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mcheiss

Transportation Projects, Roads, Light Rail, etc

Future Proposed Northwest Arkansas Transportation Projects  

103 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Project is the best option for the future of Northwest Arkansas?

    • 10 Stop Light Rail System
      33
    • Western Bypass
      15
    • I-540 Improvements (6 to 8 lanes)
      35
    • Eastern Parkway
      6
    • Regionwide Bus Service
      8
    • Pedestrian Facilities
      1
    • Bicycle Facilities
      4
    • Ride Share Programs
      1


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I guess the bond issue voters approved back in 1999 to improve the condition of the interstate system in the state is officially over. Although to be honest I thought they had finished up a while back. They worked on 350 miles worth in the first bond issue and the state is looking for the voters to extend it to work on some other sections of the interstate system. They say we still have 650 miles of interstate that needs 'modernizing'. Looks like a big section of that 650 miles is on I-540. A little weird for me to think about that because to me it still seems like I-540 isn't that old. Although to be honest some sections of I-540 were completed years before the interstate was ever open. So some sections are actually older than what it may seem. And I'm sure there's been a good amount of wear and tear put onto it. I think I have noticed some sections where you can start to tell sections of concrete are slowly pulling away from each other and becoming a bit bumpy. Guess we'll just have to see which way the voters go.

http://1999map.com/

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The November 8 special election for the bond issue is a no brainer to vote yes on. It will not involve a tax increase and voting no will not lower anyone's taxes. The money is needed in order to continue the work on the interstate system in Arkansas. Unlike the 2005 election it doesn't give the state a blank check to renew the bond issue without a vote. This election certainly should not be confused with the election next year that would increase the state sales tax in order to build a 4 lane grid all over the state- that is a horrible idea that will surely go down to defeat.

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The November 8 special election for the bond issue is a no brainer to vote yes on. It will not involve a tax increase and voting no will not lower anyone's taxes. The money is needed in order to continue the work on the interstate system in Arkansas. Unlike the 2005 election it doesn't give the state a blank check to renew the bond issue without a vote. This election certainly should not be confused with the election next year that would increase the state sales tax in order to build a 4 lane grid all over the state- that is a horrible idea that will surely go down to defeat.

Yes good point. Bond issues like this that are just basically extending an already existing bond do tend to get passed. But with the current economy I wasn't going to just assume this will get passed as easily as it tends to be. But yes on the issue for next year it's harder to see that getting passed. I suppose some will give it support saying these additional four lane roads will create economic and job growth. But I am really curious to see what all of that is expected to cost. I think that price tag is going to scare some away. But I'm with you, I really hope this doesn't get passed. Arkansas needs to focus on high priority areas. Not keep building a bigger more expensive road network through out too many rural areas, when it doesn't even really have the money to maintain what's already out there now.

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You are right about I540- it doesn't seem that old at all. I have seen some spots that are wearing badly though. I think the idea is that if they repair them sooner rather than later it is less costly and the repair holds up better. There are some spots that never got touched during the earlier bond issue. I haven't been over it in a while but down by Russellville there was a very noticeable stretch on I40 that was still very rough. Hopefully the voting public will see that the bond issue is a good investment and it passes.

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The NWA Times had an article today about an attempt by the Northwest Arkansas Council to prevent Washington County voters from voting on the Ozark Regional Transit sales tax question. This is the 1/4 cent sales tax increase that ORT needs to support and expand it's system in the wake of federal government funding cuts coming in 2013. The NWA Council wants the Quorum Court to cancel the election that the court has already said they support. This comes after the Benton County Quorum Court rejected giving Benton County voters the chance to decide whether they wanted to support public transit in an election. The NWA Council says that because it isn't a two county plan now that Washington County voters shouldn't get the chance to decide either. Their reasoning is that the NWA Regional Mobility Authority should handle public transit funding for NWA.

It appears the NWA Council wants ORT to fade away and take with it the only semblance of public transit in the metro. The only other choice is Razorback Transit and it is aimed primarily at university students in Fayetteville. The idea that the NWA Regional Mobility Authority is going to come up with a funding solution by 2013 is laughable- the authority has been in existance since 2008 and accomplished nothing at all. I wonder if the NWA Council didn't kill the BenCo election before it ever got a chance to be voted on. Considering that Washington County seems to be a much bigger user and proponent of public transit and the Quorum court has already given support for an election it would be wrong to now take away the chance for voters to make the decision themselves.

