GOOD ROADS The Magazine of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
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Issue 1 Means Roads & Jobs In Arkansas Timber Country
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Member FINRA & SIPC
2020 EXECUTIVE BOARD Dan Flowers – North Little Rock President D.B. Hill, III – Little Rock Vice President Bob Crafton – Rogers Secretary/Treasurer Harold Beaver – Rogers JoAnne Bush – Lake Village Mark Hayes – Little Rock Mark Lamberth – Batesville Clay McGeorge – Little Rock Robert Moery – Little Rock Robert S. Moore, Jr. – Arkansas City Shannon Newton – Little Rock Chris Villines – Searcy Jim Wooten – Beebe
Dan Flowers President
D.B. Hill, III Vice President
Bob Crafton Secretary/Treasurer
Harold Beaver Rogers
JoAnne Bush Lake Village
Mark Hayes Little Rock
Mark Lamberth Batesville
Clay McGeorge Little Rock
Robert Moery Little Rock
ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS FOUNDATION The Arkansas Good Roads/ Transportation Council was established in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt and tax-deductible organization. In 2015, the council was re-established as a foundation in order to be a more visible and credible voice on behalf of the mission of the Arkansas Highway Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The purpose of the foundation is to promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction, and maintenance of a safe and efficient highway, street, road, and bridge system, including transportation enhancements. The work increases statewide economic growth, private sector job creation and retention, and improves the quality of life in all Arkansas counties, municipalities, and communities.
Joe Quinn, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Paddack, Editor email@example.com Celia Blasier, Designer firstname.lastname@example.org Robert S. Moore, Jr. Arkansas City
Shannon Newton Little Rock
Chris Villines Little Rock
Jim Wooten Beebe
Winter 2020 | Good Roads Foundation 3
6 Randy Ort Leads by Example 10 AGRF Scholarship Award Recipients 12 TRIP Report: Infrastructure Information
Now deputy director, he likes to encourage ARDOT employees to do their best and maybe think outside the box a little bit. Six students receive $3,000 scholarships from the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation.
Good Roads Partners with national organization to release new data points on Arkansas roads and bridges.
16 The Fight for Roads and Jobs
Arkansas timber country provides an understanding of the link between quality roads and good-paying jobs.
20 The Significance of Approving Issue 1
Arkansas leaders describe the importance of continued highway funding through approval of Issue 1.
23 Guest Commentary: Vote for Roads 25
Crafton Tull President & CEO Matt Crafton on why Arkansans should continue to invest in our roads and bridges.
The bridge over the White River north of Mountain View that separates Stone and Izard counties. A sobering report issued by TRIP and released by the AGRF outlines deficiencies and poor conditions of Arkansas bridges, roads and highways. Please see the story and photos beginning on Page 12. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson once again delivers a spot-on keynote address to attendees.
REGULAR FEATURES 3 Executive Board 6 ARDOT Update 28 Side Roads
ON THE COVER
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221 WWW.ARGOODROADS.COM
33 By the Numbers 34 Back Talk 4 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
Arkansas Good Roads @arkansasgoodroads AR Good Roads @ARGoodRoads
Logs headed to Georgia-Pacific at Crossett. (Photo by Joe Quinn)
Members of the Arkansas State Highway Commission are (from left) Philip Taldo of Springdale; Alec Farmer of Jonesboro, vice chairman; Marie Holder of Little Rock; Robert S. Moore, Jr., of Arkansas City, chairman; and Keith Gibson of Fort Smith. Appointed by the governor, they serve 10-year terms. (ARDOT Photo by Rusty Hubbard)
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ARDOT Deputy Director and COO Randy Ort (Photo by Rusty Hubbard) 6 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
There’s a New Deputy in Town
ARDOT Deputy Director and COO Randy Ort says he likes to encourage people to do their best and maybe think outside the box a little bit. By Britni Padilla-Dumas
Randy Ort, ARDOT’s newest deputy director and chief operating officer, grew up an avid Razorback fan in North Little Rock. At that time, it was common in his neighborhood to hear honking if the Hogs had won a game. He enjoyed listening to the Razorback games with his family, especially if it meant blasting a car horn in the hour of victory. Fifty years later, his passion for family and Razorback football remain resolute. “I have a son, two daughters, a stepdaughter, five grandkids and a sixth on the way,” Ort beamed as he gestured to his wall of family photos. “Those are the important things in life. I’m very proud of my job. I’m very proud to work here and to be a government employee. But that is all secondary to family.” Ort’s mother passed away when he was a senior in high school, and his father followed two years later when he was attending college at the University of Arkansas. “I decided I didn’t want to be there anymore, so I dropped out. After a year of being out of school, I realized I needed that degree to do the things I wanted to do in life, so I went back to school. I was the first one in my family to get a four-year college degree. I knew that it was important to my parents that I get it, so it was important to me.” Managing Public Hearings He began his career with the department in 1988. His neighbor at the time, Chuck Freeman, encouraged him to apply for a job at the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
“I started out as a writer,” he reflected. “I wrote for Arkansas Highways magazine, helped handle press inquiries and wrote a lot of press releases.” After being a writer with the Public Affairs Office for about a year, Ort was tasked to manage the public hearings process. “That was a fantastic experience, getting to travel all over the state, conducting public hearings, meeting face to face with property owners and other people. The Public Affairs Office dealt with the media day to day, but that’s only one group of people. I was also very involved in the legislative process, so that’s elected officials. But my greatest joy was interacting with the general public,” Ort said. “I’m just so fortunate to have that background because it’s helped me throughout my entire career.” Management Opportunity Public Involvement, once part of the Public Affairs Office, moved to the Environmental Division. Ort assisted in the transition and then returned to Public Affairs, where he remained until 2015, when he was promoted to the assistant chief-administration position. “Former Director Scott Bennett gave me the opportunity to continue my career in upper management, and now Director Lorie Tudor has placed her faith and confidence in me to be her right hand. My goal is to assist in keeping her job as efficient as possible so that she can guide the department in the right direction,” Ort explained. Ort is someone who leads by example and holds Winter 2020 | Good Roads Foundation 7
himself to the same standard in which he holds others. His down-to-earth demeanor and integrity are both genuine and contagious. “I would not ask someone to do something for me that I’m not willing to do or haven’t done myself. I like to encourage people. I want to encourage people to do their best, to maybe think outside of the box a little bit, and not be afraid to come to me with ideas. “I want to make collaborative decisions and I like to seek other people’s input,” he said. “If I tried to do this job by myself, I would be an absolute failure. There’s no question about it. Fortunately, we have experts here; encouraging them to do the right thing and bring me the right information, so that we are all working together … that’s how we succeed.” ‘Take Pride in What You Do’ Simply put, Randy Ort is a leader. Being the deputy director and COO may not have been anything he envisioned for himself, but he is exactly where he deserves to be. “Take pride in what you do. I don’t care what your direct role or direct function is. It plays a part in the big picture. Take pride in what you do and give it all that you’ve got. “… and one more thing: WOO PIG SOOIE!”
