Better roads and more jobs is a combination that's hard to quarrel with, and we won't. The Arkansas Times supports the proposed $575 million bond program for interstate highway improvements. No additional taxes will be required. Gov. Beebe has called a special election on the bonds for Nov. 8. Early voting has begun.
Keeping the interstate system up to par is a never-ending job, especially considering the pounding the highways take from trucks heavier than the roads were designed for. If approved by voters, the new highway project will repeat some of the work done in 1999, the year of the last major overhaul of Arkansas interstates. Some of the improvements will be new.
The work will provide thousands of jobs, according to the state Highway Department. That means thousands more consumers will have money to spend, in an economy that badly needs stimulus.
We have one serious concern, but it can be met. When the 1999 highway project was underway statewide, workers were killed by reckless and impatient motorists. The work crews remained in danger until the Highway Department and the State Police adopted special measures to protect them. This time, we hope the authorities will be adamant from the beginning, and drivers more careful and more considerate of fellow Arkansans, working for a living.