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Author Topic: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk  (Read 13697 times)

M86

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Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« on: February 21, 2014, 03:00:58 AM »

http://www.4029tv.com/news/arkansas/northwest/road-to-nowhere-funding-for-bella-vista-bypass-at-risk-if-project-fails/24578684

I see this news story... and I wonder why there is construction in Fort Smith of I-49 from US 71 to Fort Street (according to Google Maps Imagery).  It's definitely a vital link for I-49... but shouldn't other priorities come first?

And...

I see this:  http://goo.gl/maps/6aD3g

And this:  http://goo.gl/maps/2g8ei

And this:  http://goo.gl/maps/LH5LF

AHTD, can you provide traffic counts for the above corridors?

This is US 71 through Bella Vista, http://goo.gl/maps/AfvWp

What is it about this simple bypass that is making everything so hard to get right?




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bjrush

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 11:08:52 AM »

Loan Missouri the money

1. We get the project done
2. They Won't have quite as much egg on their face
3. We get to have a Happy ribbon cutting at the state line, touting innovative funding and "cooperative, can do attitude" of AHTD and MoDOT
4. AHTD pulls in extra revenue from the interest we charge

Eta: it is imperative the public sees results from Issue 1 otherwise they will never approve something like this again, and it is something the state really needs. For NWAers, seeing results = a useful BVB
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 11:24:04 AM by bjrush »
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M86

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 02:30:59 AM »

Loan Missouri the money

1. We get the project done
2. They Won't have quite as much egg on their face
3. We get to have a Happy ribbon cutting at the state line, touting innovative funding and "cooperative, can do attitude" of AHTD and MoDOT
4. AHTD pulls in extra revenue from the interest we charge

Eta: it is imperative the public sees results from Issue 1 otherwise they will never approve something like this again, and it is something the state really needs. For NWAers, seeing results = a useful BVB

I agree, but you can't blame this on Missouri... And, for some reason, Arkansas points blame to Missouri.  MoDOT had funds set aside (for a long time), and AHTD couldn't go forth.  And Arkansas is only building a 2 lane road!  It's going to cost more money to come back and make it 4 lanes.  It's just ridiculous.

If you look at my links to Google Streetview... Interstate-standard highways were constructed in rural Arkansas recently, with much lower traffic counts.

To me, that means either bad planning, a good ol' boy network, or a bad MPO here in NWA.

I see communities like Monticello and Villonia having a simple bypass constructed.  The Villonia Bypass is 10 miles... It's not Interstate-standard, but it has 4 lanes divided by a median.

And I see things about a "North Belt" in Little Rock.  And future I-69...

And I see the I-540 study in NWA, back in 2006... And the study that the MPO here did about a Western Bypass.

If funding is such an issue, why hasn't this been put forth to the state legislature?  Change the funding formula!

And the public in NWA wants roadway lighting along I-540 and the interchanges.  Hands down it's a safety issue.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 04:25:48 AM by M86 »
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bjrush

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2014, 08:49:17 AM »

When we didnt they have the money they promised they would match our progress

We operated under that assumption. Then we took it to the people and passed a statewide initiative for funding

Now Missouri is telling us their word is no good. We went out and changed the game in terms of funding like you said. Now an agency in a state beyond our control is holding up the project. They promised to meet us at the state line. "Completed as promised" my eye
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 08:52:20 AM by bjrush »
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2014, 09:57:41 AM »

I have a better idea.....

Since I-49 and I-69 are important NATIONAL corridors, why not have the FEDERAL government adequately fund the necessary gap fillers such as the BVB at 90% (or even 95%) federal funding, and lessen the burden on either state (AR and MO) to complete the remaining segments?

And before you say "B-b-b-but, we can't afford it!!!"...I say nonsense. This country funded two world wars and the reindustrialzation of the 1940s and 1950s successfully without going bankrupt, and if we can fund the worlds largest military at the levels of the 1980s, then clearly we can fund our infrastructure the same way. Increase the gasoline tax a bit, prime the pump with some deficit spending (why not now, when our debt is the lowest it's been in years??), and even try limited and targeted tolling to get some projects finished.

Instead of waiting for either AR or MO to get off their duffs, maybe the Feds should get off theirs and finish the job themselves.
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brad2971

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 11:21:11 AM »

I have a better idea.....

Since I-49 and I-69 are important NATIONAL corridors, why not have the FEDERAL government adequately fund the necessary gap fillers such as the BVB at 90% (or even 95%) federal funding, and lessen the burden on either state (AR and MO) to complete the remaining segments?

And before you say "B-b-b-but, we can't afford it!!!"...I say nonsense. This country funded two world wars and the reindustrialzation of the 1940s and 1950s successfully without going bankrupt, and if we can fund the worlds largest military at the levels of the 1980s, then clearly we can fund our infrastructure the same way. Increase the gasoline tax a bit, prime the pump with some deficit spending (why not now, when our debt is the lowest it's been in years??), and even try limited and targeted tolling to get some projects finished.

