GOOD ROADS Promoting the Benefits of Good Highways
Speaking Up About the Need for Adequate Funding Inside:
Lawmakers OK Open-Container Fix Delta Is Still Waiting for Interstate 69 Use Survey Form to Share Your Opinions Great Arkansas Cleanup Puts Up Big Numbers Picture This: ARDOT Photographerâ€™s Winning Shot
The Magazine of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation
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2 Good Roads Foundation | April 2018 ergonasphalt.com
2018 EXECUTIVE BOARD Jim Wooten – Beebe President D.B. Hill, III – Little Rock Vice President Bob Crafton – Rogers Secretary/Treasurer Harold Beaver – Rogers Dick Trammel – Rogers Mark Lamberth – Batesville Michael Lincoln – Searcy Clay McGeorge – Little Rock David Morris – Searcy Dan Flowers – N. Little Rock Shannon Newton – Little Rock ARKANSAS GOOD ROADS FOUNDATION Mission Statement The mission of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation is to promote adequate funding and financing for the planning, development, construction and maintenance of a safe and efficient highway, road, street and bridge system, facilitating statewide economic growth, thus increasing privatesector job creation and retention.
For Good Letter From the President - Jim Wooten In my role as president of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation, I always try to address the critical need for looking for ways to improve and promote our state highway system and to find adequate funding to maintain the system of roads and bridges that support our economy and everyday life and future economic development. If we as an organization are to be successful in our efforts of explaining the funding needs and safety issues of highways, we need to get even better at telling our story. We should share information with our friends, employees and community leaders so they can more fully understand just how important good roads are. Here are a few excellent facts that will assist you in an outreach effort to be sure that the story of highways is being shared in our state. • Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the country, with over 16,400 miles of roads. However, we rank 43rd nationally in revenue available to maintain and improve our roads. • Design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Arkansas supports the equivalent of 35,286 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state’s economy. • The gap between the amount of revenue needed to maintain our roads and the amount of revenue available continues to widen. A recent independent report from the Arkansas Legislative Audit finds that Arkansas needs an additional $478 million annually just to maintain the roads we have. • Only 18% of Arkansas highways are considered to be in “good” shape. That means 82% of our roads are in “poor” or “fair” condition. • It costs substantially less to maintain and repair highways in fair condition now, than to wait until they are in poor condition and have to be rebuilt. An overlay costs $100,000 per lane mile vs. $1.5 million per lane mile to reconstruct.
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April 2018 | Good Roads Foundation 3
Legislators Fix Law for Open Containers In the recent special legislative session, state House of Representatives and Senate members easily approved a measure that makes Arkansas’ open-container prohibition comport with federal law. State Rep. Mathew Pitsch, R-Fort Smith, said the fix simply mirrors language in federal law concerning the prohibition of open containers in vehicles. When Arkansas became one of the last states to enact such a prohibition last year, Pitsch said, the language passed by lawmakers was not the same as that dictated by federal law, placing federal highState Rep. way funds in danger. Mathew Pitsch In Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s call for the special session, which started a day after the 2018 fiscal session ended, the problem was listed this way: “To make technical corrections to Ark. Code Ann. § 5-71-101 for the purpose of aligning state law with federal law to avoid federal highway penalties, by adding changes to the definitions of alcoholic beverages, motor vehicle, and open alcoholic beverage container, also by making changes to Ark. Code Ann. § 5-71-218 regarding areas within a motor vehicle where it is illegal for a person to possess an alcoholic beverage in an open beverage container.” Without the changes to the state law, the Arkansas Department of Transportation would have been required to use about $12 million in federal highway construction and maintenance funds for safety purposes starting in the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. ON THE COVER:
Construction continues on the project to widen U.S. Highway 70. It is part of the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s Connecting Arkansas Program and includes widening 17.5 miles of U.S. Highway 70 from I-30 in Benton (Exit 111) west to the interchange with U.S. Highway 70 Business in Hot Springs (Exit 6). The highway is being widened to two lanes in each direction with a continuous center turn lane. The project is anticipated to be complete in mid-2018.
