FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Local Axios reporters hosted a discussion today about the future of Northwest Arkansas’ economy.

Republican Rep. Steve Womack, Runway Group co-founder Steuart Walton and University of Arkansas economist Mervin Jebaraj all chimed in.

Growth was a central topic, and Womack says the pandemic did not change that.

He says new infrastructure may be in the works down the line.

“I-49 may not be acceptable as our major north-south artery,” Womack said. “We may have to go out on the west side of Benton County and Wash County and come up with a sort of a western beltway over there.”

Guests also talked about how workplaces returning to normal will also impact the local economy.