentation. Please contact our office to arrange for these materials. Arkansas Good Roads exists to “educate the public on the importance and value of a modern and safe transportation system”; now is the time for us to SHINE! I look forward to hearing from and working with all of you for the successful passage of the ½ percent sales tax initiative.

D.B. Hill, III • Little Rock VICE PRESIDENT Bob Crafton • Rogers SECRETARY/TREASURER Andy Anderson • El Paso Don Beavers • Hot Springs Johnnie Bolin • Crossett Jack Buffington • Rogers Sandra Burke • Forrest City Ann Cash • McGehee Benson Cashion • Little Rock Jane Christenson • Harrison Chris Claybaker • Camden Ken Cowling • Ashdown Tommy Cox • El Dorado Joe Fakouri • Monticello Dan Flowers • North Little Rock Wes Fowler • Huntsville Curt Green • Texarkana Nick Haynes • Memphis, TN Mary “Prissy” Hickerson • Texarkana Stanley Hill • Little Rock Jim Holsted • Mountain Home Don House • Walnut Ridge David Hudson • Fort Smith Mike Jacobs • Clarksville Henry Jones, III • Jonesboro Mark Lamberth • Batesville Michael Lincoln • Searcy Jeff Lynch • Heber Springs Clay McGeorge • Little Rock Bob Myers • Fordyce Harold Perrin • Jonesboro Mat Pitsch • Fort Smith Bill Ramsey • Fayetteville Bill J. Reed • Stuttgart Preston Scroggin • Conway Terry Sherwood • Quitman Kevin Smith • Nashville Doug Sprouse • Springdale Marvin Steele • West Memphis Max Tackett • Nashville Steve Thweatt • Hot Springs Tab Townsell • Conway Teresa Walsh • Crossett Ed Way • Jonesboro Don L. Weaver • El Paso Pat Webb • Star City

ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS TRANSPORTATION COUNCIL

Mission Statement

The Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council gathers and disseminates information to educate the public on the importance and value of a modern and safe highway system, adequately financed through dedicated funding sources, to provide for the economic growth of the State and its citizens.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE Dr. Kevin Hall • Fayetteville CHAIRMAN Preston Bynum • Little Rock VICE CHAIRMAN Tommy Fish • Little Rock Senator Bobby Glover • Carlisle Reginald Glover • Monticello Dr. Jack Lassiter • UAM John Suskie • Little Rock

501-851-1955

www.agrtc.com Articles published in AGRTC’s magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AGRTC and should be recognized as articles by guest writers. Cover photo courtesy of John Jackson, AHTD

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 3


From the desk of AHTD Director

Scott Bennett T

he summer months are a busy time for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and for motorists traveling our state on summer vacations. With the warmer weather, highway crews are out in force and our overlay program is swinging into full gear. A $50 million annual overlay budget is allowing us to resurface literally hundreds of miles of highways this year across the state. This means a new, safer driving surface for those traveling our state in the months ahead. This summer, revenue from the Natural Gas Severance Tax is providing an additional $30 million for overlays. Funds from this tax are being utilized for resurfacing highways in the Fayetteville Shale area of north central Arkansas. The improvements that these two programs bring about are vital in allowing us to keep our highways in the best shape possible. In addition to resurfacing projects taking place this summer, motorists will see exciting improvements on our Interstates beginning at the end of this year when the new Interstate Rehabilitation Program gets underway. In a special election last November, voters overwhelmingly approved renewing a $575 million bond program for our Interstate system. Between 75 and 80 projects are expected to be let to contract that will allow us to rebuild over 450 miles of Interstate highways. The new program will be financed by the Interstate Maintenance category of Federal funds and the existing four cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel dedicated for this purpose. With these improvements, Arkansas’ Interstate system will become one of the best in the country. And still another opportunity to improve our high-

