U.S. Senator John Boozman (R) said on Thursday (Sept. 6) that he personally supports a legislatively-referred temporary half-cent sales tax proposal that would fund Arkansas’ four-lane highways.
The measure, Proposed Amendment 1, will be on the ballot this November. It outlines a 10-year, half-cent sales tax increase that would fund roughly $1.2 billion in four-lane highway construction and repairs across Arkansas.
“I think in looking at this personally, the voters of Arkansas are going to have to decide for themselves. But as I look at it, I really do think it’s the right thing to do. I personally will vote for it,” Boozman told a group of economic leaders at a transportation forum held by the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The meeting was to discuss future federal highway funding.
Boozman said that, if approved by voters, the state highway program would take considerable time to build out, but would be beneficial to Arkansas jobs and the economy.
“We talk a lot about the economy. We talk a lot about jobs. This really is a way for the state to continue to grow,” he said. “It’s not something being crammed down the throats of the people of Arkansas. They’re going to have to decide for themselves. I think the projects will be good and benefit the state.”
Second District Congressman Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock) did not directly answer a question on how he would vote on the proposal, but he did say that improving the federal deficit would be beneficial to road projects and that voters are generally supportive of infrastructure investments.
“I would say that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the federal government doesn’t have a surplus,” said Griffin.
He emphasized that restoring federal finances to a healthier balance would allow money to flow back to states for more “creative” purposes.
“My experience is a lot of people aren’t interested in paying more taxes, but they don’t have a problem investing in roads and infrastructure. In fact, most people understand the importance of investing in roads and infrastructure,” Griffin said.