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Join Us, Please! Help Good Roads promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction and maintenance of a safe and efficient system of streets, roads, highways and bridges. Sound infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. We have corporate and individual membership rates available.
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221 WWW.ARGOODROADS.COM 479-426-5931
Arkansas Good Roads @arkansasgoodroads AR Good Roads @ARGoodRoads
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Mark St. Pierre, Jr.
Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Scholarship Recipients for 2020 By Harold Beaver, P.E. Scholarship Committee Chair AGRF Executive Board When it all started on January 1, it was our expectation that 2020 would turn out to be “The Year of Perfect Vision.” That has certainly not been the case because of COVID-19. However, on a celebratory note, the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation was again able to award scholarships to six fine students who are working toward degrees in civil engineering or a related field at Arkansas-based institutions of higher educations. In a normal year, we would have made plans for a formal presentation event to award these scholarships. Did we mention that this year has been everything but NORMAL?! Based on the scholarship funds available this year, and through the outstanding partnership with, and support of, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation is pleased to announce that the students shown here were each awarded scholarships of $3,000. 10 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
In the spirit of “paying it forward,” these awards will help each student in his/her effort to complete degrees in areas of study that could enable them to ultimately pursue careers, in Arkansas, in a transportation-related industry, be that with ARDOT, a county, a city, a contractor or a consultant. Mark St. Pierre, Jr. Mark is a senior at the University of Arkansas– Little Rock, majoring in civil/construction engineering with graduation anticipated in December 2020. Mark has interned with a highway construction contractor as well as with J.B. Hunt Transport. He appears to be headed for a career in the transportation industry right here in Arkansas. Mariah Crews Mariah is currently a senior at UofA-Fayetteville, majoring in civil engineering with graduation
AGRF Scholarships anticipated in May 2021. Mariah already has a degree in business, but this second degree will have her aligned toward a career in transportation planning since she has already interned with the Planning & Policy Division of ARDOT. Lizbeth Juarez Lizbeth is currently a senior at UofA-Fayetteville, majoring in civil engineering with graduation expected in May 2021. Her desire is to be able to begin graduate school in pursuit of her PhD. She wants to utilize that degree by working in the Planning & Policy Division of ARDOT, specifically researching and advancing rural infrastructure in Arkansas. Justin Odom Justin is currently a senior at UofA-Fayetteville, majoring in civil engineering with expected graduation in May 2021. He wants to be a part of efforts to improve the roads in Arkansas, although a specific area hasn’t been decided. Justin is also a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves (thank you for your service, Justin).
Jocie Baker Jocie is in her senior year at UofA-Fayetteville, majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation, and she plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s in the transportation area after finishing her BSCE in December 2020. Grant Ferguson Grant is in his senior year at UofA-Fayetteville, majoring in civil engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in the fall so he’ll be ready to begin his career in the transportation industry here in Arkansas. Congratulations! On behalf of the Executive Board of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation, as well as the entire Foundation, I want to thank all of these students for their interest in transportation and for their applications. We congratulate them on their receipt of these 2020 scholarships and wish them well as they go forward with their chosen careers.
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Stats Express WARNING ON ROADS AGRF partners with TRIP to release new data points on Arkansas infrastructure. The Arkansas Good Roads Foundation works with a national non-profit organization to release economic and technical data on road and bridge issues in Arkansas. TRIP released the following transportation data points in September. TRIP was founded in 1971 and is a nationally known organization in terms of evaluating the core road issues facing states. Overview • Deficient roads in Arkansas cost drivers $3.2 billion annually. • 52% of state roads and highways in Arkansas are in poor or mediocre condition. The average driver has an increased annual driving cost of $642 due to poor roads. • In 2018 there were 2.1 million licensed drivers in Arkansas. Casey Crocker, photographer and multimedia specialist for the Division of Arkansas Tourism, was in the right place at the right time to capture this sunset on Highway 88, the Talimena National Scenic Byway. The photo was taken south of Queen Wilhelmina State Park, which is located atop Rich Mountain, the second highest peak in the state.
