I heard a rumor this afternoon that $10 million had been squirreled away in the legislature's pork barrel legislation to build a highway interchange for the new Hewlett-Packard operation in a Conway industrial park. HP may employ as many as 1,200 there. It has already received some $43 million in state incentives.
I asked Speaker Robbie Wills of Conway about the buzz. Here's what he said:
The GIF bill has a $10 million line item for the highway dept. We did $80m in 2007. The Ledge can't make them spend it on anything in particular. Conway's been trying for years for a southern interchange because we need it, not just because HP is going in south of town. Congressman Snyder has requested an earmark for it. I hope we get it but $10 million won't even do half.