4 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012

ways comes before voters this November when Arkansans vote on a temporary ½-percent increase in the state sales tax. Approval at the voting booth would fund a $1.8 billion program that would construct and improve four-lane highways in Arkansas over the next ten years. If this proposal passes, not only would our highways benefit, cities and counties would benefit greatly through increased turnback revenues. A new State Aid City Streets program would also be created. This program would be similar to the State Aid County Road program that has been used to improve county roads since 1973. Many miles of city streets could be constructed or maintained under this new program. This time of year our highways are busier than ever. Our construction crews around the state will be busy as well as they work to keep our highways in top shape. And behind the scenes, we will be working hard to ensure that we invest our revenue for highway improvements as effectively as possible. The vote in November is an opportunity that we, as Arkansans, need to take advantage of. It will bring significant improvements to our highways, county roads and city streets in the years ahead. We know we can count on our friends and supporters in the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council to help inform and educate their fellow Arkansans on the benefits of this program.


Funding For New Conway Airport Announced By Deborah Horn It took six years, two fatalities and $5.8 million in federal funding to move Conway’s airport to a safer, more secure location. Currently the Dennis F. Cantrell Field Airport is sandwiched between Interstate 40 and a residential neighborhood, and that’s been a problem. In 2007, two people were killed when a plane slammed into a nearby home. This and two accidents involving turbojet aircraft and growing airport congestion prompted the city to find a new home, west of the city at Lollie Bottoms, for its airport. Conway Mayor Tab Townsell says the airport funding is for a larger amount and arrived earlier than expected. According to Conway Development Corp Senior Vice President Jamie Gates, the money came from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, and that local officials and his organization spent about six years developing a plan for a state-ofthe-art airport and looking for funding. Gates says it will be completed by August 2014. Once the new airport opens, the old one will be closed and sold or developed. Work on the airport was already underway but the funding means paving the 5,500-foot runway can begin this July, Townsell says. It also pays for perimeter fencing that will serve as security and a wildlife deterrent.

A bigger airport and longer runway means it can handle larger and more aircraft, Townsell says. As important, the airport will meet the demands of the growing community. Gates says, “The driver was definitely the safety issue but beyond that we need an airport that fits our growing economy and that meets or exceeds our needs.” “This funding keeps the new airport scheduled for an on-time arrival and will allow for safer and more efficient travel in and out of Conway,” according to U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, who was instrumental in the early funding because of conversation he had with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This airport is one of many projects that puts Conway on the map for future job creation and economic growth.” U.S. Senator John Boozman says, “Conway’s new airport is vital to job creation in the region. General aviation airports like this provide many benefits including access for business flights, emergency response, aviation-specific jobs, medical flights, tourism, and air cargo.” Pryor says the entire county will benefit because it will be a regional center for the Fayetteville Shale Play. Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin was thrilled (continued next page)

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 5


Conway Airport (continued) to hear the funding announcement in late May. “It’s light years ahead of what Faulkner County has now,” and is another piece in the long-term infrastructure plan that will ensure continued economic growth in Central Arkansas, he says. Commerce isn’t the only increase taxing the county’s infrastructure. For example Faulkner County has experienced major population growth because of job opportunities in such areas as the natural gas extraction, Gates says. One of the biggest sources of population growth is the people who come to Conway for an education. The city is home to three institutions of higher learning, and many end up staying, he adds. So, it’s not surprising that Conway’s population has doubled in the last 20 years to about 60,000, while the county’s population grew by 31.6 percent or to about 113,200, but it also means officials must try to anticipate future needs.

Scroggin says, “With all the growth we’ve experienced, it’s been challenging.” But Conway, as well as the rest of Central Arkansas, also has untapped potential. “Basically, we are at the crossroads of the country, and with the work on U.S. Highway 64 and Interstate 40, the future of Faulkner County is bright,” he says. Without the previous improvements to the infrastructure, Scoggin says, development of the Fayetteville Shale would have proved much more difficult or not worth the effort. With the extraction of natural gas, a number of secondary roads have been developed. In turn, this is paving the way for more commercial and industrial development. Scroggin says, “We’re lucky to have a healthy, wellbalanced industry, and soon executives can fly in and out of the area.” Still the county judge dreams about the future. “I would like to see a technology park that could support various industries, and bike trails and other outdoor activities that would attract younger people to the area.”

