Dear Mahatma: What's the hold-up finishing Kanis Road between Embassy Drive and Bowman Road? For months the south lanes have remained undone. Thanks. -- Mary
Dear Mary: No thanks to us. Thanks to Jon Honeywell, Little Rock's director of Public Works, for whom the completion of this project must be devoutly desired. We asked him your question, and he answered in an expeditious and efficacious manner.
Honeywell tells us two factors have delayed the opening of this part of Kanis Road.
First, the traffic signal equipment for the intersection of Embassy Suites Drive and Kanis had a very long delivery time. That naturally delayed its installation and operation. It's now in place and ready to go.
Second, the final paving of the section of Kanis from Embassy Suites Drive to Bowman was delayed by utility conflicts, Honeywell says. Those conflicts are resolved and paving should happen shortly. Once paved, good to go.
Old Road Man: The 30 Crossing project will be built -- whether the citizenry wants it or not. The wealthy and the Republicans (but I repeat myself) want it and the money holders get what the money holders wish to get. -- Karl
Dear Karl: 30 Crossing will remake about 7 miles of Interstate 30 through downtown Little Rock, and onto a piece of Interstate 40 in North Little Rock.
You also refer obliquely to Issue 1, which voters approved on Election Day. The issue establishes a permanent half-cent sales tax, the proceeds from which go to highway construction. The bulk goes to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department; fine chunks go to cities and counties.
Let's look at the election returns.
According to figures published last week in this newspaper, Issue 1 had 664,647 votes for and 522,335 against. We calculate that as 56% for and 44% against. All through our long and glorious newspaper career, a landslide has been defined as 55% or more. Looks like Issue 1, the forever and ever half-cent sales tax, was a landslide win by people who care enough about roads to pay for them. Even through the nose.
Figures from the federal government show the nationwide average of miles driven per year to be about 13,500. In Arkansas, that figure is right at 15,000. Arkansas is a rural state, and folks drive longer distances to work and for other needs. It should be no wonder Arkansans voted for better roads.
Pulaski County -- scene of 30 Crossing -- voted no on Issue 1, 78,583 for and 82,043 against. Our reading of the returns shows Pulaski was one of two counties that disfavored Issue 1. The other was Cleburne, 5,915 for and 6,545 against.
Issue 1 and 30 Crossing were not directly connected. Had the issue failed, no doubt the project would go on. We also believe that they were connected in the minds of many voters.
Either way, the people spoke. And loudly.