TRIP, a Washington, DC-based national transportation research organization says in order to adequately enhance the state's economic growth and quality of life, Arkansas will need to make numerous improvements to its transportation system.
TRIP's report, "The Top 40 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in Arkansas," identifies the projects most needed to provide Arkansas with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state. The most needed transportation improvements in Arkansas include projects to build, expand or modernize the state's highways, roads and bridges. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities and quality of life throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and improving traffic safety, thus making Arkansas an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
The TRIP report (click here to read it) lists the needed projects geographically (including breakdowns for Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, Northeast Arkansas, Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Arkansas and Statewide), ordered by route number.
The most needed projects in Central Arkansas include the following:
- adding four lanes to 4.2 miles of I-30 in Pulaski County;
- rehabilitation and reconstruction of 2.6 miles of I-30 in Little Rock;
- adding two lanes to 4.6 miles of I-30 in Saline County;
- adding two lanes to 13 miles of I-40 in Faulkner County;
- adding two lanes to 5.6 miles of I-40 in Pulaski County;
- providing interchange modifications on I-430 at I-30, Highway 10 and I-40 in Pulaski County;
- adding two lanes and a center turning lane to 15.8 miles of Highway 64 in White and Faulkner Counties;
- adding two lanes to Highway 67 from Jacksonville to Cabot;
- adding two lanes to 17.6 miles of Highway 70 in Garland and Saline Counties;
- adding two lanes and a center turning lane to three miles of Highway 270 near Hot Springs;
- rehabilitation and reconstruction of 6.6 miles of I-440 in Pulaski County;
- rehabilitating and reconstructing 37 miles of I-530 in Pulaski, Saline and Jefferson Counties;
- adding two lanes to 2.3 miles of I-630 in Little Rock; and pavement restoration on 3.2 miles of I-630 in Little Rock.
"Arkansas has many more road and bridge needs than it has dollars to put towards maintenance repair or replacement," said Mark Lamberth, co-chairman of Move Arkansas Forward. "A healthy transportation system is vital to the growth of the state's economic vitality, but the state needs adequate funding to ensure that we move in the right direction."
Enhancing critical segments of Arkansas's transportation system will boost the state's economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state's residents and visitors.
TRIP compiled the list of transportation projects based on a system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
Sustaining Arkansas's long-term economic growth and maintaining the state's high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state's transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.
"Investing in these transportation projects will be key to long term economic growth and quality of life in Arkansas," said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. "Private sector jobs will be created in the short term, resulting in transportation, improvements from which the state's residents, businesses and tourists will benefit for decades."
Click here to read the full report.