Arkansas State Highway Department Misallocation of FundsWebinar Transcript
WHY DOESN’T THEMONEY FOLLOW THE CARS?
Presentation created by Arkansas State Senator JeremyHutchinson, R – Dist. 22. Narration by Ralph Hudson, viceexecutive director of Conservative Arkansas, an independentPAC.
Today, the citizens of Arkansas pay a 21.7¢ per gallon state gasoline tax and a state diesel tax of 22.7¢ per gallon (in addition to over 20¢ per gallon federal fuel tax). In addition, drivers pay a vehicle registration fee and other miscellaneous user fees. These taxes and fees are paid because a safe and efficient transportation system is essential to a citizen’s quality of life. In Arkansas, 67.9% of the funds collected from these user taxes and fees are administered by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department through policies set by its controlling body, the Arkansas Highway Commission. The remaining 32.1% is divided between city and county governments and the Central Services Fund (responsible for the collection of said fees). See pg. 26 of the 2006 Arkansas State Highway Needs Study and Highway Improvement Plan
How Did the 10 Highway Districts Come to Be? Act 328 of 1935 created 10 maintenance districts. Each district was assigned an engineer. The District lines were not set for purposes of representation on the Commission. Act 328 of 1935 specifically stated that the seven commissioners would be appointed from each of the seven congressional districts existing at the time (the commissioners would represent a relatively equal number of citizens). The lines were simply drawn for purposes of administrative efficiency (to ensure that no engineer had too far to drive).
Mack Blackwell Amendment 42 Five commissioners Appointed by Governor Ten year term Represent congressional districts No two from same district Commissioners select director
“The lower number of commissioners resulted because they were no longer chosen from the highway districts and from at large but rather from the state’s congressional districts. This was to ensure that the entire state was represented on the commission.” The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture Robert W. Scoggin Arkansas State Transportation Department
Is This Constitutional?In 1982, the Arkansas Supreme Court reviewed the Mack/Blackwell Amendmentwhich is the constitutional provision that created our current system. In White v.Hankins, 276 Ark. 562 (1982), the Arkansas Supreme Court said,“The Highway Commission established by Amendment 42 is, in a large measure,patterned after the Game and Fish Commission which was established byAmendment 35. Both use Congressional Districts as a criterion in the selection ofCommissioners. Congressional Districts are known to change with populationfluctuation, and their use insures a periodically updated rough balance of populationand geographical considerations.”The Court went on to say that the Mack/Blackwell Amendment “[H]ad a two-foldobjective recognized as historical fact: to remove the Highway Commission frompolitics, so far as possible, and to preserve regional representation within the fivemember commission.” Id. 571-572, 609. It was the intent of the “framers to insureequal representation of the Highway Commission from all parts of the state with anodd number (to avoid tie votes) constituting that membership”. Id. at 566, 602[Emphasis Added].
White V. Hankins 1982 Five commissioners so two may come from same congressional district No frozen districts Must change as population changes Patterned after Game and Fish Commission
Pattern of G&F and AHTD Commissioners chosen from Congressional districts Ten maintenance Districts Both have fewer commissioners than maintenance districts But …
Are the lines still administrative or are they lines for purposes of representation?Currently, the maintenancedistrict lines are lines forpurposes of determiningrepresentation.According to the HighwayCommission’s own map,each commissionerrepresents two (2)maintenance districts.
Comparison of 1935 District Lines to Current Lines Despite the fact that the lines were drawn in 1935 solely for purpose of administrative efficiency and had nothing to do with representation on the commission, the current lines that do determine your representation on the commission are remarkably the same?
Are you receiving equalrepresentation on the Highway Commission? No! If there was equal representation, District 6 would have nearly 5x the number of representatives on the Commission as District 3. Instead the two districts have equal representation?
What does this mean to us in terms of highway dollars? Each year the Highway Commission has certain discretionary funds that it may spend at its discretion. Between 2000 and 2010, the Highway Commission spent 5 Billion dollars in discretionary spending. Not surprisingly, those districts that were under-represented were also under- funded.
Break down of Discretionary Funds allocated to each district per person (2000-2010)1. District 3 $3,374 per person2. District 1 $2,575 per person3. District 7 $3,190 per person4. District 5 $2,266 per person5. District 2 $2,429 per person6. District 10 $2,474 per person7. District 8 $1,681 per person8. District 9 $1,456 per person9. District 6 $954 per person10. District 4 $882 per person
THERE IS A CLEAR INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LACK OFREPRESENTATION AND THE DOLLARS RECEIVED PER PERSON
In fact, 8 of the 10 most congested urban roads are locatedin the districts with the lowest per person funding?
It might surprise you that 9 of the top 10 Ruralcongested roads are located in the districtswith the lowest per person funding.
- Congressional lines are adjusted to take into account population shifts. - Maintenance districts have remained generally stagnant. This is the result!Notice that Congressman Ross’ 4thCongressional District is represented byall five commissioners. While nearly allof the 3rd Congressional District is onlyrepresented by one commissioner.
The Current Funding System is especially egregious considering thecongestion is primarily found in the districts with less funding per person.
“…for each highway dollar expendedthe people will receive a full dollar’sworth of labor and materials.” - Arkansas Highway Department