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TRIP Report Safety • In 2018 Arkansas had 1.41 traffic fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled. That is the 12th highest rate in the U.S. The national average is 1.13 per 100 million miles. • From 2014 to 2018, 2,551 people died in traffic accidents in Arkansas. This is an average of 510 fatalities per year. • Accidents are generally caused by driver behavior, vehicle issues or roadway features. • The Arkansas fatality rate on non-interstate, rural roads is nearly double the fatality rate on all other Arkansas roads.
The life cycle of any road in Arkansas is directly tied to the ability of the state, county or city to maintain and periodically upgrade that road. Economic Impact • Trucks carry $226 billion in goods being shipped to and from sites in Arkansas each year. By 2045 the value of this freight is expected to increase by 90%. • The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Arkansas creates 35,000 jobs. Many of these jobs are created by Arkansas Good Roads Foundation members. • The massive American shift to online shopping and delivery Highway 65 at Leslie. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
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TRIP Report means billions of dollars in products are moving on the roads at any hour of the day. If Arkansas does not continue to grow its transportation capacity, we will see damage to the freight network of the future. • Transportation construction in Arkansas contributes $176 million annually to the state economy. Road Conditions • The life cycle of any road in Arkansas is directly tied to the ability of the state, county or city to maintain and periodically upgrade that road. • 26% of the local and statemaintained roads in Arkansas have pavement in poor condition, and 26% of the roads are in mediocre condition. • Pavement damage by traffic, moisture and climate needs to be repaired quickly before they require major, and more expensive, repairs. Every dollar of repair work delayed costs between $4 and $5 later.
• The average driver in Northwest Arkansas loses $677 annually due to traffic congestion. In Little Rock, that number is $711 annually. Funding • From 2014 to 2018, federal funds paid for 53% of the road work done in Arkansas. • For every dollar paid in user fees (including fuel taxes), the federal government spent $1.23 for road improvements in Arkansas. • 24% of the roads in Arkansas are eligible for federal aid and those roads carry 86% of all vehicle miles traveled in the state.
5% of the bridges in Arkansas are in poor or structurally deficient condition. This equates to 626 local or state bridges.
Bridges • 5% of the bridges in Arkansas are in poor or structurally deficient condition. This equates to 626 local or state bridges. • When a bridge is closed, or weight restricted, it creates significant inconvenience for area residents and business. Congestion • Sitting in traffic costs Arkansans $780 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel. • The average driver in Central Arkansas spends 40 hours a year sitting in traffic. In West Memphis, the number is 48 hours annually and in Pine Bluff the number is 11 hours annually.
This section of Napoleon Road in West Little Rock could use some maintenance work. (Photo by Bill Paddack)
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What Issue 1 Is All About
The Fight For Roads & Jobs In the Heart Of Timber Country By Joe Quinn
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What Issue 1 Is All About
A logging truck with recently harvested timber rolls along U.S. Highway 82
Drive U.S. Highway 82 into Crossett and the size of the sprawling Georgia-Pacific paper mill is what you notice first. GP came here in 1962 after buying the Crossett Lumber Company and 565,000 acres of fertile Arkansas timberland. The facility was expanded in 1976 and upgraded again in 1984. But 58 years later the plant is not the loud, bustling center of a proud industry it once was. In June 2019, the company laid off more than 500 workers, and 15 months later large sections of the employee parking lot sit quiet and empty. Ashley County Judge Jim Hudson says simply, “The GP layoffs last year really hit us a big lick.” This is the heart of the Arkansas timber industry. It’s also a place to visit if you want an understanding of the link between quality roads and jobs that pay well. Highway 82 is a reminder that the claim that large employers need good At left: a once busy parking lot sits empty and quiet at Georgia-Pacific in Crossett. (Photos by Joe Quinn)
roads to move raw materials into production, and finished products out, is not some vague economic policy discussion. It is the difference between jobs that sustain a community, and terse news releases announcing layoffs. It is the difference between hardworking families that can pay the rent and those that cannot. What Matters Whether it is poultry, retail or timber, businesses are looking for safe and accessible roads in good condition when making location decisions. Executives are dealing with multiple communities fighting for absolutely anything that makes them more attractive than the next town. Roads, and the quality of the local workforce, are generally at the top of the list of what matters to a site selection team. If there are infrastructure issues, a company looking for a new location for a facility will generally just move on to the next community being considered in Georgia or Tennessee or Oklahoma. Beautifully produced recruitment videos will never
make up for the cost of hundreds of large trucks having to drive out of their way to avoid deep ruts in rural roads. Friendly chamber of commerce presentations will not overcome seasoned truck drivers saying a specific road is dangerous after dark. A mayor who brags about his community is no match for the cost of an agriculture operation having to drive nine extra miles to avoid a structurally deficient bridge. Critics cling to the tired talking point that companies that design, fund and build roads are just in it for the business. Those companies are certainly expected to turn a profit, but the Arkansas Department of Transportation manages an exacting planning and approval process. Sit through a Wednesday morning Highway Commission meeting, and you will see there are too many real needs in a small state for the commission to approve roadwork merely to help any contractor’s bottom line. Long ago the Arkansas Highway Commission was structured in a way that keeps politics out of road building. People who make the claim Good Roads Foundation
What Issue 1 Is All About
If you drive 425 north out of Crossett and pass through small towns like Fountain Some Good News Hill and Lacey, it is If you drive 425 north out of Crossett and pass through small clear it’s not just towns like Fountain Hill and Lacey, Crossett’s wellit is clear it’s not just Crossett’s well-being tied to the timber being tied to the industry. A little more than 40 timber industry. miles from the deserted Georgiahave probably never watched a Georgia-Pacific truck filled with tissue products roll out of Crossett. They have likely never watched a laid off mill worker walk out of a plant for the final time.