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Former AGRTC Executive Director Recognized For His Advocacy For Better Roads For years, Johnnie Bolin of Crossett dedicated his talents to building a better Arkansas. He started as an hourly employee, then worked as a salesman and later as union rep, until he moved into upper management and finally a successful business owner. However, that wasn’t enough, so he ran for state representative and won. Bolin served three terms in the Arkansas House, and while there he chaired the House Transportation Committee, the Transportation and Culture Affairs Committee for the Southern Legislative Conference, and he served on the powerful Arkansas Joint Budget Committee. Although he termed out as representative, his story didn’t end there. Six years ago, he took the helm as Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council Executive Director. He worked with legislators, city and county officials, and traveled the state talking about the importance of good roads to anyone or any group—whether a public servant or private citizen— willing to listen. His hard work didn’t go unnoticed and this May, Bolin was recognized by the Delta Grassroots Caucus and by the Inspire Hope Institute with the Inspire Hope Award for his dedication to Arkansas’ interstate and highway systems. Award recipients are chosen from volunteers working in 252 counties in eight states, bordering the Mississippi River, including parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. “Johnnie is a great guy who

By Deborah Horn

JOHNNIE BOLIN

deserves this award,” Delta Grassroots Caucus Member Lee Powell said. McGehee Mayor Jack May said, “Johnnie has made a real difference in the Delta.” Powell, who presented the award to Bolin in the Great Hall on the second floor of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, told the audience, “We’ve only given this award three times in our history to people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in promoting a brighter economic future for the Greater Delta Region.” Bolin, he continued, “is a former legislator with a wide range of knowledge about the Delta. As

executive director of Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, he worked with the Delta Regional Authority and Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee to promote Highway Finance on transportation issues…He’s spent a great deal of time working in a bipartisan effort with surrounding states on I-69 and recently they broke ground… Johnnie was and is one of the crusaders for that vital transportation artery that we have all been working on for so long.” Powell was referring to the proposed 2,700-mile Interstate 69 that will run from Canada to Mexico through a number of states, including Arkansas. Bolin and other Southeast Arkansas officials and politicians have worked tirelessly to make sure an Interstate 69 connector, about 185-miles long, made its way through the state. “Moreover, many people including U.S. Congressman (Mike) Ross feel strongly that a major investment program in transportation and other infrastructure would not only be a big plus in job creation and helping the economic recovery, but would also improve our badly deteriorating infrastructure,” Powell said. Ross believes Interstate 69 will lead to economic growth, including the creation of 1,000s of jobs and billions in wages. Bolin has devoted decades to I-69. He said about the award, “Being chosen as a recipient is an honor and a privilege…Southeast Arkansas has been good to me but it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place than we found it.”

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 7


Dedicated To Better Roads and a Brighter Future For 90 years. slow and steady has proven a good strategy for Lion Oil Co. of Eldorado, but that doesn’t mean the company can’t adapt and adjust to a changing marketplace, even contributing innovations of its own. In addition to producing 80,000 barrels of sour crude daily, their approximately 900 employees supply products such ultra-low sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels, propanes and solvents throughout most of Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. The company produces asphalt cements and flux, Medium-Curing and Rapid-Curing cutback asphalts, Colay asphalt and slurry oil. Lion also produces roofing flux, with about half used by the roofing industry and about half by the paving industry. Currently the company supplies about 70 percent of the asphalt used in Arkansas. “We are the only asphalt producer in the state and these are used by highway contractors, emulsion manufacturers, roofing plants, and wood treatment operations, as well as state, county, and municipal

      

By Deborah Horn

government agencies,� says company Vice President of Black Oils Steve Thweatt. Lion Oil Company was bought by the publicly-traded Delek US, headquarted in Brentwood, Tenn. in May 2011, and in addition to their employees, Thweatt estimates that the company supports about 600 industry-related businesses. Instead of waiting for changes, Thweatt says his company is out front working toward more effective, environmentally-friendly and money-saving techniques. “We have a lot of knowledge and experience, and we recently worked with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department on developing new minimum specifications for a variety of roads. The specs needed for interstate roadways are different than those for a four- or two-lane highway, and these modifications result in a smoother ride and extend the life of the asphalt,� he says. Of course, extended road life means long-term savings.

