AHTD Pulls 10 Projects Over Highway Trust Fund Worries

- LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says ten projects will not be awarded to contractors next month.

AHTD director Scott Bennett says uncertainty over availability of money from the Federal Highway Trust Fund is prompting the move.

Among the ten projects, is work to build a new Roosevelt Road bridge near the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.

Ralph Shoptaw with the Arkansas Livestock Show Association, which operates the state fair, says the delay creates complications.

"We are ready for our entrance gate to be torn down," Shoptaw says. "We've already removed the ticket booth, phone lines, restrooms, everything from the front gate."

Randy Ort with AHTD says until the department receives assurances from Congress that the trust fund will have funding in 2015, it is possible other projects could be delayed as well.

Senator John Boozman, R-Arkansas, tells KARK he is committed to making sure there is money in the trust fund.

“Congress needs to revamp the funding mechanism to the Highway Trust Fund so the Arkansas Highway Department can support the infrastructure needs of our state and plan for future projects," Boozman says.

"The reality is that an empty trust fund won’t be good for our economy. I’m committed to working with everyone involved to find a reasonable answer,” Boozman said.

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