Arkansas' regional officials look to improve mobility planning

News AASHTO Journal October 03, 2006
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Local officials in Arkansas are asking state legislators to help fine-tune a Highway and Transportation Department initiative passed into law last year that allows neighboring cities and counties to work to solve regional transportation issues.

The Arkansas State Legislature passed the Regional Mobility Act No. 2275 in 2005. Last week, members of the Northwest Arkansas Council met to discuss ways to amend the law so it can be utilized to its full intent, the Arkansas Democrat Observer reported.

The Northwest Arkansas Council and other regional planning organizations in the state want to add enforcement provisions, bypass a requirement for ballot initiatives and allow the State Highway and Transportation Department to transfer projects to mobility authorities, Mike Malone, the council's director said. The State Highway and Transportation Department offered up the act as a way to include regional mobility agencies to shape transportation planning.

"It's a toolbox that counties can use," Malone told the newspaper. "Now, it needs some tools."

Randy Ort, a Highway Department spokesman, said the department expected some amendments to be suggested during the 2007 legislative session.

"It's a good tool, and we were aware that it might need some fine-tuning," Ort said.

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