      

(continued on next page)

      

    

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8 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012

 


Dedicated To (continued) The highway department has also used their laboratories to resolve asphalt issues in the past. AHTD Director Scott Bennett says, “Lion Oil has been a great corporate citizen in Arkansas for many years, and they have certainly been active in the road business during that time. We share common goals—we both (Lion Oil and the AHTD) recognize the importance of providing a quality product. Lion Oil Company was a founding member of AGRTC, and company executive Tommy Cox served on the Board as a company representative at that time. Since his retirement, Thweatt stepped into the position; however, Cox remains on the AGRTC Board. “We been involved in the on-going efforts of the AGRTC to educate the public of the need for improved roadways and safety,” Thweatt says. Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council Interim Executive Director D.B. Hill says, “Lion Oil Company has been a tremendous asset to, and supporter of, the asphalt industry, and since AGRTC’s inception in 1975, the company has been a great partner.” So when the 88th General Assembly met under the direction of Speaker of the House Robert Moore, who was instrumental in crafting a tax and bond issue that would appeal to Arkansas voters, Thweatt says they wholeheartedly supported the effort. But it’s not all about the money. “We’ve worked to design specs for the use of recycled materials such as RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) and RAS (reclaimed asphalt shingles) in road construction. We’ve worked on warm mix asphalt, which saves money and is safer to use. Just lowering the temperatures from 350 to 250 makes it easier on workers in the field and lowers emissions. There are a lot of advantages to using recycled materials and lower the temperature. Scott says despite the changing nature of the business, “We at the AHTD must provide our customers, the citizens of Arkansas, with safe and cost-effective roadways. But for us to be successful, we must have quality products from our suppliers, and Lion Oil has always been consistent in that regard. Not only do they supply our many road contractors, but they have also been a supplier to the AHTD on our maintenance work for years. We have developed a great working relationship with Lion Oil and we appreciate their cooperative spirit.”

Thweatt has more than 30 years in the business and earlier this year spoke at the Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association Conference about road preservation as a way of cutting costs without sacrificing quality. “We need to spend our money more wisely and that means paving smarter, not cheaper,” he said at the conference. One option is a thin lift overlay, which can extend the life of a road. “We, like so many others, are now stressing road longevity, less maintenance and lower emissions, and together we feel we have made a real difference in the quality of our roads.” There more work to be done, including the passage of a 10-year, 1/2-cent sales tax this fall. According to the Highway Department, 70 percent, or about $1.5 billion, of the money will be dedicated to the state for four-lane highway construction and maintenance, with 30, or about $680 million, percent split between the state’s incorporated cities and 75 counties. Despite the decades of service, changes in industry expectations and practices, and in ownership, Lion Oil bought the El Dorado refinery in 1985, Thweatt says proudly, “We’re still paving the way.”

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 9


Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway

At Hot Springs, Ark. 7 passes through downtown and by Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park. The ‘Row’ is described as “the grandest collection of bathhouses of their kind in the nation,” and is a National Historic Landmark District with structures dating to the late 1800s. Eight bathhouses make up the Row including the Buckstaff Bathhouse, which has operated continuously since 1912 and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. It is the only bathhouse on the Row that has never closed and it still offers the traditional spa treatments. Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park owe their existence to an array of springs that still supply naturally heated water for thermal bathers. Hot Springs is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System. It dates back to 1832 when Congress established, 40 years ahead of Yellowstone, the first federally protected area in the nation’s history. Continuing though the forested Ouachitas, the route passes through the Ouachita National Forest, the South’s oldest national forest. Hiking trails and campgrounds developed by the U.S. Forest Service show off the scenic points in these woodlands.

