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Mith242

Is NWA being 'milked' by the rest of the state?

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I almost hate to bring this up and heat up any rivalries. I noticed an article in today's northwest edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about someone having some meetings. Basically telling people that NWA needs to be more unified and present a unified front to the rest of the state. And that we're pretty much the 'cash cow'. I guess I'm a little surprised I haven't heard more people saying things like this. I wish I had the article in front of me but I left it up at work. I do imagine someone could make the argument that NWA generates a lot of revenue for the state and that it's not all being put back into infrastructure like a lot of people would like to see. But I also imagine that if you look back far enough when NWA wasn't what it is today. This area of the state for a long time was on the poor side. I'm sure people in other parts of the state felt they were subsidizing us back then. But I do think there seems to be a bit of a rivalry growing between NWA and at least some other areas of the state. It probably would be better to have this part of the state on the same page and extend more of an influence in the state's government. Anyway I was curious if anyone else saw the article and what anyone thought of it.

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I almost hate to bring this up and heat up any rivalries. I noticed an article in today's northwest edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about someone having some meetings. Basically telling people that NWA needs to be more unified and present a unified front to the rest of the state. And that we're pretty much the 'cash cow'. I guess I'm a little surprised I haven't heard more people saying things like this. I wish I had the article in front of me but I left it up at work. I do imagine someone could make the argument that NWA generates a lot of revenue for the state and that it's not all being put back into infrastructure like a lot of people would like to see. But I also imagine that if you look back far enough when NWA wasn't what it is today. This area of the state for a long time was on the poor side. I'm sure people in other parts of the state felt they were subsidizing us back then. But I do think there seems to be a bit of a rivalry growing between NWA and at least some other areas of the state. It probably would be better to have this part of the state on the same page and extend more of an influence in the state's government. Anyway I was curious if anyone else saw the article and what anyone thought of it.

I didn't read it, was it an editorial?

The state paid for I-540, which was outrageously expensive. It has contributed or outright paid for the majority of major road improvements. NWA is lucky enough to get the University of Arkansas which is a huge benefit and employer but also a big tax burden to the state. There's talk about bringing a UAMS campus there will cost well in the hundreds of millions. I think NWA gets its fair share. I think you can say the same of Central Arkansas. Having the state capital in Little Rock no doubt funnels a bit more state money there as it does in every capital.

Looking at median household income, residents of NWA make the same income as those in Pulaski Co (Benton Co somewhat higher and Washington Co lower) and therefore pay the same amount in taxes.

I think part of this devolves into a rural vs suburban vs urban debate which I wouldn't want to delve into. we all pay a lot of taxes to support the poorer regions of the state in the Delta and to a lesser extent Southern Arkansas. Most states have a poorer region it has to support, even Texas and Florida.

If an area got to gripe, I'd say it would be Ft Smith instead of NWA. Maybe El Dorado, the state isn't doing much of anything down that way.

Nevermind, I found it:

"One of our biggest challenges [to road building and other infrastructure improvements] is getting Little Rock out of our way,

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But I do think there seems to be a bit of a rivalry growing between NWA and at least some other areas of the state.

Of course not...btw UCA is better than UA-F :P

Seriously though, I think that a lot of the problems is from the fact that the culture in Northwest Arkansas is so much different than from the rest of the state. When I go to NWA, it sometimes feel as if I have left the state of Arkansas. That corner of the state has always seemed more like a Midwestern town than a Southern one to me.

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Seriously though, I think that a lot of the problems is from the fact that the culture in Northwest Arkansas is so much different than from the rest of the state. When I go to NWA, it sometimes feel as if I have left the state of Arkansas. That corner of the state has always seemed more like a Midwestern town than a Southern one to me.

Interesting point. And add on to that the fact there's a lot of out of state people moving in to make it seem even more different than the rest of the state.

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I think part of this devolves into a rural vs suburban vs urban debate which I wouldn't want to delve into. we all pay a lot of taxes to support the poorer regions of the state in the Delta and to a lesser extent Southern Arkansas. Most states have a poorer region it has to support, even Texas and Florida.