Pacific parking lot, the Western Sizzlin’ restaurant in Monticello is also quiet. There are six socially distanced customers eating from the once huge buffet that has been reduced to about a dozen items by new COVID safety regulations. The 500 Georgia-Pacific employees laid off last year now spend less money at restaurants like this. They
also spend less on groceries, cars and any of the mundane things that make up a family budget. The small, mask-wearing group at the old school restaurant is like the Georgia-Pacific parking lot, a reminder that with COVID and layoffs, many communities in Arkansas are struggling. They need a message that they are not
alone, that they are a part of a larger community that understands deer hunting, high school football, the value of a local employer and why quality roads can help generate new jobs, or keep existing jobs. On this day, there is some good news. At the intersection of U.S. Highway 425 and U.S. Highway 82, ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor presides over a ribbon cutting to open the new four-lane section of U.S. 425 that runs to Louisiana. It’s the result of something mill executives have been telling local leaders for years, that it needs to be easier and cheaper to put finished product on trucks in Crossett and send it to the world. Tudor tells the crowd, “This $26 million dollar project widened more than five miles of U.S. Highway 82 to four lanes. Hamburg, Crossett and Ashley County will all see economic benefits from this work.”
ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor and Highway Commission Chairman Robert Moore, Jr., at the ribbon cutting at Crossett.
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What’s at Stake Arkansas Highway Commission Chairman Robert Moore, Jr., seems to know everyone who shows up for any highway event. He is a South Arkansas legend who prefers jeans and boots at events like this when he advocates for struggling small towns. He is quick to remind people that better roads matter for many reasons. Moore says, “They help us create connectivity for citizens, tourism and the trucking industry.” Moore and State Sen. Eddie Cheatham were advocating for the expansion of this road more than a
What Issue 1 Is All About decade ago. Cheatham understands what’s at stake here when he explains, “Georgia-Pacific has complained for 10 or 15 years about the need for better roads to move product out. This is a blessing for us. It’s pretty simple that without road upgrades we won’t get new jobs for our people.” Driving a fully loaded tractor trailer filled with paper products is generally easier on an interstate than it is on Ashley County roads. This is especially true if a road is older and deteriorating. Arkansas Trucking Association President
They need a message that they are not alone, that they are a part of a larger community that understands deer hunting, high school football, the value of a local employer and why quality roads can help generate new jobs, or keep existing jobs. Shannon Newton knows what her drivers worry about. “Shoulders are the first thing to wear out on roads and that creates a situation where a truck can slip off the road. On older country roads we also worry about turning radius. All of this means there is extraordinarily little
room for error,” she said. Johnnie Bolin is a former legislator, and a former executive director of Good Roads, who lives about five miles from where we are standing for the ribbon cutting. He is wearing a mask, but you can see his eyes smile as he proudly looks over the four new lanes that will take paper products to Louisiana and says, “When we moved here in 1954 this was just a gravel road.” What Business Needs The funding to improve this road came from passage of a halfcent sales tax in 2012 that will soon expire. In November, Arkansas voters will decide on extending that tax to help pay for road and bridge projects desperately needed in towns like Hamburg and Crossett. Work that will hopefully change the economic tide for this region. After the body blow of more than 500 lost jobs in 2019, there was new hope in January when the paper company said it would spend $37 million to upgrade the technology and infrastructure at the historic Crossett Mill. The Highway 425 upgrade was a step in the right direction in terms of sending a message to the mill that local and state leaders like Tudor, Cheatham and Hudson are listening to what business needs to stay here. Randy Zook understands why communities need to send messages to business. For more than a decade he has been the president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. Unlike some chamber leaders, Zook never hesitates to offer a blunt assessment of what any community needs to be doing to create jobs. “Education,
“The whole state needs to remember that investing in infrastructure is as important as investing in people and education.”
- Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Randy Zook
infrastructure and quality of life are the three critical elements to a community attracting or keeping jobs. Sometimes people are willing to pay for the roads they drive on each day but not willing to support other regions. The whole state needs to remember that investing in infrastructure is as important as investing in people and education.” When the ribbon cutting speaking lineup is complete, and the pictures have been taken, Lorie Tudor grins after doing an interview with a local TV reporter. She says, “Of everything I heard here today, the absolute best sound was those big timber trucks rolling by as we cut the ribbon.” Spend a day here, very far from the world of blue suits and receptions at the state Capitol in Little Rock, and you are reminded that the sound of a fully loaded timber truck rumbling past a ribbon-cutting ceremony is also the sound of a region fighting for its future. In the simplest of terms that is what Issue 1 is all about.
Winter 2020 | Good Roads Foundation 19
Q & A: Why Does Issue 1 Matter?
