LITTLE ROCK — Lt. Gov. Mark Darr announced his support Tuesday for a proposed constitutional amendment for a temporary one-half cent sales tax increase to finance a $1.8 billion bond issue to build a four-lane highway system connecting all corners of the state.
"No one hates taxes more than me; however, one of the primary functions of government is to build roads and infrastructure and this act does just that," Darr said in a statement released by his office.
"My two primary reasons for supporting Ballot Issue 1 are the 40,000 non-government jobs that will be created and or protected and the relief of heavy traffic congestion," Darr said. " Traffic congestion has become a serious issue in Central Arkansas as well as Northwest Arkansas."
Under the measure on the Nov. 6 general ballot, highway construction would focus primary on creating a statewide four-lane grid and adding capacity to existing four-lane highways. The sales tax would last 10 years.
"I believe this act will address those needs," Darr said. " Only 3 percent of the stimulus money received a few years ago went to improving our roads. With Ballot Issue 1, 100 percent of funds will go towards roads. I believe doing nothing is more costly to the state of Arkansas and its citizens than implementing this act."
Darr also praised U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., for recently announcing his support for the highway ballot issue. Gov. Mike Beebe also has endorsed the proposal.