Wow, sounds like he's the one with the chip on his shoulder. There's more road-building going on in NWA right now than Central Arkansas despite the differences in population. There is essentially no road improvement in LR right now and doing it will take a tax just like Springdale had to do. The last I checked NWA was represented just as well in the House and Senate as Central Arkansas. Furthermore, federal funding is dictated by things like population density, traffic counts, etc.

Yeah like I said if you go far enough back the Delta was the big area of the state for a long time and NWA didn't have anything but the university going on for it. But there does seem to be more of a us against the state attitude up here. Even though I'm a bit surprised more people haven't made more comments like this guy. I also wonder if some of this could also stem from the fact that a lot of people have moved here from other states. Richer states where it seemed like things were done more quickly than the way things are done in Arkansas. Perhaps to people newer to the state they see it as NWA not being taken care of by the rest of the state. When in actuality it has more to do with the fact that Arkansas is a poor state and things just don't fixed very quickly.

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Interesting point. And add on to that the fact there's a lot of out of state people moving in to make it seem even more different than the rest of the state.

It also generally has a very different political slant compared to the rest of the state as it tends to be far and away the most conservative part of the state. There are also the obvious differences in racial makeup.

Funny thing is, these two differences have always been there.

Yeah like I said if you go far enough back the Delta was the big area of the state for a long time and NWA didn't have anything but the university going on for it. But there does seem to be more of a us against the state attitude up here. Even though I'm a bit surprised more people haven't made more comments like this guy. I also wonder if some of this could also stem from the fact that a lot of people have moved here from other states. Richer states where it seemed like things were done more quickly than the way things are done in Arkansas. Perhaps to people newer to the state they see it as NWA not being taken care of by the rest of the state. When in actuality it has more to do with the fact that Arkansas is a poor state and things just don't fixed very quickly.

I think a lot of the road and highway issues come from it being a smaller, poorer state just as you said. I was shocked at how much more quickly and efficiently things happen down here in Texas because of the sheer volume and scale of projects.

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Interesting point. And add on to that the fact there's a lot of out of state people moving in to make it seem even more different than the rest of the state.

Indeed...it used to feel in Little Rock that you had people coming in from all over the state to settle there. (Perhaps that's changed), where in NWA one literally sees people coming in from worldwide to settle down.

A relative of an NWA state senator was in our business on business of her own months back. I asked her pretty much the same question this thread's titled.

What she said her husband encounters in the senate is: "You're bringing in all this cash in NWA. You find a way to pay for the improvements (road, schools, etc.) you're looking for".

Aporkalypse, coming from Atlanta I felt the same as you, as ATL's a rapid growth area just like NWA in many ways.

There, the difference is (IMO) the state government has to live in ATL for a time being as the capital is there, so they have to deal with infrastructure problems the same as the residents. Here, we're isolated, and seen as isolated for many reasons stated above. (Although it's strange about the "midwestern feel" one sees here compared to LR, Pine Bluff or even Fort Smith...go to Joplin and Springfield and they seem to feel even more midwestern despite being only 2-3 counties to the north.)

Wonder how the state's recently announced budget surplus will be seen in light of all this?

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(Although it's strange about the "midwestern feel" one sees here compared to LR, Pine Bluff or even Fort Smith...go to Joplin and Springfield and they seem to feel even more midwestern despite being only 2-3 counties to the north.)

Wonder how the state's recently announced budget surplus will be seen in light of all this?

The midwestern feel seems to pop up rather suddenly. In Washington County it seems much more southern when you go east or south into the Ozarks. It mainly just seems to really be in the flat area on NWA north and west of the more hilly terrain.

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I'm actually amazed that the state of Arkansas with such a small population and being such a poor state that so much is actually being done in the state. I've lived in West Virginia for 4 years and I can honestly say Arkansas is far from the poorest state in the nation.