Arkansas Leaders Provide Insights On Its Importance
Continuing the state’s half-cent sales tax through passage of Issue 1 is important to maintain bridges, highways, county roads and city streets and to make needed improvements, such as the ones necessary on Timber Bend Drive in Little Rock shown here. (Photo by Bill Paddack) 20 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
Q & A: Why Does Issue 1 Matter? “Farmers, and the ag industry as a whole, absolutely need safe and dependable roads now and into the future. That is why we support Issue 1, which maintains key road and bridge infrastructure funding without adding new taxes. These funds are critical for maintaining and improving farm-to-market roads, including federal highways, state highways, county roads and municipal roadways. We believe this initiative should be approved by Arkansas voters in November to keep our state safe and economically competitive.” – Andrew Grobmyer, Executive Vice President & Executive Director, Agricultural Council of Arkansas “Approval of this extension will mean that the money to fix our potholes and resurface our roads will be there when we need it. Renewal ensures stability for road funding. It also will give us a stronger hand when we apply for federal funds. We all benefit from good roads. The half-cent sales tax allows everyone to easily share in the maintenance of our transportation infrastructure.” – Gov. Asa Hutchinson
“Issue 1 will positively impact every citizen of Arkansas by improving the safety of our roads and bridges – in every city and every county. Issue 1 will also be a dynamic economic driver supporting thousands of jobs and injecting billions of dollars into the Arkansas economy. These accomplishments are all possible without the need to increase taxes, but it requires your support. A vote for Issue 1 is a vote for a stronger Arkansas.” – Brandon Finn, Hutchens Construction “Continued investments in transportation infrastructure are crucial for sustaining economic growth in Arkansas. From the rock that’s crushed in local quarries to the steel that’s fabricated in our state, the economic impact from highway construction is felt far and wide. Highway construction not only creates jobs and ignites our economy, but most importantly, creates safer roadways throughout the state. If Arkansans are concerned with achieving safer roads and a viable, robust economy, then Issue 1 must pass in November.” – Sherri Fryar, Contractor’s Specialty Service Co.
“Without the passage of Issue 1 counties stand to lose 25-30% of their road budgets. Arkansas is on the cusp of doing great things economically and nothing promotes economic development more than good roads. Issue 1 promises to work on small and large highways, fund county and city road departments while not raising taxes over the current level. Road maintenance is a basic government function that can’t be done by individual citizens. There really is no alternative.” – Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison, President, County Judges Association of Arkansas “My 28year career as mayor of Lake Village taught me many things. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that every single city in the state of Arkansas must receive funding for streets. Cities cannot develop and maintain streets without this one-half cent sales tax.” – Former Lake Village Mayor JoAnne Bush, Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Board Member
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Q & A: Why Does Issue 1 Matter? “The Arkansas Department of Transportation effectively used the funding after voters supported Issue 1 in 2012 to complete many of our state’s biggest highway projects, and that was especially true in fast-growing Northwest Arkansas. With statewide unemployment higher due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that voters support Issue 1 on Nov. 3 which will create thousands of jobs and ensure that Arkansas keeps its highways safe and efficient.” – Nelson Peacock, President & CEO, Northwest Arkansas Council “Issue 1 will provide meaningful highway funding and make driving in Arkansas better and safer for everyone. It addresses what is needed in every aspect of transportation, which is expanding and improving existing roads, repairing and replacing bridges and creating new roads. All of this will make driving in Arkansas better and safer for everyone.” – Joey Dean, Executive Director, Arkansas Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America
“The passage of Issue 1 is critical to the continued economic growth of the state of Arkansas. A strong highway program drives future growth, and it allows for continued opportunities for positive job growth while maintaining a safe and efficient highway system.” – Murry Cline, APACCentral “Good roads and bridges are vital to the poultry industry. Issue 1 will provide the state with a long-term funding stream dedicated to highways without raising taxes. Issue 1 is about jobs and safer roads for years to come and we are proud supporters of Issue 1.” – Marvin Childers, President, The Poultry Federation “Passing Issue 1 provides safe roadways for the transport of our children, the delivery of goods and services, and the necessary infrastructure to allow the state of Arkansas to thrive and compete for jobs and growth.” – Jason McDonald, Riggs CAT
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“As an industry, our future is bleak if we do not pass this extension. As our economy slowly comes back online, infrastructure can and will continue to play a key role to pump in funds and help bolster the citizens of our state. Issue 1 will support over 3,600 jobs every year and provide $8.2 billion of economic activity over 10 years. This extension benefits all people in the state regardless of location by supplying funds to every county and city for infrastructure improvements.” – Lance Lamberth, Chairman, Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association “All Arkansans will benefit from the passage of Issue 1. It provides safe roadways for all individuals traveling through our great state. Issue 1 also provides a continued funding mechanism for Arkansas roads for years to come.” – Clay McGeorge, Jeffrey Sand Company, Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Board Member
Vote for Roads in Arkansas Matt Crafton, President and CEO at Crafton Tull
continued investment in our streets and highways is to This November, the citizens of Arkansas will have provide a safe transportation system for the families, the opportunity to decide whether to continue the businesses, farmers and visitors of Arkansas. Roads progress we’ve seen in highway improvements over and bridges in poor condition are inherently unsafe for the past several years or to go back to an underfunded motorists and other users. model that cannot support the transportation needs of Deteriorating pavement, potholes, cracks and poor our state. Issue 1 is a vote to continue an existing tax drainage all contribute to accidents on our nation’s to support good roads in Arkansas. roads every year. Aging bridges In 2012, a majority of voters in Arkansas voted in favor “The vote in 2012 are a risk that no one should have to worry about as they drive their of the state collecting a halfhas proven to be a family across them. cent sales tax to fund a major When designing roads and road improvement program. wise choice by the bridges, professional engineers Seventy percent of the funds people of our state first consider the safety of the were allocated to the Arkansas Department of Transportation to and shows why we traveling public in all design decisions. The people of improve 200 miles of