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‘Sunken Lands’ Work Requires Lane Closures, Width Restrictions ARDOT officials says construction work to improve bridge decks on Interstate 555 between Marked Tree and Payneway, commonly referred to as the “Sunken Lands,” will require lane closures and width restrictions. The project in Poinsett County is on a 1.7-mile section of I-555 in the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area, a 26,000-acre “island” of bottomland and hardwood forest. The “sunken lands” resulted from the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812.This includes 16 bridges on a 1.7-mile section of Interstate 555 in the area in Poinsett County. The work, which began in March, requires the installation of a barrier wall, reducing the permitted wide load to 12 feet, and will impact both the northbound and southbound lanes. Work is estimated to be completed within five months. Traffic will be controlled with message boards, concrete barrier walls, signage and traffic barrels. Drivers should exercise caution when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones.
Seeking Legislative Help For Additional Funds At its February meeting, the State Highway Commission ditched the idea of pursuing an initiated act for the 2018 general election ballot that would have sought more money for highway construction. Instead, commission members, ARDOT and stakeholders will now seek to persuade state legislators to appropriate additional funds when they meet in the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly in January 2019. The commissioners’ decision to focus on seeking legislative help came at the recommendation of ARDOT Director Scott Bennett. “I really believe we need to give the Legislature another shot,” he said. The next meeting of the Highway Commission is set for April 24 at ARDOT headquarters in Little Rock.
Side Roads Truck Safety Program Applications Available The State Highway Commission has (fax) or by email at LFPA@ announced the next application cycle ahtd.ar.gov. Applications must for the Arkansas Commercial Truck be received by 4 p.m. May 1 to Safety and Education Program. be considered for funding. Act 1176 of 2013 authorized the Arkansas Commercial Truck Safety and Remember to Use Education Program (ACTSEP). The purpose of this act is to advance state IDriveArkansas.com interests in roadway safety by proposSummer vacation trips are ing to improve the safety of the comjust around the corner, and mercial truck industry through cooperbefore you head out remember ative programs that focus on increased to “know before you go” and enforcement, regulatory compliance, visit ARDOT’s IDriveArkanindustry training and educational prosas.com. grams to ensure the safe movement of And to help motorists goods on Arkansas highways. photo by Bill Paddack find ways around accidents The ACTSEP is funded with the Signs point out the options on this busy and work zone backups on first $2 million collected annually from intersection on Highway 10 at Ola. Interstates, ARDOT has an a 15% registration fee increase for Alternate Routes feature on IDriveArkansas.com. It certain trucks operating in Arkansas under the Internadisplays linkages between the Interstate corridors and tional Registration Plan. secondary routes. For more information or an application, contact ARDOT at 501-569-2481 (phone), 501-569-2623
Letter From the President, continued • To put it in perspective, even as the state’s general revenue has grown, highway funding has remained relatively stagnant. In 1980, highway funding was 14.4% of the state’s overall General Revenue. In 2016, it was only 6% of General Revenue. • If road funding had remained at 14.4% of General Revenue, highways would be receiving an additional $453 million a year now. (Note: That’s close to the same additional $478 million we now need annually, according to the Arkansas Legislative Audit.) • We’re moving in the wrong direction. More than 70% of our highway, road and street funding comes from a consumption-based fuel tax, when the trend is less consumption. Without additional revenue for
highways, the funding gap will continue to grow. • To make matters worse, we rely more than ever on federal funding – funding now in jeopardy, with the current administration warning that states will soon be responsible for coming up with a greater portion of road funding. Today, 54% of the state’s highway funding is federal, compared to only 36% in 1993. (The state expects to receive 40% less federal funding after Fiscal Year 2020.) Again, please feel free to share this information with your friends, employees and others so that the true benefits of a good highway system can be made known. April 2018 | Good Roads Foundation 5
TAKING HIS BEST SHOT
ARDOT Photographer Wins National Contest By Bill Paddack
Rusty Hubbard’s winning photo shows an I-55 Bridge inspection by Chris Doggett and Kevin Milligan.