As far as NWA being 'milked' by the rest of the state I think state taxes, whether coming from the poorest portion of the state or the wealthiest doesn't matter. The state's wealth should be evenly distributed based on population. I don't think that half a million people in NWA should have to do without because 50,000 people in the Delta region are being left behind. If things are so bad in the Delta region then the Federal government shoud step in and spend some of Arkansas' Federal tax dollars on that portion of the state. State taxes should benefit everyone in the state according to what they put into the state and not on their individual needs. Welfare should be handled by the Federal government and if not then get rid of the Federal government and use the money they take from Americans to set up state welfare programs.

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"One of our biggest challenges [to road building and other infrastructure improvements] is getting Little Rock out of our way,

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I wouldn't go that far. Central Arkansas has recently recieved, and still is, *a lot* of road improvements-- I-30 widening from SWLR to Benton, I-440 new location 6-lane freeway (between I-40 to Hwy 67), Hwy 67 widening in NLR-Jacksonville, I-40 widening in NLR, and soon-to-be I-430/I-630 (plus possible widening of portions of I-630). That's quite a bit (I don't know the dollar figures).

But yes, I-540 from Alma to Fayetteville was very expensive for AHTD.

I have a question. You sometimes hear rumors that a tunnel really wasn't needed and that they did it more to just to be able to have one. Would you say any of that is true at all?

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I have a question. You sometimes hear rumors that a tunnel really wasn't needed and that they did it more to just to be able to have one. Would you say any of that is true at all?

I know the answer to that one. Simply blasting through the mountain would've eliminated the road that separated two parts of the same farm which is why the tunnel was supposedly built. It cost $37 million to build that tunnel, more than Springdale's minor league park will cost to build. Some poor farmer in NWA got the most expensive farm subsidy ever. There was no actual need for the tunnel.

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There, the difference is (IMO) the state government has to live in ATL for a time being as the capital is there, so they have to deal with infrastructure problems the same as the residents. Here, we're isolated, and seen as isolated for many reasons stated above. (Although it's strange about the "midwestern feel" one sees here compared to LR, Pine Bluff or even Fort Smith...go to Joplin and Springfield and they seem to feel even more midwestern despite being only 2-3 counties to the north.)

Bingo. I think you are right on the money there. LR is more visable (i.e., legislators, senators, highway commissioners, VIP's, etc.) to the people who ultimately make many of the infrastructure decisions in Arkansas. NWA is not. I've noticed myself that there seems to be more of a "disbelief" (for lack of a better word) of some of the traffic problems in NWA if they haven't experienced personally like they do in LR. I think that's part of human nature-- a little bit of 'out of sight, out of mind'. However, I'm confident that this mind-set (at least as percieved by me, and apparently others) will eventually phase out as NWA continues to grow.

For one who has lived in both NWA and LR, I think that, in all seriousness, I really prefer LR rush hour traffic than NWA traffic now (with the exception of downtown LR in the afternoon). I think I came to that conclusion several months ago while stuck in traffic somewhere in NWA. I don't know every corner of LR, granted, but I think I would prefer to move slowly on larger, more adequately designed roads in LR instead of sitting in stopped traffic at some of the many bottlenecks due to lack of intersection capacity (which is the predominant source of congestion in NWA).

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Bingo. I think you are right on the money there. LR is more visable (i.e., legislators, senators, highway commissioners, VIP's, etc.) to the people who ultimately make many of the infrastructure decisions in Arkansas. NWA is not. I've noticed myself that there seems to be more of a "disbelief" (for lack of a better word) of some of the traffic problems in NWA if they haven't experienced personally like they do in LR. I think that's part of human nature-- a little bit of 'out of sight, out of mind'. However, I'm confident that this mind-set (at least as percieved by me, and apparently others) will eventually phase out as NWA continues to grow.