By Zoie Clift and Jill Rohrbach, travel writers Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Extending through four diverse geographical regions, Ark. 7 from Arkadelphia to Harrison became Arkansas’s first scenic byway in 1993. It was extended in 1999 to include the highway south to the Louisiana state line for a total length of 290 miles. While its official northern point is Harrison, there are plenty of beautiful pastoral views if you follow it on north to the quaint little fishing town of Diamond City. Arguably one of the most scenic drives in America, Scenic 7 starts in the coastal plain region of southern Arkansas, a region that is filled with dense woods of pine and cypress, and is known for being the heart of an oil boom beginning in 1921 near El Dorado. The region witnessed one of the largest and most dramatic oil discoveries in the nation. Today, El Dorado’s downtown is a national historic district and hosts beautifully renovated 1920s and 1930s style buildings and a quiet charm. Ark. 7 goes right by the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in nearby Smackover, where visitors can learn more about the South Arkansas oil boom. The road continues to Camden, a city located on the banks of the Ouachita River and rich in Civil War history. State parks surround the byway, offering a glimpse of the history that is an integral part of this region of the state. Three Civil War battles took place in this area, part of the Union Army’s “Red River Campaign.” Arkansas’s three

state historic parks that commemorate these battles — Poison Springs Battleground State Park, Marks’ Mills Battleground State Park and Jenkins Ferry Battleground State Park — are part of the Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark and roads leading to each of these parks can be accessed via Ark. 7. Near Arkadelphia, the route enters the rolling peaks and valleys of the Ouachita Mountains, famous for their quartz crystals and clear mountain streams. Scenic Ark. 7 passes by the beautiful 13,400-acre DeGray Lake. This year, Bassmaster Magazine selected the lake as one of the country’s Top 100 Bass Lakes. The lake is also home to Arkansas’s only resort state park.

10 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012

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From the Ouachitas, Highway 7 winds its way into the Arkansas River Valley. Situated between the Ouachitas and the Ozark Mountains, this more level terrain leads through pastoral lands. To the west, Mount Nebo can be seen in the distance and Holla Bend National Wildlife area is a short detour to the east as you head into the cities of Dardanelle and Russellville. Shopping and dining is plentiful along this stretch, and Lake Dardanelle State Park is located just off the scenic byway. The park is popular for bass fishing, hiking trails, and lake tours on 34,000-acre Lake Dardanelle. Park amenities include boat ramps, pavilion, a state-of-the-art visitor center with interactive exhibits, campground, marina, and miniature golf. Leaving the valley, Scenic 7 ascends into the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas, noted for its clear mountain streams. Next, enter the Ozark National Forest, which covers more than one million acres, mostly in northwestern Arkansas. It is dominated by such species as dogwood, maple, redbud, serviceberry and witchhazel, making for a gorgeous drive in the spring and in the fall. Popular with motorcyclists, this

Hwy 7 Bridge at Pruitt

section of the route sharply twists, particularly as it wends its way beside the incredible vista known as the “Grand Canyon of the Ozarks” right before it reaches the quaint small town square of Jasper. Located in Newton County, Jasper is surrounded by natural beauty and outdoor opportunities like hiking, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. This is also the area where the nearby Buffalo National River, the nation’s first national river celebrating its 40th anniversary this year,

