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Arkansas officials focused on bringing new tech to state

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a new program to ensure Arkansas isn't left behind when it comes to new technology in the transportation industry.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a new program to ensure that the state isn't left behind when it comes to new technology.

"Today's announcement will lay the foundation for Arkansas' leadership in the transportation industry for decades to come," Gov. Hutchinson said. "This is about the future, it's about economic opportunity."

The new Arkansas Council on Future Mobility is helping with that too. Made up of tech executives and Arkansas leaders, the goals of the new group are simple.

First, the council will find laws that may prohibit the growth here in Arkansas. They'll also be recommending policies and programs to help development.

Secondly, they'll be looking to secure federal funds to help the industry grow.

"So we have all the pieces now, this is the driver that's going to make this and allow this to happen," Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. 

Those companies are already operating here in Arkansas – even the ones that operate without the need for a driver.

Representatives from those companies and others were on hand to give Arkansas a glimpse of the future at the Governor's Mansion on Tuesday.

"This has been kind of a hidden gem area. Most people would think you'd go to Detroit, but you would kind of get the past," said Tony Aquila, CEO of Canoo, an electric vehicle company. 

According to Aquila, the company is already expanding to a second location in Bentonville. 

He said what Arkansas has is good but it's time to build on that, which is why they're building here.

"Those companies are attracting this generation, so I think it's just these are good times," Aquila said.

That's the goal that Gov. Hutchinson is pushing for, looking forward to the future and ensuring that Arkansas won't be left behind.

"They will look at Arkansas as a place that is receptive to it," Gov. Hutchinson said. "We need these different types of options and transportation, and that we can increase our workforce in that area."

The council is expected to have a report to the governor over those outlined rules by no later than Nov. 30th.

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