highways, should continue this Arkansas deserve roads that while 15 percent went to the cities of Arkansas and 15 percent investment in our are designed, constructed and maintained to keep them safe; to Arkansas counties to help build roads and bridges.” but, it takes an investment of and maintain our roads. money to make them so. The vote in 2012 has proven to be a wise choice by the people of our state and Efficiency shows why we should continue this investment in I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like our roads and bridges. By all measures, ARDOT’s sitting in traffic. There’s so much better use of our Connecting Arkansas Program is a resounding time than wasting it waiting in endless lines of cars success, demonstrating that ARDOT has delivered on trying to get to where we need to go. Where I live in its promise to complete these badly needed projects (details are shown on the connectingarkansasprogram. Northwest Arkansas, through the half-cent sales tax program, ARDOT was able to construct additional com website). lanes on I-49 to make a six-lane freeway between As a civil engineer involved with the design and Fayetteville and Bentonville. With the growth in construction of highways, bridges and city streets daily traffic we’ve seen in our area, it would be hard in our state, I understand firsthand the importance to imagine the number of cars trying to get north and of adequate funding to support good roads. I will south with only four lanes. definitely cast my ballot in favor of Issue 1 in Similar projects were completed to add lanes November. between Conway and Little Rock and in other parts of Arkansas. But, there still remains much to be done Safety to improve our state’s roads and improve the safety The first and foremost reason for supporting Winter 2020 | Good Roads Foundation 23
Guest Commentary and efficiency of our travel. If Issue 1 passes, ARDOT and small businesses alike. We cannot have the vibrant economy the people of our state desire without has planned another 10-year program to make adequate highways, bridges, county roads and city significant investments in pavement preservation, bridge improvements, interstate highway maintenance, streets. And, a side benefit of road investment is that it creates literally thousands of Arkansas jobs in the congestion relief and safety improvements. engineering, construction Over the next material supply several years, projects We cannot have the vibrant and industries, as the funds are planned to improve economy the people of our are reinvested in our Highway 412 in North to support jobs Arkansas, Highway state desire without adequate economy in our state. 112 in Northwest highways, bridges, county I dearly love our state, Arkansas, I-40 between and I’m so proud to be an Little Rock and roads and city streets. Arkansan. I want the best Memphis, Highway for Arkansas and truly 270 in Southwest believe we must invest in our transportation system to Arkansas and Highway 82 in South Arkansas, among keep our great state moving forward. I hope you will many others. Preservation and construction dollars join me in voting FOR Issue 1. will be spread all across Arkansas, benefitting every county in the state. (see ardot.gov/renew for details). Prosperity A good transportation system is critical to manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, large corporations
Matt Crafton is President & CEO of Crafton Tull, an employee-owned engineering, architecture, surveying, planning and environmental services company founded in Arkansas in 1963. Crafton Tull is a longtime member of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation.
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Annual Meeting Brought Us Together, In Person and Unified Joe Quinn, Arkansas Good Roads Executive Director Maybe the most significant thing about the 2020 Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Annual Meeting is that it happened, and it took place in person and earlier than usual. The AGRF Executive Board felt it was the right time to hold an in-person meeting with all the appropriate social distancing and safety measures in place. We did away with a traditional buffet and laid out box lunches on a long table. Attendance was limited to 50 on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables were carefully arranged to offer social distancing and a clear view of the podium, and temperatures were taken at the front door as people entered.
It seemed like a day to remind everyone that when a meeting is carefully planned, and all the right safety measures are taken, it can be done safely. It can be done in a way that reminds our stakeholders that we all must work together to get the Arkansas economy back to what it was in the long-ago days before COVID. When you plan your own meetings and conferences, please keep in mind that by planning a meeting you are putting money into the local economy. We used a local catering service for the box lunches. They were packaged and labeled well and spread out, so people did not group up in clusters
Good Roads Board President Dan Flowers, left, and Executive Director Joe Quinn present ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor with a framed copy of the Spring 2020 issue of Good Roads magazine featuring her on the cover. Tudor was one of the speakers at the AGRF Annual Meeting in September. (Photos by Frank Cox)
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Annual Meeting waiting to get their food. I personally don’t think I will ever be involved in any event planning again without making sure our resources are being spent with local companies.
us meeting space at no charge. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce sponsored the lunch. And the communication team at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office brought in the equipment to live stream the event across the state.
Educating the Public With logistics worked The Governor Delivers out, we focused on the For the third year in a policy and programmatic row, Governor Hutchinson side of the day. The feeling gave the keynote address was that the meeting at our event. As usual, he was the kickoff to the was spot on. He started final stage of the effort to on a high note, reminding educate Arkansans about the room that a recent poll why adequate road and shows that voters approve bridge funding matters so Gov. Asa Hutchinson, addressing the AGRF Annual Meeting of what they are hearing much to the future of our for the third consecutive year, stressed the importance of and are inclined to vote for state. From the start of this voter approval of Issue 1. Issue 1 in November. journey all our members When this journey began two years ago, the and friends have seamlessly worked together to governor promised something particularly important accomplish something. No one has complained about to the effort … his time. And he has delivered on what they need or what they are not getting. Instead,
Despite his aroundthe-clock effort to lead our state through the pandemic, the governor has also been the aggressive and steady voice that we need to come together and pass Issue 1. diverse groups and people have come together to try to build a better state for our grandchildren. I do not have words to say how proud I am of the teamwork we have seen. The lunch would not have taken place if our members and friends had not done their normal thing and stepped forward offering to help us tell the story. The Association of Arkansas Counties again offered 26 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
AGRF Executive Board President Dan Flowers welcomed those in attendance at this year’s Annual Meeting.