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The NWA Times had an article today about an attempt by the Northwest Arkansas Council to prevent Washington County voters from voting on the Ozark Regional Transit sales tax question. This is the 1/4 cent sales tax increase that ORT needs to support and expand it's system in the wake of federal government funding cuts coming in 2013. The NWA Council wants the Quorum Court to cancel the election that the court has already said they support. This comes after the Benton County Quorum Court rejected giving Benton County voters the chance to decide whether they wanted to support public transit in an election. The NWA Council says that because it isn't a two county plan now that Washington County voters shouldn't get the chance to decide either. Their reasoning is that the NWA Regional Mobility Authority should handle public transit funding for NWA.

It appears the NWA Council wants ORT to fade away and take with it the only semblance of public transit in the metro. The only other choice is Razorback Transit and it is aimed primarily at university students in Fayetteville. The idea that the NWA Regional Mobility Authority is going to come up with a funding solution by 2013 is laughable- the authority has been in existence since 2008 and accomplished nothing at all. I wonder if the NWA Council didn't kill the BenCo election before it ever got a chance to be voted on. Considering that Washington County seems to be a much bigger user and proponent of public transit and the Quorum court has already given support for an election it would be wrong to now take away the chance for voters to make the decision themselves.

I don't get why everyone doesn't seem to want to let the voters make this decision. I believe I read somewhere that ORT has been bringing this subject up since 2006 and everybody keeps wanting to push the issue back. But as aerotive pointed out. I think the NWA Regional Authority is worried that if voters approve this then they may later vote down the other measure later in the year. I think we can all agree highway needs are certainly important. But it seems silly to me that we almost seem to be pushing away most public transportation away.

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I don't get why everyone doesn't seem to want to let the voters make this decision. I believe I read somewhere that ORT has been bringing this subject up since 2006 and everybody keeps wanting to push the issue back. But as aerotive pointed out. I think the NWA Regional Authority is worried that if voters approve this then they may later vote down the other measure later in the year. I think we can all agree highway needs are certainly important. But it seems silly to me that we almost seem to be pushing away most public transportation away.

Yes, I did read where the 1/2 cent statewide sales tax election later this year was used as a justification to not have the Washington County election but that doesn't ring true. The relatively small number of voters in Washington County is not going to get the 1/2 cent increase passed- it has a very small chance of passing regardless. Holding funding for public transist here hostage for a statewide vote is wrong. The ORT 1/4 cent increase is needed now and should be passed. Even if the 1/2 cent increase passes it doesn't mean that ORT or any mode of public transit will receive any funding from it. For that matter- it doesn't even mean any of the projects that the Highway Department is using as bait to get it passed will be built.

One thing voters need to remember about the 1/2 cent sales tax increase election next November is that the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department that is pushing it does not decide how that money would be allocated around the state. It is the independent Arkansas State Highway Commission that decides where the money is actually spent. This is the group that is pushing for a 4 lane grid connecting all the small cities in the state. They want to use transportation funding as stimulus money for economic development in depressed areas. Transportation money should be used to fix transportation problems- not try to solve far-reaching economic problems.The Commission is the same group that said it would reform how it operates after legislative pressure was applied and then when the pressure was removed went straight back to their normal way of doing business. The 1/2 cent sales tax increase should not be passed unless it is specified in the ballot question exactly what the money will be spent on. A complete list of projects that can be examined needs to be published and be law so that the Commission has no say over how the money is spent.

The best path in the long run would be to abolish the Commission and set up population based districts for funding purposes with a special funding category for large inter-district projects. We don't have the corrupt political environment that led to the establishment of the Commission many decades ago so there isn't a need for it. Let our elected legislators do their job when it comes to transportation issues.

Edited by zman9810

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Yes, I did read where the 1/2 cent statewide sales tax election later this year was used as a justification to not have the Washington County election but that doesn't ring true. The relatively small number of voters in Washington County is not going to get the 1/2 cent increase passed- it has a very small chance of passing regardless. Holding funding for public transist here hostage for a statewide vote is wrong. The ORT 1/4 cent increase is needed now and should be passed. Even if the 1/2 cent increase passes it doesn't mean that ORT or any mode of public transit will receive any funding from it. For that matter- it doesn't even mean any of the projects that the Highway Department is using as bait to get it passed will be built.