Instead of waiting for either AR or MO to get off their duffs, maybe the Feds should get off theirs and finish the job themselves.

Putting aside the obvious issue of fully funding the Baby Boomer's Social Security and Medicare needs for the next 20-30 years, the notion that I-49 is an important NATIONAL corridor is debatable, at best. Especially since (at least in I-49's case) it's dependent upon WalMart's HQ staying in Bentonville AR, as opposed to moving it to, say, existing office space/infrastructure in Dallas-Fort Worth.

If the current divisive nastiness in DC, along with its accompanying declines in earmarked spending, is forcing Arkansas and Missouri to get a little more realistic in the cost-benefit ratio department when it comes to highway spending, it's all to the good.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 11:43:01 AM »

If you think Walmart would ever move to DFW or anywhere else, you really don't understand the world's #1 retailer
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brad2971

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 11:47:41 AM »

If you think Walmart would ever move to DFW or anywhere else, you really don't understand the world's #1 retailer

I agree that WalMart is definitely a breed apart when it comes to recruiting management talent (i.e. you want a job? Better like NWA). So based upon that, there might not be a reason to leave Bentonville.

However, I think we can all agree that NWA is...rather off the beaten path when it comes to logistics and the goods movement business. And it wouldn't take that much for DFW to lure WalMart HQ.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2014, 11:52:05 AM »

Guys, just remember - we can talk politics as it relates to road funding, but no going off on tangents about government spending that doesn't relate directly to highways. Thanks.

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2014, 01:08:32 PM »

Walmart was built on destroying the false theory of environmental determinism. It was established in the ozarks at a time when no one thought a major company could be based outside of NY or Chicago

The foundation for the company is based on this principle that changed business forever. Walmart can do anything it wants from anywhere it wants. Thats the greatness of Walmart and thats the point. They control world markets from Bentonville presently. Vendors will do anything to get on their shelves

DFW has been better suited for logistics during Walmart's entire existance, and they have never even considered it...why would they now? It's not like moving to DFW would benefit the company in any way
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US 41

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2014, 05:33:06 PM »

Guys, just remember - we can talk politics as it relates to road funding, but no going off on tangents about government spending that doesn't relate directly to highways. Thanks.

Sorry. I hope this comment isn't against the rules, but I think the government should cut spending in certain areas so it can spend more in areas that are necessary, like building or upgrading more roads and highways.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2014, 06:13:12 PM »

Sorry. I hope this comment isn't against the rules, but I think the government should cut spending in certain areas that I dislike so it can spend more in areas that I like.
Fixed for you.
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US 41

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2014, 06:15:33 PM »

Sorry. I hope this comment isn't against the rules, but I think the government should cut spending in certain areas that I dislike so it can spend more in areas that I like.
Fixed for you.

If I could talk politics on here I would tell you what I believe in.
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US 41

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2014, 06:26:40 PM »

I know what happens, because I have worked with government officials and employees. I know where money should be cut and where it shouldn't be cut. Often times government officials and employees think something is a waste of money, but are forced to do it anyways because the state or feds force them to. For example for every tree cut down the city (Terre Haute) has to plant 20 more. Most of these trees go in the wetlands along the Wabash. Some however are planted in the parks or in the boulevards. Also for every wetland removed the city has to create 3 more. Personally I believe the increased amount of wetlands in Indiana is to blame for more and more mosquito related illnesses in Indiana. The states also have to watch out for wetlands or else risk having to create / plant more. That is why sometimes there isn't enough money for a construction project like the Bella Vista bypass. Money also goes other places and then projects like these get put on hold.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 06:32:09 PM by US 41 »
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2014, 06:31:49 PM »

Yep, as I said. You want money to go for your pet projects.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2014, 06:34:42 PM »

That's not what I said. I want taxpaying citizens to see their tax money benefit them by going into public places / parks / roads they'll use, not to a wetland along the Wabash River. There is not a shortage of wetlands and trees. Engineers also design things now sso they will drain properly. If a wetland is needed for drainage then I'm fine with it. I'm not fine with a wetland being built for no reason / because it has to be built due to state / fed law due to another one being removed.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 06:39:39 PM by US 41 »
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2014, 07:32:12 PM »

http://www.4029tv.com/news/arkansas/northwest/road-to-nowhere-funding-for-bella-vista-bypass-at-risk-if-project-fails/24578684

I see this news story... and I wonder why there is construction in Fort Smith of I-49 from US 71 to Fort Street (according to Google Maps Imagery).  It's definitely a vital link for I-49... but shouldn't other priorities come first?

And...