For one who has lived in both NWA and LR, I think that, in all seriousness, I really prefer LR rush hour traffic than NWA traffic now (with the exception of downtown LR in the afternoon). I think I came to that conclusion several months ago while stuck in traffic somewhere in NWA. I don't know every corner of LR, granted, but I think I would prefer to move slowly on larger, more adequately designed roads in LR instead of sitting in stopped traffic at some of the many bottlenecks due to lack of intersection capacity (which is the predominant source of congestion in NWA).

It seems like part of the problem is that in NWA you have more issues with streets needing widening and better interersections which is largely locally funded while in Little Rock the major problems are major freeway congestion and older interchanges which are more likely to receive federal and state funding. Is that accurate?

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I know the answer to that one. Simply blasting through the mountain would've eliminated the road that separated two parts of the same farm which is why the tunnel was supposedly built. It cost $37 million to build that tunnel, more than Springdale's minor league park will cost to build. Some poor farmer in NWA got the most expensive farm subsidy ever. There was no actual need for the tunnel.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper to simply buy the farm?

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I have a question. You sometimes hear rumors that a tunnel really wasn't needed and that they did it more to just to be able to have one. Would you say any of that is true at all?

I heard the same rumors too (though I was still in college at the time), so I don't know any thing about that (though next time I'm talking to someone who would know, if I remember I'll ask... I've always wondered that as well).

One thing that I'd like to comment on about Mr. Collins' speach as shown in quotes in today's article-- I can't objectively state one way or another that NWA is in fact being 'milked', as I'm not an expert in that field (ha!), but it seems to me, in my work at least, that that attitude is pretty dominant. That is, NWA is not getting its fair share, particularly when it comes to infrastructure improvements.

I hope that, for NWA's sake, that comments like the one he made about Little Rock should probably best be left unsaid, or at least toned-down, as that won't get on anyone's good side in LR. But, as NWA does get more political clout in the future, it will become harder to ignore comments like these (as I'm sure they'll become more common).

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I heard the same rumors too (though I was still in college at the time), so I don't know any thing about that (though next time I'm talking to someone who would know, if I remember I'll ask... I've always wondered that as well).

One thing that I'd like to comment on about Mr. Collins' speach as shown in quotes in today's article-- I can't objectively state one way or another that NWA is in fact being 'milked', as I'm not an expert in that field (ha!), but it seems to me, in my work at least, that that attitude is pretty dominant. That is, NWA is not getting its fair share, particularly when it comes to infrastructure improvements.

I hope that, for NWA's sake, that comments like the one he made about Little Rock should probably best be left unsaid, or at least toned-down, as that won't get on anyone's good side in LR I'm sure. But, as NWA does get more political clout in the future, it will become harder to ignore comments like these (as I'm sure they'll become more common).

Yeah I do agree with you there. NWA does need to work on getting more clout. But having a lot of people up here saying negative things like he is isn't going to get other areas of the state to want to work with us any better. I think NWA already has an image problem with other areas of the state, they don't need to do anything to make things worse. I haven't heard this mentioned recently but a while back I heard mention that NWA and the Little Rock area should try to work together more. Both have enough population to wield considerable clout and perhaps steer things in a more urban fashion which would benefit both areas the most.

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It seems like part of the problem is that in NWA you have more issues with streets needing widening and better interersections which is largely locally funded while in Little Rock the major problems are major freeway congestion and older interchanges which are more likely to receive federal and state funding. Is that accurate?

I'll agree in part to that. But many of the major bottlenecks due to intersection 'inadequacies' I think are on state or US highways. To name a few: 71B/Joyce, 62/I-540, Wedington/I-540, 412/I-540, 71B/264, 71/Bella Vista (I forget the exact names of the roads there), 71B/102, 102/62/71/I-540, and many others in Rogers and Bentonville on the highway system. Of course, the cities themselves can pay for improvements on the highway system (the state or feds won't argue!). In many instances, NWA cities are (or are sharing the cost substantially with the state/feds); to my knowledge, this is a little unusual (but is becoming more of a trend in the US), at least in Arkansas. But if NWA wants to get some stuff done, well, they may have to do it themselves (except for the big-ticket items, like the Springdale bypass).

