Voters on Tuesday gave their support to one of the most important transportation proposals in Arkansas history.
The statewide vote on Tuesday will allow the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to begin moving forward with plans to widen Interstate 540 to six lanes from Fayetteville to Bentonville. With revenue from a bond issue, the highway department also plans to build the first two lanes of the U.S. 71 Bypass of Bella Vista and build the first four miles of the U.S. 412 Bypass of Springdale, providing quicker access to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.
“Voters clearly recognized this was an excellent proposal and appreciated knowing exactly what they’d receive for their investment,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “That specificity was critical to this issue’s passage.
“Issue No. 1 had wide support from both sides of the political aisle when our State Legislature put this issue on the ballot last year, and voters from both political parties showed they recognize how important infrastructure improvements are to our state’s future. In a decade, we’ll look back at Tuesday as a milestone in advancing our region and advancing our state.”
Issue No. 1’s passage came in no small part to the efforts of dozens of statewide organizations that realized the long-term benefit that will come with improving the state’s infrastructure, Malone said. “We are thankful to all the wonderful people who rallied around Issue No. 1."
The Council’s partners included:
- Thousands of voters who took the time to understand the proposal and the positive economic impact it will have on our state;
- The statewide elected officials from both political parties who recognized the importance of investing in our state’s infrastructure and who publicly supported the proposal;
- The state legislators who courageously voted to put this question on the ballot to let the citizens decide;
- Local elected officials – many of whom supported the proposal;
- Highway department officials and commissioners who committed to a map of projects to give voters specificity;
- Chamber of commerce leaders who advocated for the proposal throughout the state;
- Arkansas Farm Bureau members who provided much-needed support to get it approved; and,
- The Move Arkansas Forward organization and contributors who helped ensure that voters fully understood the benefits of Issue No. 1.
“This constitutional amendment had so much support from every corner of Arkansas and that deserves to be recognized,” Malone said. “This is a vote to celebrate because it means so much to our state’s future.”