LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson, shortly after Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval Monday to plan to raise nearly $50 million for the state's highways in the coming fiscal year, signed the measure into law.
The Senate on Monday approved by a 21-10 vote Hutchinson's proposal to tap into the state's surplus, investment returns and other funds to pay for the state's road needs.
Arkansas' Republican governor, speaking to reporters before the bill signing, called the use of surplus money an unprecedented act for the state.
"It's a unique solution for a unique challenge that we had in this state," Hutchinson said. "The Legislature, the task force [on highway funding], everyone met that challenge and came out with a result that did not raise taxes."
Lawmakers approved the plan shortly before adjourning a special session that began last week on the proposal.
Hutchinson has said the additional money is needed so the state can receive an additional $200 million in annual federal matching funds.
The proposal had faced criticism from Democrats and some Republicans who have said the approach doesn't address the state's long-term highway needs.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson addresses reporters during a media availability Monday, May 23, 2016, after Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval of his highway funding plan.