Bad roads cost you money. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Arkansans hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs; more than $600 per household, per year. And fleet vehicles, including our state’s vital trucking industry, incur increased maintenance costs and costs associated with congestion, thus increasing the cost of goods delivered to the marketplace. The cost of living and the condition of our roads are directly related.
Good roads and bridges save lives. Unfortunately Arkansas consistently ranks among the highest in the nation for traffic fatalities, including on our rural roads. We have the opportunity to change this statistic. Well-maintained roads and bridges allow convenient and safe access to all our state has to offer. Plus, we all want our school buses and emergency vehicles to arrive at their destinations in a safe and timely manner.
Continued growth through economic development demands easy access to cities and towns in Arkansas, as well as overall ease of connectivity throughout our state’s 75 counties. And a better economy and enhanced economic development means the creation and retention of private-sector jobs. In fact, researchers at Duke University recently concluded that for every $1 billion invested in highway construction, approximately 22,000 private-sector jobs are created or sustained. In Arkansas, our experience is that among the 22,000 jobs, 13,200 jobs are in direct construction and 8,800 jobs are in business and industry supporting the construction. In addition, through increased economic activity resulting from highway construction and maintenance, Arkansas’s General Revenue and the programs it supports, benefit through the collection of increased sales and use taxes.