LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - If you watched TV Wednesday evening, you may have seen a new ad for an Arkansas election issue.
The campaign, called Move Arkansas Forward, launched its TV ads. They're spreading the word about a November ballot question, asking Arkansas voters to approve a state sales tax increase. Backers say it would improve major state highways and offer help at the local level, too.
They're major highways we drive every day: Arkansas "arteries" to get around the state. And this election season, they're tied to "Issue Number One" on the ballot.
"Issue Number One will continue to build out our four-lane highway system designed to connect all parts of the state, all corners of the state," Craig Douglas said.
Craig Douglas is Campaign Coordinator for Move Arkansas Forward. The group's pushing a temporary half-cent sales tax increase that would fund a $1.3 billion bond issue for highway improvements. Douglas said the sales tax increase would not apply to groceries, medicines and gasoline and the new sales tax money would let the state pay back the bond over ten years.
If passed by voters, the improvements will include finishing the widening of Interstate 40 between Little Rock and Conway to six lanes, the widening of U.S. 67-167 from Jacksonville to Cabot to six lanes and expanding the Arkansas River bridge over I-30 in Little Rock.
"With the passage of Issue Number One, we can do more work sooner rather than later," Douglas said.
Douglas says this work could be done within three to five years. Voters we talked to had mixed feelings.
"I'm real concerned what it will do to business," Toney Franklin said.
Toney Franklin of Sherwood is worried about the construction impact on companies along the highways because he works for one. Toya Livingston of Beebe, however, is on board.
"I would support it for the simple fact that it will improve the roads," Livingston said.
Douglas says one other key part of this ballot measure is that cities and counties would also get money from this sales tax increase. He says more than $700 million would be spread out for local road improvements.
We also asked him about opposition out there and he says he hasn't come across anything organized.
Here's more information on all of the proposed highway improvement projects around the state. http://movearkansasforward.com/pdf/NewFactSheet.pdf