The photo shows a pair of bridge inspectors examining the Interstate 55 span between Arkansas and Tennessee. It’s a compelling image by Arkansas Department of Transportation photographer Rusty Hubbard. And it’s the winner of a national photography contest. Hubbard won the grand prize in the Faces of Transportation competition sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials. Private citizens and state department of
transportation employees from 21 states submitted 118 photographs depicting transportation professionals and citizens interacting with iconic symbols of the nation’s infrastructure. Hubbard’s winning photo of Bridge Inspector Chris Doggett and Assistant Bridge Inspector Kevin Milligan, which was taken under the I-55 bridge at West Memphis, was praised by judges “for grabbing the viewer’s attention with form, line and color.”
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A former photographer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Hubbard has been with ARDOT since October 2014. He has a Bachelor of Arts in studio art – with an emphasis in photography – from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Prior to working for the state’s largest newspaper, he said he “did a stint” as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher in Prague. He agreed to let us shoot him a few questions.
GOOD ROADS: How did you capture your winning photo?
GR: What do you like best about your job with ARDOT?
RUSTY HUBBARD: I was in the basket of a “snooper” the bridge inspectors use to reach various parts of bridges. I had to lean backwards as far as I could to get the shot, using a 14mm focal length, which is the limit for the lens.
RH: My job enables me to visit some parts of Arkansas I’d otherwise not see.
GR: What kind of camera and gear do you use and do you have a favorite lens?
GR: Arkansas has a lot of scenic highways. What are some of your favorites to shoot? RH: It depends on the time of year – there are just too many to name a favorite. Highway 123 is usually nice in the fall and the short stretch
GR: Along those same lines, what are some of your favorite bridges to photograph in Arkansas? RH: I took many, many photos of the Broadway bridge during the construction phase, so it’s been my favorite due to the scale and uncommon design. I’ve enjoyed taking photos of the older steel truss bridges that are rapidly disappearing as they reach the end of their structural life.
RH: That photo was shot with a Nikon D810 and 14-24/2.8 lens. Since I like to incorporate lots of diagonals in my photographs, the look of wide angle lenses appeals to me by how they distort perspective. I’ve also brought out the department’s 4x5 Graflex, which was most likely the camera that was used by photographer Johnnie Gray to take the “Six Bridges” photo in 1961. I’ve photographed the Broadway bridge and Rusty Hubbard at the construction of the Broadway Bridge connecting Little Rock and North Newport bridge using Little Rock, a favorite of his to photograph. some long-expired blackand-white film I had at GR: What other interests and of Highway 103 from Clarksville home. I’ve also recently started hobbies do you have? to Oark is an interesting road. using a drone to take photos (and Wherever you are, there’s probably some video). It offers a chance to an interesting road or view within a RH: Motorcycles, photography, get views that would be otherwise competitive shooting (United States short drive. unobtainable. Practical Shooting Association matches) and hibernating.
April 2018 | Good Roads Foundation 7
State Highway Commission
STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION: Appointed by the governor, the five members of the Highway Commission serve 10-year terms. They are “vested with powers and duties for administering” the Arkansas Department of Transportation and “fully and effectively carrying out relative regulations and laws.” They are (from left) Chairman Dick Trammell, Vice Chairman Thomas Schueck, Robert S. Moore, Jr., Dalton A. Farmer, Jr., and Philip Taldo.
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I-69 Extension Delta Still Waits for I-69 Editor’s Note: Arkansas Business, the weekly statewide business journal, recently took a look at where the state is on construction of the proposed Interstate 69. Here is an excerpt from the article by Marty Cook.