begins to flow. A herd of about 450 elk roam the Buffalo River corridor at Boxley Valley, Steel Creek, Kyle’s Landing, Erbie, Ozark, Pruitt, and even on private lands, and Newton County is known as the Elk Capital of Arkansas. The annual Buffalo River Elk Festival takes place on the picturesque Jasper square with its beautiful courthouse in the middle and gazebos on the grounds. A little farther north, hanging baskets of flowers and awnings accentuate old brick storefronts that line the Harrison square, which with a few adjacent buildings, make up its national historic district. The flavor of the city is reflected in its downtown parks, the historic Lyric Theater, the 1909 Boone County courthouse, the 1914 Boone County Jail, and the completely restored 1929 Hotel Seville. Downtown Harrison also embraces restaurants, an art gallery, antique stores, and other retail shops. It also boasts the Boone County Heritage Museum. THINGS TO KNOW: Shopping, lodging and dining can be found in the byway’s major cities: El Dorado, Camden, Arkadelphia, Hot Springs, Russellville, Jasper and Harrison, and in smaller communities along the way. Lodges, cabins and campgrounds are available in the various state parks. Camping is also available at U.S. Forest Service recreation areas within the Ouachita and Ozark national forests and at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation areas on DeGray Lake, Lake Nimrod and Lake Dardanelle on the Arkansas River. Private resorts, cabins and other lodging, as well as dining options, are also available. Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606 E-mail: info@arkansas.com

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 11


AGRTC

Board Meeting June 5, 2012

Lindsey Cook greets AGRTC Board members and guests

12 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012


2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 13


Good Roads Talks Strategic Plans, Finance By Deborah Horn “We’re concerned about keeping our momentum going forward until Nov. 6,” board member Mark Lamberth said at the quarterly Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council June board meeting. Arkansans will have an opportunity to vote on a 1/2-cent sales tax increase to help fund highway construction and maintenance on that day, and AGRTC is among the groups supporting that tax. “We’re in the early stages of raising money and as we get closer to Labor Day (Sept. 3), we plan to run TV ads,” he said. Lamberth, of Batesville, and state Highway Commissioner Madison Murphy, of El Dorado, cochair the Move Arkansas Forward campaign that’s working in support of the 10-year sales tax increase that will fund Arkansas’ badly needed road improvements and construction. $1.8 BILLION If approved the tax is expected to raise about $1.8 billion dedicated to the state’s four-lane highway system. But it’s not just about Arkansas’ state highways. While, 70 percent (about $1.4 billion) of the tax revenue will be dedicated to AHTD, the balance (30 percent or about $680 million) will be divided, with half going to Arkansas’ incorporated cities and half to the state’s 75 counties. Lamberth also talked about the creation of a State Aid City Road Program, much like the existing State Aid County Road Program, that will result in another $20 million for city street improvements each year. The money for this program will come from the diversion of 1 cent from the state’s already existing motor fuel sales tax. “Cities will be allowed to bond this money,” he says. This means they can get the money upfront by selling bonds secured by that one cent. A booklet titled “Move Arkansas Forward,” which Lamberth provided to AGRTC Board Members, lists the approximate turnback that would accrue to each county and municipality. “Those are very conservative numbers,” he said. “This is about making our roads safe. Just think about the numbers of school buses, there are thousands and thousands, on our highways. I believe if people realize 14 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012

the value of this tax, they will support it. Anyone who needs a speaker can contact us or go to our website at: MoveArkansasForward.com,” he said. Lamberth also told Board Members that they’ve had encouraging poll results, even among Arkansans who have experienced difficulty during the economic downturn. “With your time and talent, we will make this thing work,” he finished. THOMA MAPS WAY FORWARD Following Lamberth, the AGRTC Board heard from Thoma Thoma. “I delighted to be here,” company owner Martin Thoma said at the start of his presentation. “We were engaged to develop a website and develop a strategic plan. We met with D.B. Hill and the Board earlier in the year and at the last (specially called) Board meeting, we showed them the new (AGRTC) Website. How do we move forward from here?” Hill, who chaired the June meeting in the absence of President Jim Wooten, currently serves as vice president and interim executive director. Thoma went on to tell members that his group planned on three AGRTC initiatives, including: striving for financial stability; hiring a permanent executive director (to replace the interim executive director) and developing an education and organizational plan. The first phase of the Thoma program would strive to increase AGRTC membership, the organization’s Web presence and promote the “Better Roads, Better Future” program. He talked about his firm’s experience with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and how they were able to turn a failing nonprofit around. “They were in dire straits and need sustainable resources,” Thoma said. Also Board Members went to work and personally asked for donations. “The organization is now in the black and attendance and tickets sales are at an all-time high,” he said. He suggested AGRTC Board Members get more involved, whether through fund raising efforts or building membership numbers, as well as cutting expenses. (continued next page)