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Yeah I do agree with you there. NWA does need to work on getting more clout. But having a lot of people up here saying negative things like he is isn't going to get other areas of the state to want to work with us any better. I think NWA already has an image problem with other areas of the state, they don't need to do anything to make things worse. I haven't heard this mentioned recently but a while back I heard mention that NWA and the Little Rock area should try to work together more. Both have enough population to wield considerable clout and perhaps steer things in a more urban fashion which would benefit both areas the most.

The powers that be in central Arkansas are going to have trouble facing the fact that NW Arkansas will be the new power/money/population capital of the state soon.

In 10 years, NWA will have the same or larger population than the LR Metro, but LR has I-30, 430, and 630, with 430 and 630 looping around the area. NWA will not have that kind of infrastructure by then, unless the 412 bypass and Bella Vista bypass are finished, which I doubt will happen. Hopefully the old people who want this state to stay small and rural will die off soon so we can approve a lottery or toll roads. The lack of infrastructure is going to be what eventually is the downfall of NWA's growth.

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I'm not so sure that NWA could pass up central Arkansas in population anytime that soon. Because of the lack of infrastructure, I think that will grind down NWA's growth. That and I also think central Arkansas will continue to grow at a good pace and it's much better equipped for it. Either way I think it's inevitable that growth will slow down here. It just doesn't seem feasible that this area can continue to grow at this pace. The problems are only going to get exponentially worse. Although you hate to see things slow down it's really probably for the best to try to give the area some time to catch up.

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I'm not so sure that NWA could pass up central Arkansas in population anytime that soon. Because of the lack of infrastructure, I think that will grind down NWA's growth. That and I also think central Arkansas will continue to grow at a good pace and it's much better equipped for it. Either way I think it's inevitable that growth will slow down here. It just doesn't seem feasible that this area can continue to grow at this pace. The problems are only going to get exponentially worse. Although you hate to see things slow down it's really probably for the best to try to give the area some time to catch up.

Mith, when Wally World, Tyson, JBH and the U of A (along with Bella Vista) split the NWA scene I'm going to agree with you on this one.

In the meantime, I talk not infrequently with people from Atlanta who seem to hope the growth will stop, too...but it never does. I'm not saying NWA is Atlanta or ever will be, but I'm just not ready yet to discount continuous growth here for awhile.

Plus (and I don't say this lightly as my daughter was born in Little Rock) Arkansas' capital, a fascinating city, is also developing a very bad reputation in the eyes of many, of many ethnic groups. Meanwhile, NWA's got a reputatino as a growing city with problems like, well, a 10 year old girl getting caught between her cat and her dog and making the lead story on the NBC affiliate, as what happened with a Lowell girl a few days back. (Not saying that wasn't a serious situation, but when you contrast that with cities where every day there's a story about a murder...word gets around.)

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It just seems to me that the infrastructure is just going to get so far behind that it's going to drag growth down at some point no matter how well other aspects are in NWA.

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It just seems to me that the infrastructure is just going to get so far behind that it's going to drag growth down at some point no matter how well other aspects are in NWA.

If anyone has heard the news down in Little Rock lately the crime scene is getting really bad again. That is something that could stop their growth pretty quick. Little Rock in the early 90's was like a third world country in parts. Let's hope it doesn't get that bad again

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If anyone has heard the news down in Little Rock lately the crime scene is getting really bad again. That is something that could stop their growth pretty quick. Little Rock in the early 90's was like a third world country in parts. Let's hope it doesn't get that bad again

It will probably just mean people will move further out into the suburbs instead of living too closely to the city proper.

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Maybe, we should just become our own state? We can take Washington, Benton, Carroll, and Madison counties and become the great state of NWA. We can make Fayetteville the capitol so that we are not losing money to cover the "poorer" areas of the state. :P

On a side note. I would most certainly call our corner of the state more Mid Western that the rest. I would be proud be considered from the midwest. I don't really care for the south it is hot!

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