LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas will soon see more money invested in its roads, tunnels and bridges than at any time since the 1950s.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced Tuesday that $771.3 million had been released to Arkansas for critical infrastructure in fiscal year 2023.
The money is distributed among 12 formula programs for roads, bridges, tunnels, carbon emission reduction and safety improvements. Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said formula programs give states flexibility in allocation.
According to the Department of Transportation, Arkansas has 663 bridges and over 6,711 miles of highway in poor condition. The administration reports that since 2011 commute times have increased by 3% in Arkansas and each driver pays an average of $671 per year in costs due to driving on roads that need repair.
One of the programs funded allows $60.1 million for bridges. Arkansas was forced to spend approximately $10 million in emergency repairs for the Interstate 40 Herman DeSoto bridge connecting West Memphis and Memphis in 2021 after a crack was discovered.
The funds are from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed into law in November 2021. The law increased highway infrastructure funding by $15.4 billion across 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The funding is the largest for highways since the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 60s was initially funded at $25 billion in 1956. Corrected for inflation, that amount would be $272 billion today.