I see this:  http://goo.gl/maps/6aD3g

And this:  http://goo.gl/maps/2g8ei

And this:  http://goo.gl/maps/LH5LF


Bad examples.  The first 2 were built long before I49 was to become a reality, therefore they weren't competing for the same pot of $$$. The last one is (or will soon be) I-555.  More importantly, all 3 were built to please constituencies that vote.  Finishing I49 around Belle Vista isn't something the rest of the state gives a rat's ass about.  Connecting NE Arkansas to the rest of the state was far more necessary than finishing I-49.  If the political will was there, the money would be as well.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2014, 08:15:09 PM »


I agree, but you can't blame this on Missouri... And, for some reason, Arkansas points blame to Missouri.  MoDOT had funds set aside (for a long time), and AHTD couldn't go forth.  And Arkansas is only building a 2 lane road!  It's going to cost more money to come back and make it 4 lanes.  It's just ridiculous.

My 2 pfennigs worth: it's easier to point fingers at each other than fix the problem.
--
As to why Barling to Fort Smith is so much further ahead: Fort Chaffee. Much of the highway in this area passes through land formerly part of Fort Chaffee, so AHTD was able to get it for relatively cheap through the federal government.
PLUS Fort Smith is pushing this hard, something I don't see around Bentonville & Gravette.
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AHTD

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2014, 12:25:50 AM »

With limited funding, we build bypasses around communities first where we can make the greatest impact. Next we link these bypasses with roadways and pretty soon you have a corridor.


This is how we will eventually proceed on the I-49 Corridor between Texarkana and Ft. Smith. We'll build bypasses around towns like Mena and Waldron and then link it all up with roadway. Current estimates for "the rest of the I-49 corridor" (excluding the Bella Vista bypass under construction and that which is programmed) is ballparked at $2.2 billion.


U.S. Highway 64 has been identified as a major east-west corridor in our Primary Highway Network and in the future we will add capacity and increase efficiency. The Vilonia bypass is an example of taking what little money we have and making the most impact. Locals benefit from less traffic in town.


We are about to open the Sheridan bypass as we continue to increase capacity for U.S. 167.


Please do not blame Missouri for anything related to the Bella Vista bypass. As noted below, BOTH states have been in a position with the money when the other has not. Eventually the money will come and the Bypass will be completed. Current estimates for completing the 2nd set of lanes (southbound lanes) is ballparked at about $50 million.


As for the link to the news story that started this thread, we spent an incredible amount of time with the station explaining the intricacies of the Bella Vista bypass project and they still got many of the facts wrong in their story. They made an honest effort to get it right and we will continue to work with them and other media outlets to achieve a higher degree of accuracy.


BOTTOM LINE: don't believe everything you see, hear and read in the media. Transportation planning, funding and construction is almost impossible to summarize in an article, a 30-second sound bite, and an audio clip. That's part of the reason we participate in this forum- so we can try to explain and increase understanding of how it happens in Arkansas.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2014, 05:16:23 PM »

[D]on't believe everything you see, hear and read in the media.

Words to live by, if EVER there were.
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M86

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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2014, 01:52:48 AM »

As for the link to the news story that started this thread, we spent an incredible amount of time with the station explaining the intricacies of the Bella Vista bypass project and they still got many of the facts wrong in their story. They made an honest effort to get it right and we will continue to work with them and other media outlets to achieve a higher degree of accuracy.


BOTTOM LINE: don't believe everything you see, hear and read in the media. Transportation planning, funding and construction is almost impossible to summarize in an article, a 30-second sound bite, and an audio clip. That's part of the reason we participate in this forum- so we can try to explain and increase understanding of how it happens in Arkansas.

AHTD, can you provide the correct facts for the Bella Vista Bypass (vs the news story), and the intricacies that you say are present, on this forum?

And I agree, the media can distort and manipulate facts.  I'll stand by 40/29 News though... The public wants answers, and the majority of the public are not on these forums.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2014, 11:18:19 PM »

With great pleasure! Give us a few days to put it all together.
 
Meantime, here's one that got it right: http://www.nwahomepage.com/fulltext-news/d/story/connecting-arkansas-program-kicking-off-in-bella-v/20299/4UMwP87aQUGxl524KJnQ4w
 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 11:47:36 AM by AHTD »
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2014, 02:47:26 AM »

The Bella Vista Bypass is something I'm very concerned about, among other things in NWA.

After looking at the local news stories... I'll stick by 40/29 (what I originally posted).  They've always been the local TV station that asks the serious questions, and get to the bottom of things.  And they had Scott Bennett on that segment.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2014, 03:03:25 PM »

The Bella Vista Bypass is something I'm very concerned about, among other things in NWA.

After looking at the local news stories... I'll stick by 40/29 (what I originally posted).  They've always been the local TV station that asks the serious questions, and get to the bottom of things.  And they had Scott Bennett on that segment.

M86, this is just an anecdotal story but...I'm amazed at the number (greater than I've seen before) of workers out along the future Bella Vista bypass right now.  As predicted, now that the new bridge between the community formerly known as "Hiwasse" and Gravette is open, they're plowing down the mound of dirt left over from where the old highway ran just north of the new structure, which means you can see construction on either side of the bridge now.  Fascinating to see.
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Re: Road to Nowhere: Funding for Bella Vista Bypass at risk
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2014, 03:38:04 PM »

The Bella Vista Bypass is something I'm very concerned about.

Me too. Very concerned
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