Annual Meeting that. Despite his aroundthe-clock effort to lead our state through the pandemic, the governor has also been the aggressive and steady voice that we need to come together and pass Issue 1. The annual meeting was a wonderful moment in time to send a message that we all are unified. Whether you were one of the 50 people seated six feet apart in the room, or whether you were sitting in front of a computer watching the live stream, thanks for being a part of this effort. Thanks for making all of this about working together.
“Over the years, there have been several funding proposals to increase revenue for county roads, city streets and state highways. Some of these proposals have been met with significant opposition. However, the current proposal, Issue 1, which will significantly benefit further improvement to these road systems, has gained the support of a wide range of people and organizations that have come together to work for building better roads and bridges in a more timely manner. It will be better and less expensive to make needed road improvements sooner rather than waiting several more years until the same work will cost substantially more.” – Dan Flowers, President, Executive Board, Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
“A vote for Issue 1 is NOT a vote for a new sales tax. It is paramount that Issue 1 passes in the general election of 2020. Issue 1 ensures safe highways, streets and roads for all Arkansans as well as for tourists visiting our beautiful natural state.” – Former Lake Village Mayor JoAnne Bush, Arkansas Good Roads Foundation Executive Board Member
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Senator Boozman Pushes Historic Designation for Butterfield Overland Trail Sen. John Boozman has introduced legislation to designate the Butterfield Overland Trail as a National Historic Trail. He made the announcement in August during a visit to Fitzgerald Station, a stop along the historic route near Springdale. The trail was used to transport Sen. John Boozman mail and passengers between St. Louis, Memphis and San Francisco, serving as the route of the longest stagecoach operation in history. Much of the trail traveled through portions of Arkansas. “The Butterfield Overland Trail played an important role in our nation’s westward expansion. Designating it as a National Historic Trail is a fitting recognition for its contributions to the growth and development of our country and the state of Arkansas,” Boozman said. “For more than a decade, I’ve been working through the process to achieve this long overdue distinction. With the introduction of this bill, we are now one step closer to accomplishing this goal.”
Requirements Met In June 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) announced the requirements to become a National Historic Trail have been met after conducting a study to evaluate the significance, feasibility, suitability and desirability of designating the routes associated with it as a national historic trail. The study was required by a provision of Public Law 111-11 that was authored by Boozman during his tenure as the congressman for the Third District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1858-1861, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company held a U.S. Mail contract to transport mail and passengers between the eastern termini of St. Louis and Memphis and the western terminus of San Francisco. It became known as the “ox-bow route” due to its curved path comprised of approximately 3,553 miles of trail routes in eight states: Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The routes from St. Louis and Memphis merged in Fort Smith, and the Butterfield Overland Express stagecoaches traveled through much of the state. Stagecoaches made stops between Memphis and Fort Smith in St. Francis, Prairie, Lonoke, Faulkner, Conway, Pope, Yell, Logan and Franklin counties. The northwestern route that came out of Missouri included stops in Benton, Washington and Crawford counties.
Resolution Supports Passage of Issue 1 Members of the Arkansas Economic Development Council, a commission composed of business leaders and economic development advisers who represent each region of the state, passed a resolution Sept. 10 to express support for Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment referred to Arkansas voters by the General Assembly. It gives voters the opportunity to extend the existing half-cent sales tax that funds improvements to the state’s highway infrastructure.
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Side Roads The council’s resolution emphasizes the importance of Issue 1 to the state’s economy and encourages Arkansas voters to pass the initiative. ‘Crucial to Industry’ “Keeping our roads in good repair is crucial to attracting industry and business to Arkansas and supporting the efficient transportation of goods and services to the four corners of our state,” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “I appreciate the commissioners’ passage of Mike Preston this resolution and their proactive efforts to support better, safer roads for Arkansans.” The 16 commissioners passed the resolution unanimously.
Graycen Bigger Recognized With A-State Alumni Award Graycen Bigger is among five people recently recognized as Emerging Young Alumni by the Arkansas State University Alumni Association and Student Philanthropy Council, which teamed up to announce the latest recipients of the award. It’s the second year of the recognition Graycen Bigger program for ASU’s young alumni, their professional accomplishments and engagement with the university. Bigger, an economic developer and communications specialist, serves as executive director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority (NEARIA) and assistant vice president of community development for Farmers and Merchants Bank. Through NEARIA, she provides technical assistance to communities, businesses and non-profit organizations, helps build mutually beneficial public-private partnerships and leverages arts and culture to spur economic growth and improve quality of life in a multi-county area. She is a White Riley Peterson Fellow and was recently named to the Arkansas Business 40 under 40 recognition program. Bigger holds a Master of Arts in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New
York as well as bachelor’s degrees in photojournalism and the history of art from Arkansas State in 2009. Bigger and her husband, ASU alumnus Alex Bigger, reside in Pocahontas.
Work on Lane on Highway 177 Scheduled to End in December Maintenance work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Arkansas 177 requires continuation of the long-term lane closure of the northbound lane of the state highway across Norfork Dam, according to ARDOT officials. A single lane will remain closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week through December 2020. This closure began in October 2019 and was expected to end earlier, but high water on Norfolk Lake caused a work stoppage in June. More information about this project is available by contacting the Corps of Engineers Mountain Home Project Office at (870) 425-2700. Traffic will be controlled by traffic cones, portable lights and signage. Drivers should exercise caution when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones.
3592 Hwy 367 South Searcy, AR 72143 (501) 268-2359 3592 Hwy 367 South Searcy, AR 72143 www.cpcmidsouth.com (501) 268-2359
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To Our Valued AGRF Members: Thank You!
