I'll believe it when I see it.
Same here. BUT, I can envision a more likely scenario.
First, it looks like the Fort Smith official did the simple math: $50 billion/50 states=$1 billion. $1 billion/ equally among road, rail & airports is roughly $330 million figure he touted in his letter.
Here's the scenario:
1. RITA (Fort Smith/ NWA "mega-region") and AHTD both appear to have Bella Vista Bypass as a much higher priority. Also, Feds demonstrated firm interest in BVB with a $10 million TIGER grant. IIRC, it was recently estimated that it would take $250 million to build BVB as a full, four-lane interstate. Arkansas has already committed $50 million to the project, leaving a $200 million shortfall. If $200 million committed to BVB, then $130 million is left for other Arkansas road projects.
2. Missouri had been waiting on Arkansas for BVB, but decided to finish I-49 from I-435 to I-44 first by reallocating $65 million of $72 million that had been set aside for Missouri portion of BVB. So, Missouri could allocate $65 million of its $330 million "piece of pie" to BVB.
3. Arkansas is "shovel-ready" and can immediately put people to work since first letting for BVB Super-2 is scheduled for February, 2011. Missouri presumably could ramp up pretty quickly since they had been waiting on Arkansas.
4. Multi-state cooperative project is appealing to Feds; they have already divvied up TIGER grants between Missouri & Arkansas for BVB.
5. No design work has been done on the Arkansas River Bridge:
Dan Flowers, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department director, said the $100 million estimate is based on the cost of similar four-lane bridges recently built elsewhere. It includes only the bridge itself.
No design work has been done, so no exact estimate is possible right now.
Maybe some of $130 million could be allocated for design work on the bridge.
6. To sum it up, re Arkansas River bridge, the best hope scenario is to get design work going and simultaneously have an accelerated construction schedule for a full four-lane BVB that will allow the Arkansas River bridge to "bubble up" both RITA's and AHTD's respective priority chains.
7. If REALLY lucky, also get some $$$ for preliminary work on Alma I-40 interchange.
From a Sept. 8, 2010 City Wire article:
the $787 billion stimulus contained $28 billion, or just 3.55%, for infrastructure projects nationwide.
I won't comment as a member of either political party, but as a simple member of Roadgeek Nation [sorry, it's those football cross-currents again]: WHAT A MISSED OPPORTUNITY!
Sadly, I just don't think the $50 billion is now there for above-outlined scenario.