by Max Brantley
With still more bonds on this year's ballot, it's a good time to look back at the highway bond issue that Mike Huckabee claimed as a shining achievement. Ernie Dumas, writing editorially in the Arkansas Leader, explains why state highway officials are so blase about the current shortages in federal highway money used to pay off the bonds. State general revenues are pledged to pay off the bonds if federal money falls short. Remember that?
Among others, the editorial argues that the interstate rebuilding project wasn't worth the cost of bonds because it wasn't big enough. At a steady clip, we'd have reconstructed the same amount of roads in just a few more years without interest and not had the continuing debt load. It also argues that the highway department would be a lot better off if Gov. Beebe hadn't short-circuited Sheffield Nelson's severance tax plan with a much-reduced rate.