Thanks for supporting us and helping us tell the story of why good roads and bridges matter. For membership information, please contact Joe Quinn at 479-426-5931. ACEC/A AGC Arkansas Alec Farmer APAC-Central, Inc. APAC-Tennessee, Inc. Arkadelphia Alliance Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association Arkansas Concrete Arkansas Department of Transportation Arkansas Farm Bureau Arkansas Municipal League Arkansas Poultry Federation Arkansas Society of Professional Engineers Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Arkansas Trucking Assocation Ash Grove Cement Company Association of Arkansas Counties/County Judges Atlas Asphalt, Inc. (Jamestown Investments) B & F Engineering, Inc. Bank of Delight Bob Crafton Bobby Glover Burns & McDonnell Cashion Company Clark Machinery Company Commercial Bank - Monticello Contractor’s Specialty Service Company Cowling Title CPC Midsouth Crafton-Tull & Associates Crisp Contractors Curt Green & Company, LLC D.B. Hill Contracting Dan Flowers Delta Asphalt Dermott Industrial Developement Dumas Chamber of Commerce Eagle Bank and Trust Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce First Community Bank of Batesville FM Structural Plastic Technology Forsgren, Inc. Garver LLC Golden Triangle Economic Development Harold Beaver Hines Trucking Inc. HNTB Corporation 30 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
Horatio State Bank Hudson, Cisne & Company Hutchens Construction Company I 49 International Coalition Jack Buffington Jeffrey Sand Company Jensen Construction Company Jim Wooten JoAnne Bush Johnnie Bolin Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce Kiewit Company Koss Construction Company LaCroix Optical Company Larco, Inc. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Lion Oil Company M & T Paving and Construction Company, Inc. Maxwell Hardwood Flooring McGeorge Contracting Company, Inc. Michael Baker Int’l Midwest Lime Company Millar, Inc. Mobley General Contractors Monticello Economic Development Commission NE Ark. Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority NWA Council Ohlendorf Investment Company OK AR Chapter American Concrete Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce Philip Taldo Razorback Concrete Company Riceland Foods, Inc. Riggs CAT Robert Moery Robert S. Moore, Jr. Rogers Group, Inc. Ronnie Duffield Gravel Company Ryburn Motor Company, Inc. Scott Equipment Springdale Chamber of Commerce SW AR Planning & Development District Tyson Foods, Inc. University of Arkansas Upper SW Regional Solid Waste Management District Walmart Weaver-Bailey Contractors, Inc. Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority
GOVERNOR’S LONG TERM HIGHWAY FUNDING PLAN
It’s The People’s Transportation System –
On November 3, 2020, The People Get To Decide Many things have changed in our world in the year 2020, but our need for good highways has not. Arkansas’ roadways are one of the public’s largest and most important investments. As a transportation system stakeholder, we ask that you help ArDOT educate the public about what would happen if “Issue One” passes or fails.
Please visit www.ardot.gov/renew for information and resources.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF “ISSUE ONE” PASSES OR FAILS,
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YOUR RESOURCE FOR ARKANSAS ROADS. Ergon is proud to be the go-to roadway resource for Arkansas. We specialize in meeting your preservation and maintenance needs, providing education and training, roadway evaluations and on-site technical support. Visit ergonasphalt.com to learn how we can put our resources to work for you.
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By the Numbers
Highway 23 in the Ozark National Forest. It’s the Pig Trail Scenic Byway and is known for its steep hills and hairpin turns. (Photo by Arkansas Parks & Tourism)
Percentage of bridges in Arkansas that are in poor or structurally deficient condition – this equates to 626 local or state bridges.
Percentage of state roads and highways in Arkansas that are in poor or mediocre condition.
The number of jobs in Arkansas created by tourism, manufacturing, retail and agriculture – industries that rely on roads every hour of every day.
Transportation construction in Arkansas contributes $176 million annually to the state economy.
The number of jobs in Arkansas that are created by the Deficient roads in Arkansas cost drivers $3.2 billion design, construction and maintenance of transportation annually. infrastructure in Arkansas. Many of these jobs are created by Arkansas Good Roads Foundation members. These numbers are among the statistics compiled by TRIP, a national non-profit organization, and released by TRIP and the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation. This report examines the condition, use and safety of Arkansas’ roads, highways and bridges, and the state’s future mobility needs. The full report is available on the AGRF website as well as at tripnet.org, the TRIP website.
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“Improving Arkansas’ infrastructure will profoundly benefit everyone in Arkansas and impact every segment of our economy.”
– Arkansas Economic Development Council Chairman Rick Barrows
“Roads are a long-term investment that pay dividends for decades to come.”
– Doug Voss, Scott E. Bennett Arkansas Highway Commission Chair of Motor Carrier Management and Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at UCA
“Investment in infrastructure is one of the best investments we can make with our dollars.”
– Park Estes, Executive Director, Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association
“We all benefit from good roads.”
– Gov. Asa Hutchinson
“I think it’s even more important than ever that we get predictable, reasonably adequate funding for the highway system.”
– Randy Zook, President & CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce 34 Good Roads Foundation | Winter 2020
We’re invested in Arkansas. For more than a century, Garver has been helping the Natural State grow with the most advanced highway designs. Because we’ve learned that when we invest in necessary infrastructure, business development follows, and that makes Arkansas a better place to live. We’re proud to help Arkansas grow, and we can’t wait to see what’s next. For more information, contact: Jerry Holder, PE | Director of Transportation | JDHolder@GarverUSA.com | 501.376.3633 | GarverUSA.com
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Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221
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Here is the latest Winter 2020 Edition of Arkansas Good Roads Magazine