Lack of federal highway funding solution puts 131 Arkansas projects in jeopardy

Detour Road Closed construction

More than 100 Arkansas road and bridge construction projects could be in jeopardy if Congress doesn’t extend federal transportation funding.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported 131 federally funded projects totaling $1.5 billion would be halted indefinitely if lawmakers don’t pass an extension to the Highway Trust Fund or new infrastructure funding.

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department director Scott Bennett had previously estimated the total at $1.1 billion. At that time in February, the ASHTD had only cut $60 million in projects in 2015. But as of Tuesday, the department announced the number of projects withdrawn has more than quadrupled to 70 projects worth $282 million.

Nine projects alone worth $120 million total were withdrawn just last week.

“We knew this would happen if Congress did not take appropriate action in time,” Bennett said. “Although we have been preparing for reductions or delays in Federal-aid reimbursements, we now have to consider the impacts of a complete FHWA shut-down.”

Bennett’s department made the announcement after receiving a letter from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. In the letter, Foxx said reimbursements for all projects would be halted completely should Congress fail to act on transportation funding. He added that unlike cash shortfalls in the past, projects would not just be delayed.