Arkansas voters approved a measure to add a half-cent to the state’s 6-cent sales tax to pay for the widening of a dozen state highways and for major improvements on several others.
Passage of the road-tax measure — marking the first time that Arkansas will spend sales tax money on highway infrastructure — was a welcome surprise, said Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association.
“It’ll be a tremendous boost to the highway department’s budget,” he said. “That department will have more cash than it’s ever had.”
The half-cent tax will last 10 years and 30% of the revenue raised will go to cities and counties to spend on their roads.
About 58% of voters approved the measure, the (Fort Smith, Ark.) City Wire reported on its website. Cities and counties will each receive 15% of revenue under the program, estimated to be about $670 million, the paper said.
At the state level, the new revenue will allow Arkansas to sell $1.3 billion worth of bonds in order to launch the highway widening projects.