The economic transformation of the Arkansas Delta is only $910 million away. That’s the expected price tag attached to the construction of a 23-mile stretch of I-69 in eastern Arkansas that would connect Arkansas City with Benoit, Miss. The stretch, which would include the Great River Bridge over the Mississippi River, would become part of an interstate highway that is designed to run from Michigan to Texas. On the national level, the extension of I-69 would have major economic benefits for trade both within the U.S. and with Mexico and Canada. In Arkansas, Delta boosters envision it opening up the fertile but economically depressed region to more business development. “I-69 would be awesome,” said Gene Higginbotham, executive director of the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District. “The basic need — I guess the best way to explain it — is when anybody looking to expand or relocate their business, one of the first things they ask is ‘Are you on an interstate?’ Most of Southeast Arkansas is not. “Interstate 69 is a game changer for southern Arkansas. It stretches all the way across Arkansas. It will impact southern Arkansas, not just Southeast Arkansas. It is going to
help every city within 25 miles of that interstate, maybe even a little farther out.” Improving infrastructure and economic development in the Delta has been a focus for Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Mike Preston, executive director of the AEDC. “People throw this term out too loosely, but that really is the game changer for Southeast Arkansas,” Preston said of the completion of I-69. “If you have I-69 built and running through that part of the state ... it’s around those interstates where opportunities lie for business and, thus, for jobs and created wealth. You get that in Southeast Arkansas, and
you’re going to see it really just transform the state. If there was $1 billion that fell from the sky or the federal government or wherever and we were able to get that bridge built and the rest of I-69, that’s game changing.”
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MAINTENANCE is a MUST.
NEVER TAKE SAFETY FOR GRANTED. #ARHwysAreYourHwys
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 10324 Interstate 30 | Little Rock, AR 72209 | www.ardot.gov | www.idrivearkansas.com
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SURVEY ON HIGHWAYS IN ARKANSAS
MAIL OR EMAIL RESPONSES TO: ARDOT Public Information P.O. Box 2261 Little Rock, AR 72203 firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you satisfied with the condition of the existing state highway system? Yes
What highways in your area need improvements, and what type of improvements do they need? Priority 1: _________________________________________________________ Priority 2: _________________________________________________________ Priority 3: _________________________________________________________ Priority 4: _________________________________________________________ If you want better highway conditions, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will need additional funds. Would you support a new highway program that would generate additional revenue? Yes
Which of the following sources do you recommend be utilized in obtaining additional funds (check all that apply): Increase in gas tax Increase in diesel tax Increase in sales tax (dedicated to highways) Increase in registration fees Add sales tax on wholesale price of motor fuels Transfer existing sales and use tax on motor vehicles and related parts and service (currently collected but not paid to highways) Other:___________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Would you be willing to sign a petition to put a highway revenue proposal on the 2018 general election ballot? Yes
How did you hear about this survey Presentation TV/Radio/Print Website/Search Engine Social Media Family or Friend Other:____________________________________________________________ Optional:
Online Form Available Here:
Name: ___________________________________ Address:__________________________________ City, State, Zip:_____________________________ April 2018 | Good Roads Foundation 11
Keeping Arkansas Beautiful 2017 Great Arkansas Cleanup Results Volunteers participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup last fall, an event promoted by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), removed almost a million pounds of litter and bulky waste during the statewide effort.
BY THE NUMBERS...
215 Events 3,868 Tires Collected
Miles of Roadways Cleaned
Acres of Parks/Public Areas Cleaned
Vo l u n t e e r H o u r s
Miles of Waterways Cleaned
Pounds of Bulky Waste Collected
photo by Jeff Borg
130,589 Pounds of Litter Picked Up
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Keeping Arkansas Beautiful KAB Challenges Counties to #MakeArkansasGreen As part of the annual Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) is helping volunteers in every county organize and promote local cleanup and beautification events that will #MakeArkansasGreen.
