Officials consider $8.4B plan to fund Arkansas roads

(AP) _ Transportation officials in Arkansas are considering an $8.4 billion funding plan for highway and bridge maintenance.The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Arkansas Highway Commission met Wednesday to look at a potential new funding program for lawmakers or voters to consider next year.

Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett says the plan would be funded by adding a 6.5 percent excise tax on the wholesale price of fuel and extending a 0.5 percent state sales tax for another 10 years.

Bennett developed the proposal after Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he would ``vigorously'' oppose using state general revenue for highways, a key factor of previous proposals the commission was considering.

Highway officials are expected to refine Bennett's proposal before the commission's February meeting.

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