FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – President Joe Biden says he plans on signing the bipartisan infrastructure bill Monday. Still, agencies in Northwest Arkansas are already planning on how they’ll use the funds.
In an exclusive interview with Congressman Steve Womack, he says even though he voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill he believes this will speed up local projects substantially.
“We just completed the part in the north with the Bella Vista Bypass; everyone knows how long that took because it didn’t have the funding,” says Rep. Womack.
All four of Arkansas’s representatives voted against the bill, including Rep. Womack.
Nonetheless, he says any additional infrastructure money will benefit the community.
“I’m a big believer in infrastructure and I believe infrastructure creates opportunities for a lot of people. For job creation for economic development,” says Rep. Womack.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation says additional funds probably won’t add that many new employment opportunities on its end. But, spokesperson Dave Parker agrees it will speed up jobs already on the table.
“It will allow us to take projects that are already underway and finish them quicker. A project that may have taken 10-12 year’s maybe we can reach that same point in 7, 8, or 9 years,” says Parker.
The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission agrees with ARDOT.
“We have many projects on the books; they’ve been on the books for many years, some decades that are still not complete. This will help advance those projects,” says assistant director for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, Tim Conklin.
In addition to roads and bridges, the bipartisan infrastructure bill aims to expand access to clean drinking water, improve access to high-speed internet, and tackle the climate crisis.