It was encouraging to read a report from Michael Wickline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning that some legislators — Republicans even — were talking sense on highway finance. A tax increase is necessary.
To help the unimaginative highway engineers at AHTD — who can blame them? Highways, not liveable cities, are their business — architect Tom Fennell has created "Convertible Plan B," a plan that leaves I-30 in place but brings it to grade level at Second Street and creates bridges to cross the interstate at Third and Fifth streets to connect east to west. Existing bridges at Sixth and Ninth could be decked for a park. The entire scenario is on the jump.
Tom Fennell, the architect who proposed that the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the city of Little Rock consider working toward converting Interstate 30 downtown to a boulevard, is working on a design to help the road agency better envision the plan, which it shot down last week in its efforts to show that only a 10-lane I-30 will answer Little Rock's traffic needs.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's Connecting Arkansas Program manager Jerry Holder, who is director of Garver Engineers, reviewed the work done so far on the highway department's $500 million plan to widen Interstate 30 to 10 lanes for Metroplan's Regional Planning Advisory Council today, and this is what the council heard from Metroplan: Their analysis shows that to prevent bottlenecks caused by the flow of cars through the expanded I-30 on other portions of interstates in Central Arkansas, those freeways will have to be widened to eight lanes, at a cost of $4 billion.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's plan to widen Interstate 30 from I-530 to U.S. Hwy. 67 would sever River Rail service to Heifer International, the Clinton library and all points east, Jarod Varner, executive director of Rock Region METRO (formerly Central Arkansas Transit) said today.
Can Uber and Lyft find a way to provide ride-sharing in New York and San Francisco, but not backwaters like Little Rock. If City Director Joan Adcock has anything to do with it, the answer for Little Rock is no.
The long-expected news that Southwest Airlines would trim flights at Little Rock's Clinton National Airport with expiration of the law limiting its flights in and out of Dallas suggests that the Airport's 2020 Vision Plan, including a second phase with a new 16-gate concourse on top of the just completed $67 million expansion, might be a bit optimistic.
Legislators called Arkansas Highway Director Scott Bennett before the Joint Transportation Committee today to demand an explanation for what they perceived as a poor response to winter weather that left thousands stranded on east Arkansas interstates last week.
The Arkansas Highway Transportation Department is getting, or will get, a shellacking for snarls on roadways in the recent ice storms. The governor wants answers and a joint legislative committee also has been asked to investigate.
The FAA says it will loosen rules on use of electronic devices on airplanes (not cell phones) and expects most airlines will eventually allow their use during flight, gate to gate and not just at altitudes above 10,000 feet.
A review subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee this morning failed to "review," or approve, the $34.5 million contract with CJRW to take over the Arkansas Lottery's marketing, which had been held by Mangan Holcomb. But that isn't the end of it.
The Progressive Women of Arkansas call for participation in Saturday's post-inaugural march and for support of progressive women candidates Arkansas. For my part, I'm contributing a knit hat to the day's events.