One thing voters need to remember about the 1/2 cent sales tax increase election next November is that the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department that is pushing it does not decide how that money would be allocated around the state. It is the independent Arkansas State Highway Commission that decides where the money is actually spent. This is the group that is pushing for a 4 lane grid connecting all the small cities in the state. They want to use transportation funding as stimulus money for economic development in depressed areas. Transportation money should be used to fix transportation problems- not try to solve far-reaching economic problems.The Commission is the same group that said it would reform how it operates after legislative pressure was applied and then when the pressure was removed went straight back to their normal way of doing business. The 1/2 cent sales tax increase should not be passed unless it is specified in the ballot question exactly what the money will be spent on. A complete list of projects that can be examined needs to be published and be law so that the Commission has no say over how the money is spent.

The best path in the long run would be to abolish the Commission and set up population based districts for funding purposes with a special funding category for large inter-district projects. We don't have the corrupt political environment that led to the establishment of the Commission many decades ago so there isn't a need for it. Let our elected legislators do their job when it comes to transportation issues.

So far it seems the Washington County Quorum Court seem to prefer letting the residents of Washington County decide for themselves thankfully. And I certainly agree with you on the Arkansas State Highway Commission. The group certainly seems to have their thinking stuck back in the 50's and 60's on what needs to be done.

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As we all have heard, the State Highway Department is in the process of spending millions of dollars to install cable in the medians of divided multilane highways in the state in order to make them safer and reduce fatalities. This is a great idea and a very efficient use of taxpayer money. Now, the State Highway Commission has come up with the idea to raise the speed limit to 65 mph on undivided multilane highways in the state, whether they be 4 lane or 5 lane. This would include highways such as 412 east of Springdale to Sonora, 71 south of Greenland to West Fork and 167 south of El Dorado.

This is another example of the Commission being totally out of touch with the the real needs of the state. Why on earth would they want to spend millions to increase safety on one type of road and then decrease safety on another type? Raising the speed limit on undivided multilane roads has been shown to increase fatalities. Such roads are already inherently dangerous by design- you have vehicles passing each other just feet away at high speeds. Why would you want to increase that speed? The argument that drivers are already driving over the speed limit so the limit should be raised is false- if drivers are going 10 miles mph over now they will do the same at the new higher speed limit. 65 mph speeds will become 75 mph and accidents will be more deadly. It almost feels like the Commission sees an average number of fatalties as acceptable and because divided multilanes will be safer with the cables they can afford to let the number of fatalities on undivided multilanes rise- it will average out in the end. I can't imagine that actually is the case- the Commission is just clueless on how administer the state's highway network. It is another reason to do away with the Commssion and let the elected legislators and professionals at the highway department do their jobs.

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Looks like the 5 cent diesel tax increase that I referred to in this post will not be on the ballot after all. The trucking association paid for a poll that told them there was little chance in it passing so they have asked the governor not to put it on the ballot. The truckers are also wanting to keep the sales tax exemption on trucks and trailers that was passed in the last legislative session. It was passed in a deal where the truckers would support the 5 cent tax increase in return for the exemption. It takes some nerve to expect to keep the exemption on one hand and the tax increase not be passed on the other. I don't know what the legislature was thinking when they passed that exemption before the money was in hand to replace it.

This sales tax exemption has not been repealed by the state legislature and is unlikely to be repealed before it goes effect this summer.

This development makes my argument for abolishing the highway commission weaker- if the legislature can't do the right thing on a small issue such as this then giving them more power over the state's highway and transportation department may not be a smart way to go. There has to be a better way............

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The State Highway Department has plans to start widening I540 to 6 lanes between MLK and Wedington in Fayetteville soon. Sounds like they plan to have it finished by fall just in time for the November election. This project is a great idea to promote the the sales tax increase by showing what can be done and give voters the incentive to vote yes. From what I have read the increase is having trouble gaining support but there is still time to turn that around. i still dislike the way transportation funding is handled in Arkansas but this may be the best chance to raise the funds needed to make major improvements.

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The State Highway Department has plans to start widening I540 to 6 lanes between MLK and Wedington in Fayetteville soon. Sounds like they plan to have it finished by fall just in time for the November election. This project is a great idea to promote the the sales tax increase by showing what can be done and give voters the incentive to vote yes. From what I have read the increase is having trouble gaining support but there is still time to turn that around. i still dislike the way transportation funding is handled in Arkansas but this may be the best chance to raise the funds needed to make major improvements.

I just got back into town and was hearing about this. Got to admit I'm a bit surprised. I really expected that this wouldn't happen for quite a while. I figured it was still a few years away to be honest. I'm also surprised they're widening a section in Fayetteville first. I thought they'd probably do a stretch up in Benton County first. I agree with you on not being a big fan of how things are handled in the state. I seem to recall hearing about the state also expanding some lanes of I-40 down in Conway. I wonder if this is also being timed as the Fayetteville work.