tolerate littered places,” Liz Philother supplies, as long as those pott, KAB’s volunteer program supplies last. Volunteers can find manager and statewide cleanup local cleanups on the calendar of coordinator, said. “KAB is comevents on the KAB’s website. mitted to fostering behavior change This year marks the 20th year and new attitudes to make littering of Keep America Beautiful’s Great socially unacceptable. We advance American Cleanup; last year alone, change through volunteer activities volunteers picked up nearly 186 and educational million pounds of litter and debris outreach about in communities across the country. the negative During last year’s Great American impacts on a Cleanup in Arkansas, 6,153 volcommunity that unteers picked up nearly 135,000 isn’t litter-free. pounds of litter and collected 6.9 The #MakeArmillion pounds of bulky waste kansasGreen from 725 miles of roadsides and challenge during 156 miles of waterways. Volunthe Great Amerteers also cleaned up 10,000-plus ican Cleanup in acres of parks and public areas and Great American Cleanup events – such as this one last year by Arkansas is a key recycled nearly 300,000 pounds of the Mulberry River Society – provide a place to meet others who initiative to enelectronics. are passionate about keeping our communities and state clean. gage and inspire The Keep Arkansas BeautiThe Great American Cleanup in Arkansans toward better habits.” ful Commission, consisting of Arkansas – and the #MakeArkanEach week beginning in April, a professional staff of three and sasGreen challenge – is a call-toKAB will post to its social media a nine-member advisory board action to volunteers to organize at platforms a #MakeArkansasGreen appointed by the governor, is a least one cleanup event in each of map of the division of the the state’s 75 counties during the counties Arkansas Departcampaign that runs March through where a ment of Parks May in Arkansas. During the 2017 cleanup is and Tourism. As Great American Cleanup in Arkan- registered. Ara certified state sas, volunteers registered events in kansans can affiliate of Keep 52 counties. follow along America BeauCleanup events should focus on on Facebook, tiful Inc., KAB enhancing a community’s public Twitter and strives to inspire spaces – such as roadsides, waterInstagram and educate indiVolunteers help clean up a Little Rock neighways, parks and neighborhoods to track the viduals to reduce borhood during last year’s Great American – by picking up litter and debris, #MakeArlitter, recycle and Cleanup event. planting flowers, removing bulky kansasGreen keep Arkansas waste, recycling materials and imcampaign’s success. beautiful. KAB is funded through proving overall appearance. Communities and groups are in- its 1% portion of the eighth-cent “Littering is illegal in Arkanvited to sign up to organize a local Conservation Tax. For more inforsas, and it is ugly and unhealthy. cleanup. KAB will provide local mation, visit KeepArkansasBeautiWe want Arkansans to no longer events with trash bags, T-shirts and ful.com. April 2018 | Good Roads Foundation 13
UNLIT LIT LITTER If you light it up, please don’t throw it down. Improperly discarded cigarette butts poison the environment.
Do your part. Keep Arkansas Beautiful. KeepArkansasBeautiful.com 888-742-8701
pauline whitaker parkway interchange rogers, arkansas
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“Arkansas hasn’t increased its fuel tax in almost 15 years. Meeting basic maintenance demands as well as
expanding and creating new roads and bridges is essential to the safe and efficient movement of goods
ATA’s Board of Directors, with representation from carriers of all sizes and types, believes an increase to fuel taxes is the most appropriate and reasonable source of revenue for highway improvements.” – Al Heringer, IV, vice president of Star Transportation, LLC, and chairman of the board of the Arkansas Trucking Association.
“This is not a conservative budget at all. We are not fixing the problems that our state faces. We are not fixing the highway problem. We are not fixing other problems.” – State Rep. Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs, on the Revenue Stabilization Act approved by legislators in the recent fiscal session.
Al Heringer, IV
“Our nation’s critical infrastructure, including our bridges, roadways, waterways, rail, energy infrastructure, electric grid and drilling equipment for energy production, all rely on U.S.-produced steel. We must continue to enhance and strengthen our steel-production capabilities so that we may continue to build and repair the foundation of America’s infrastructure with American-made steel.” – Congressmen Rick Crawford, R-Ark., Mike Bost, R-Ill. and Peter J. Visclosky, D-Ind., in an article they wrote for The Hill, on why they support President Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, with current exceptions for Canada and Mexico.
“We need to make sure that we build the support in our communities for a new and more aggressive highway plan for the future.” – Gov. Asa Hutchinson
“I really believe we need to give the Legislature another shot.”
– Arkansas Department of Transportation Director Scott Bennett, who says he sees hopeful signs that members of the General Assembly will be more receptive to ARDOT needs when it meets in its regular session in 2019.
” – State Highway Commissioner Dalton A. Farmer, Jr., in February when six Future I-57 signs were placed along U.S. 67 between North Little Rock and Walnut Ridge as he encouraged people to view the eventual interstate as a regional improvement for a large chunk of the U.S.
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Arkansas Good Roads Foundation P.O. Box 25854 Little Rock, Arkansas 72221
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