On the first day of early voting in the state, Governor Hutchinson, stopped by several cities today, including Jonesboro, on a campaign push for Issue 1.
Issue 1 is not a new tax, but an extended tax which would go towards construction for state highways and roads if passed.
“We want our highway program to have continuity, to have consistency and do be able to have long term planning in their budgets,” Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson said.
This sales tax has been on the books since 2013.
The governor says the issue is crucial in determining the future of Arkansas roads.
Craighead county could possibly receive over $2.7 million in funding and Greene County could receive over $1.2 million.
If Issue 1 is not passed, Craighead County could possibly lose 15% of their road budget.
“Funding source is declining and striking. Issue 1 will allow us to have a stable funding source going forward to maintain our system of highways. It allows our first 10 years; it allows us to pave 7,000 of our 16,000 miles of state highways,” State highway Commissioner, Alex Farmer said.
This will allow the state to repair or replace all the weight restricted bridges, which is significant for Northeast Arkansas because 40% of that impacts the agricultural community.
St. Bernard’s President, Chris Barber, says the passing of issue one would benefit local hospitals, because roads in rural areas would improve, making travel easier.
“Certainly in our area to be able to be to provide access to care, timely respond to emergency situations for individuals, provide primary care especially to rural communities and also for essential healthcare to get to and from your designated destination,” President and CEO of St. Bernard’s Healthcare, Chris Barber said.
“The good thing about this is the citizens get the right to vote or the chance to vote for themselves on whether they want an improved highway system or not going forward,” Farmer said.
Governor Hutchinson also stressed the importance of voting in this year’s election.