Good Roads Talks Strategic Plans, Finance (continued) PICK EASY GOAL “Build momentum by picking an easy goal and achieving it. Success builds more success, and then we can get the financial momentum going,” he said. Following Thoma’s presentation, Hill talked about a “three-ring concept” approach to finding and building membership and achieving financial stability. The inner ring included companies such as contractors and their supply dealers directly impacted that would be asked to contribute $50 per employee in membership dues. “They would self-report,” Hill said. The two outer rings included groups impacted by the industry but less directly, such as truck drivers, manufacturers and finally tourism, retail or anyone who benefits from economic development in this state. Educators should have a real says in this, because buses account for about 42 million highway miles each year.

INFORMING LEGISLATORS “We need to raise money so that when the (Arkansas) Legislature meets next January, they will hear from us,” Hill said. Hill said he would like to see AGRTC’s annual budget raised from $162,000 to about $300,000. “Arkansas Good Roads has to remain an advocacy group and educational force in Arkansas,” he said. He also asked Board Members to support and purchase AGRTC window art, which includes the Better Roads, Better Future Website and logo. Anyone interested in ordering window art for their vehicle, can contact Laverne Sterling at (501) 375-8566. “I would love to see every contractor with the logo in their back window,” he said. Board Member Ann Cash presented Hill with an AGRTC donation and challenged other Board Members to do the same. (continued next page)

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Good Roads Talks Strategic Plans, Finance (continued) Board Member Teresa Walsh of Crossett spoke to the group about the advantages of using PayPal. “We need new ways to stay competitive…It eliminates the hassle, all they have to do is whip out a card,” she said about paying membership dues. AGRTC Board Member Clay McGeorge said the Rujay Burke Memorial Golf Tournament, AGRTC’s annual fundraiser would be held Friday, Oct. 5, at Harbor Oaks Golf Club at 1 Harbor Oaks Dr. in Pine Bluff. “We need donated items for goodie bags,” he said. Registration forms can be found in this issue of Arkansas Good Roads magazine or call Laverne Sterling at (501) 375-8566. As the day’s final business, former AGRTC Executive Director Johnnie Bolin was recognized by the Board as an Inspire Hope Award winner. “He was honored by the Delta Grassroots Caucus and by the Inspire Hope Institute for going beyond the call of duty in his dedication to the betterment of Arkansas, including his work on the state’s roadway system,” Hill said.

FACT SHEET Proposed Constitutional Amendment #1 Temporary 1⁄2¢ Sales Tax and State Aid Street Fund

1. The proposed amendment will appear on the November 6, 2012, General Election Ballot a Proposed Constitutional Amendment #1. 2. The amendment provides for a temporary 1⁄2¢ state sales tax to be used for construction and improvement of a four-lane highway system connecting all parts of the state. Plus, it provides turnback revenue for every city and county to be used for local road and street projects. 3. The temporary 1⁄2¢ sales tax will not be charged on groceries or medicine. 4. With voter approval, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Commission will be authorized to issue Four-Lane Highway Construction and Improvement General Obligation Bonds in an amount up to $1.3 billion. In addition, approximately $670 million will be shared equally between all Arkansas cities and counties for local projects. 5. Temporary taxes under this amendment will only be collected over a 10-year period. The tax will be abolished once the bonds are paid off. 6. Construction and maintenance work on state highways, county roads and city streets will support over 40,000 jobs, while making Arkansas roads safer for all, including

(continued next page)

Visit Arkansas Good Roads Website www.arkansasgoodroads.com

16 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012


FACT SHEET (continued) school busses, emergency vehicles and drivers sharing the highways with large trucks. 8. Highway construction and maintenance will improve the economy and create statewide economic development, making it more desirable for companies to do business and create jobs in Arkansas. 9. The temporary sales tax will cost the average Arkansas household $60 per year, but will not be charged on groceries or medicine. 10. The amendment also creates a permanent $20 million State Aid Street Fund to be finance by the existing motor fuel tax.

