Trains For America

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Arkansas’ Highway to Nowhere

Move over Alaska, the Natural State of Arkansas has its’ own highway to nowhere. What does it cost? Only $600 million. This would fund the entire Amtrak system for six months. The Pine Bluff Commercial files this report on what should be a taxpayer outrage. Please note carefully the word  “future.”

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has continued to progress in the construction of a 38.5-mile road designed to connect Interstate 530 in Pine Bluff to U.S. 278 in Wilmar though much of the work is hidden from view. The connector is intended to provide easy access to future Interstate 69.

The Interstate 69 corridor from Indianapolis to Mexico is the pork barrel pipe dream of highway and trucking special interests in 20 states and it is a dollar sucking waste. It is a total boondoggle. Of course, highway backers are not accustomed to hard questions about their taxpayer funded play pretties.

Five years ago the connector was expected to cost $300 million, but that amount has since grown to $620 million due to a dramatic increase in construction costs over the past several years including the cost of oil-based asphalt, [Highway Department spokesman Glenn] Bolick said.

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Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

One Response

  1. Joshua Skolnick says:

    Closer to my home, just south of the state line in Illinois is the Prairie Parkway (a.k.a. the Porkway). While Illinois is dithering about funding for the RTA (Chicago region public transit including CTA rapid rail/bus, Metra commuter rail, and Pace suburban bus service), and Metra has run out of rolling stock (at full capacity now) and are undertaking emergency buy backs of old commuter coaches), this obscene project continues on. The road is basically a highway to nowhere, connecting rural edge areas of I-55 to I-88, and the first phase before any shovels are turned is expected to be over $200 million for land condemnation and due diligence studies, which was approved by the Feds. The ultimate cost of this interstate level construction is supposed to be over $1 billion for less than 40 miles of highway. Now the Porkway was located in former House speaker Dennis Hastert’s district, and he owns land near the preferred alignment, and was able to get huge capital gains due to the location of the highway.

    Typical roadway pork and corruption. Colossal waste in the age of peak oil.

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