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9/6/2012
Election 2012: State ballots include road funding, borrowing questions
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

On Nov. 6, voters will head to the polling booth and make numerous decisions on various races and issues. Among the topics on Arkansas, Alaska and Maine ballots are efforts to address borrowing and transportation funding.

One of the 17 bond proposals before voters across the country this fall is included on the Arkansas statewide ballot. Issue 1 on the ballot covers a half-cent sales tax increase to cover a $1.3 billion bond issue for roads and bridges.

The 10-year tax increase would be used to help address repairs and construction of a statewide four-lane highway system. Specifically, the ballot question would benefit state highways and bridges, county roads, 19 bridges and other surface transportation, as well as city streets and bridges.

The Arkansas Legislature voted 18 months ago to put the question on the ballot. Advocates said the proposal is based on recommendations of a governor-appointed task force to address a gap in transportation funding, which has been estimated at about $19 billion during the next decade.

This November marks the second straight election that Arkansas voters will decide on a transportation funding question. A year ago voters overwhelmingly supported the renewal of a $575 million highway bond program that has been around for more than a decade.

Since the program was implemented in 1999, about $1 billion in improvements have been made to more than 355 miles of interstates.

Statewide ballots in Alaska will include a question about borrowing for transportation work. Proposition A would authorize $453.5 million in bonds.

On the opposite side of the continent, voters in Maine will decide on a $51.5 million bond issue for transportation projects. Question 4 on the ballot would provide about $36 million for highway and bridge repairs throughout the state. Another $5 million would be allocated for local road improvements.

Industrial rail, port improvements in Searsport and Eastport, as well as other projects would also benefit from voter approval.

Supporters say the money is vital to improving commerce and stimulating the state’s economy.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to mailto:state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.


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