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Call me crazy but what is the point of doing a freaking 1 mile section. Seems like it will cause wrecks more than help. People will think they are in a new lane that will go on for a while and then it suddenly ends again thus trying to merge back into traffic. They should wait until they can at least do 3-5 miles.

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This is just the carot to get voters to approve the half cent sales tax increase- much like the start of adding lanes to I40 between Little Rock and Conway. I think it is a good idea and may just work. It will sure make people think about how great it would be to have all of I540 widened. Plus they already have the funds coming to redo the interchanges- this will just be the final step.

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Yeah overall I think it basically just allows the drivers entering I-540 in that area, more time to merge. From what I recall of the study done years ago, I don't think it reccomended widening I-540 in all of Fayetteville. The traffic counts only suggested part of it needed to be widened for now. But I don't remember if it was just this stretch or if maybe it was to garland and they're only doing this section for now. That same study had reccomended a lot larger stretch to be done in Benton County. I imagine it was much easier to simply do this one section in Fayetteville. Aside from widening the bridge that goes over the Porter Rd interchange, this seems a pretty easy straight forward section to widen. Most of the other interchanges occur over the interstate not underneath it. I think some of those interchanges could be a bit harder and more expensive to deal with.

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Half a cent is too much, they got greedy...if the transit and road increases pass, Fayetteville will have a 10% sales tax rate. People will notice that and I think there will be pushback.

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Half a cent is a healthy increase but since the transit tax would only affect Washington County it may not have much impact on the statewide vote. I think the transit tax is in more serious trouble than even the road tax. ORT did a horrible job in making the case for it and left some people feeling like they had been deceived. I still don't understand the whole situation concerning the loss of federal funding and if there will even be a loss.

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I agree, at first it was sold as preserving service, now it's an expansion. And expansion is fine but they confused things. There should also be details about the expansion easily available...routes, fares, hours, frequencies etc. Far as I know that doesnt exist in an accessible form.

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Yeah overall I think it basically just allows the drivers entering I-540 in that area, more time to merge. From what I recall of the study done years ago, I don't think it reccomended widening I-540 in all of Fayetteville. The traffic counts only suggested part of it needed to be widened for now. But I don't remember if it was just this stretch or if maybe it was to garland and they're only doing this section for now. That same study had reccomended a lot larger stretch to be done in Benton County. I imagine it was much easier to simply do this one section in Fayetteville. Aside from widening the bridge that goes over the Porter Rd interchange, this seems a pretty easy straight forward section to widen. Most of the other interchanges occur over the interstate not underneath it. I think some of those interchanges could be a bit harder and more expensive to deal with.

Oops, even though I saw MLK to Weddington, for some reason I was thinking Weddington to Garland in my head. Sorry for the confusion. :blush::lol:

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Half a cent is a healthy increase but since the transit tax would only affect Washington County it may not have much impact on the statewide vote. I think the transit tax is in more serious trouble than even the road tax. ORT did a horrible job in making the case for it and left some people feeling like they had been deceived. I still don't understand the whole situation concerning the loss of federal funding and if there will even be a loss.

The transit tax failed in Washington County. At one point the vote had been pretty close. But ended up about 64% against to 36% for.

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Yeah- not surprising. I bet no one outside of Fayetteville in the county voted for it. It was just a very poorly planned effort without clear selling points.

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Yeah- not surprising. I bet no one outside of Fayetteville in the county voted for it. It was just a very poorly planned effort without clear selling points.

Yeah when the votes were actually close was probably when the Fayetteville districts were reporting in. Then after that it was overwhelmingly against. I agree it wasn't very well planned. But at least Washington County got to vote on it, where as Benton County didn't even give voters a chance. Maybe they'd be better off trying to focus on Fayetteville than Washington County as a whole. I think they'd have a lot better luck getting something passed in Fayetteville. Maybe ORT could focus on more routes in Fayetteville that Razorback doesn't provide.

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A lot of people probably already know this. But work started this week on Garland Ave in Fayetteville. Moving the utilities and such for the eventual widening of Garland between North St and Janice. Last I had heard was that it was just going as far north as Melmar. But guess funding was just enough to get it a little further north.

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While I've heard about the future roundabout near the Fulbright Expressway at Futrall and Northhills Blvd. One think I don't recall hearing about is that it sounds like they'll also be widening Futrall between the roundabout westward to Gregg Ave. Although I haven't heard just exactly what that will entail. They'll also be working on the entrance and exit ramps onto the Fulbright Expressway. Although that didn't come as too much of a surprise.

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