There will be no increase in gas taxes. (a list of county-by-county and cityby-city estimated revenues based on

an equal split of 30% state turn back can be viewed by going to http://movearkansasforward.com )

4-Lane Highway System 4-Lane Grid 4ͲLaneGrid

$7.8 billion $7.8billion

RegionalConnectors Regional Connectors $0.6billion $0.6 billion Econ.Dev.Connectors Economic Development Connectors $0.3billion $0.3 billion TOTAL TOTAL

$8.7billion $8.7 billion

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 17


Work Zone Awareness By Danny Moore, President of Arkansas ATSSA Each year, since the establishment of National Work Zone Awareness Week on December 15, 1999, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) conducts an awareness/media event every April (the normal beginning of the construction season) to raise public awareness of the hazards that exist for workers – motorists – and pedestrians in roadway work zones. The underlying goal of the campaign is to reduce accidents and injuries in roadway work zones, whether that is areas of new construction or areas of general maintenance activities. Ever since the Arkansas Chapter of ATSSA was

established in early 2007, a strong commitment and effort to enhance safety and public awareness of work zone activities has been made in the State of Arkansas. The Arkansas Chapter of ATSSA has committed to working with the Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department (AHTD), the Arkansas Associated General Contractors Association (AGC), and its member companies to improve worker, motorists, and pedestrian safety in construction, maintenance, and utility operations throughout the State. Training opportunities for national certification in work zone safety are available through the Chapter.

Danny Moore, President Arkansas ATSSA.

Jim Genty, Chairman Work Zone Safety Awareness, reads Proclamation by Governor Beebe.

18 ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS • 2nd Quarter 2012


Municipal League Convention

Darren Wallace and Scott Moore

TIPS/TAPS Consultants David Mabe and Mike Stevens

Eric Wilkerson and Chuck King, Government Sales-Copy Systems

Stuttgart Alderman Jim Craig, Bauxite Mayor Johnny McMahan and Bill Robison Carissa Noriega and Martha Moore

McCormick Asphalt & Excavating, Inc.

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 19


EMERALD MEMBERS

2012 Rujay Burke Memorial Golf Tournament Friday, October 5, 2012 Harbor Oaks Country Club Pine Bluff, Arkansas

DIAMOND MEMBERS

For additional information, contact the AGRTC office at

501-375-8566 PLATINUM MEMBERS

McGeorge Contracting Company ERGON, INC. GOLD MEMBERS

Thank You To Our Advertisers

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Commission Authorizes Changes to Speed Limits On Selected Rural Four and Five Lane Highways LITTLE ROCK (6-13) – The Arkansas Highway Commission authorized Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) to raise speed limits on certain highways during a regular meeting of the Commission on Tuesday. A recent analysis of rural

four and five lane highways recommended that increased speed limits be allowed on a number of highways from 55 mph to 60 mph. “The Commission asked us earlier this year to study these rural highways to determine if modifications to the speed limits were

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warranted,” said AHTD Director Scott Bennett. “Based on a thorough engineering analysis, where safety is always first, we have determined that there are sections of these highways that may warrant a raise in the speed limit.” Approximately 265 miles of rural, four and five lane, undivided highways are included and will be considered for raising speed limits from 55 mph to 60 mph. Speed limit sign changes could be made within the next several weeks. The Department reviewed all rural four and five lane highways currently posted at 55 mph. Sections of less than two miles were generally excluded. A total of 87 sections were studied in detail, including a review of the design speeds, the 85th percentile speeds and crash rates, as well as the locations of traffic signals and school zones. For more information go to www.arkansashighways.com.

3rd Quarter 2012 Deadline: September 14, 2012 Contact: Laverne Sterling 501-375-8566

2nd Quarter 2012 • ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS 21


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AGRTC Magazine 2nd Quarter 2012  

AGRTC Magazine 2nd Quarter 2012