Although it is not necessary to accept this plan to be a part of Better Spending First, we do want to provide a general sample of what a better plan might look like.
Instead of fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, and other transportation related taxes being controlled by five persons who are unaccountable to the people who pay those taxes, Arkansas could restore the power to plan transportation needs to elected legislators. After all, isn't the legislature supposed to have the power of the purse strings? Aren't they supposed to be making the laws that the Executive Branch executes? Returning this power to the state legislature is returning it to the people.
We believe that the state legislature should have a committee for highways, with a subcommittee for each congressional district. Fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees from each district would normally be allocated by the subcommittee of that district, except for a portion which will go into a common account which will be distributed to each district based on state highway miles in that district. This will more fairly allocate resources so that transportation spending is aligned with transportation needs. It will also allow each region more control over how their road dollars are spent.
We believe this plan is much fairer than the current plan - which takes no account of changes in the distrubution of the state's population since the 1930s, and where each commissioner "represents" two districts, one they live in and another they do not. Those "orphan" districts may not get the same discretionary spending as the one where the commissioner lives. We believe that the history shows that under our current system, new construction follows commissioners rather than congestion.