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ICYMI: Womack Secured Priorities Lauded as Wins for Third District

Washington, DC—January 3, 2023….Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), secured funding for Third District of Arkansas priorities along with other critical defense and domestic programs included in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus package. Below is a roundup what stakeholders have said recently about these efforts and the impact they will have on our community.

Womack authored and secured resources for several Third District priorities:

 Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA): The Northwest Arkansas National Airport will receive $6.414 million for a new air traffic control tower (ATCT) to modernize the unit and improve safety and efficiency. Replacing the outdated and existing 24-year-old temporary tower is necessary to meet FAA requirements, enhance control visibility and technology, and ensure there is aviation capacity to meet future growth projections. Transportation infrastructure is vital to economic growth and a valuable resource for residents and businesses.

Chair of the Northwest Arkansas National Airport Board of Directors Jim Krall said, “We are thankful to Congressman Womack and John Boozman for their support of this critically important project. This new air traffic control tower will improve safety and visibility and allow us to meet important accessibility requirements. This investment will ensure that XNA is equipped to meet the aviation needs of our growing region.”

XNA Airport Access Road:  The Arkansas Department of Transportation will receive $7 million for the planning, design, and construction of the XNA Access Road. This new thoroughfare will provide for safe, reliable, and efficient movement of air transportation passengers and property between XNA and the Springdale Northern Bypass. The funding supports the already made state investment in the initiative. The completed road will encourage long-term economic development, improve traffic flow, and modernize infrastructure.

Arkansas State Highway Commissioner Philip Taldo said, “Congressman Womack continually provides strong and effective representation of Northwest Arkansas.  The Arkansas Department of Transportation is extremely grateful for his efforts in securing funding to construct a new location connection between the Northwest Arkansas National Airport and the Springdale Northern Bypass. The XNA Connector is an important and necessary addition to NWA’s transportation network that will result in decreased congestion, decreased misdirection, and increased reliability for motorists accessing this airport, which has become so important to the region’s travelers.” 

 Mulberry Industrial Park: The City of Mulberry will receive $4 million for transportation infrastructure improvements related to their industrial park area. The project will resurface roads to support increased semi-truck traffic and business activity within Mulberry’s largest concentrated commerce area. It will also help with the flow of traffic and congestion for citizens in the surrounding area.

Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said, “The City of Mulberry is very excited and appreciative of the support, dedication, and leadership that Congressman Steve Womack has shown in helping to secure funding for the Mulberry Industrial Park Drive and Marla Lane Road Resurfacing Project. It will strengthen Mulberry’s ability to handle increased traffic and larger semi-tractor trailer truck loads in our fast-growing industrial park. Additional capacity also brings more opportunity to not only the business and industrial owners, but also the citizens of Mulberry and the Arkansas River Valley. I am so very grateful for Congressman Womack’s efforts. The future is bright, and the effects of his efforts will be felt for years to come.” 

 Mill Branch Park: The City of Goshen will receive $880,000 to acquire land to expand the park and local recreational opportunities for Arkansans. The additional acreage will help implement conservation plans and also allow for a wildlife observation area, stargazing platform, hard surface paths for walking and biking, and basketball courts.

Goshen Mayor Max Poye said, “I want to express the heartfelt gratitude the citizens of Goshen and our surrounding counties feel for the tireless work Congressman Womack and his staff put in to secure the Mill Branch Park purchase. The area is a real jewel and asset to the people of NWA—and it will now be a treasure enjoyed for generations to come. Its natural beauty brings opportunities for people to get outside, exercise, and enjoy the fresh air—while also delivering positive conservation and economic impacts to our town.”

 Berryville Public Library: The Berryville Public Library will receive $1 million to help build a new public library. The planned space will serve residents from several rural communities in the region. More than just a place for books, the facility will provide spaces for learning, innovation, e-resources, and more. This funding is in addition to the local investment made in the project, which has exemplified the importance of the facility and real sweat equity from the town.

Joe Scott, President of the Berryville Library Advisory Board said, “We are extremely grateful to Congressman Womack for his support of the Berryville Library Building Project. The Berryville Library is an essential resource for our rural community. It engages all sectors of society and connects everyone with educational programs, employment assistance, and e-resources that are not available anywhere else nearby. Berryville is in desperate need of a new public library facility and began raising money for this project right before the pandemic started. Thanks to Congressman Womack the project will be able to proceed on schedule, despite the soaring costs of construction in our pandemic-afflicted economy.”

 NWACC Trucking Program: The Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) will receive $355,000 for a new CDL training and truck driving program. This investment will allow NWACC to support local and regional efforts in attracting and retaining qualified drivers across various industries requiring a commercial delivery license, as well as to enhance supply chain efforts across the state. The program offers safety-based classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training customized to a driver’s career goals. A few training paths include: 1) driver training to prepare for CDL test and obtain Class A, B or C license, and 2) refresher training and licensing for experienced CDL drivers.

NWACC Dean of Workforce and Economic Development Megan Bolinder said, “Facilitating the training Arkansans need to pursue high-demand careers is what NorthWest Arkansas Community College is about. Trucking is core to our local and national supply chains and economies, and the injection of these funds into our CDL training and truck driving program is a workforce differentiator. Thanks to Congressman Womack’s steadfast advocacy, our ability to amplify the number of qualified drivers and help close skills gaps has been bolstered. More truckers translates into a stronger supply chain.”

 Northwest Technical Institute: The Northwest Technical Institute (NWTI) will receive $2 million to expand its Allied Health Facility. Northwest Arkansas is experiencing higher demand for healthcare due to population growth. Once complete, the NWTI Allied Health Facility in Springdale is expected to graduate an additional 200 students into medical support professions. The expanded facility will allow for additional students and program offerings. It has the backing of the leadership of six major hospitals, numerous clinical networks, nursing staff, and more in the region.

Northwest Technical Institute President Jim Rollins said, “Northwest Technical Institute is extremely grateful for Congressman Womack’s leadership in securing an investment that directly supports our school, students, and Arkansas. The rapid growth of our region brings new demands—and the need for highly-skilled and ready-to-work healthcare workers can’t be overstated. The funding is more than just a facility expansion. Its impact means a 300% annual increase in the number of trained Allied Health graduates and a stronger pipeline of professionals ready to address workforce shortcomings in over eight medical specialties.”

 Arkansas Tech University: Arkansas Tech University will receive $730,000 to enhance its agricultural education program. This investment will provide modern equipment to update their teaching labs for education related to our state’s leading industry. Technological advancements in the agriculture industry necessitate a highly skilled agriculture workforce to meet the food, fiber, and natural resource demands of Arkansas citizens.

Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin Bowen said, “Arkansas Tech University has a long and proud history in agricultural education that dates back to the founding of our institution in 1909. With these federal funds secured by Congressman Womack, ATU will further enhance its academic facilities for the teaching of agriculture and our position as an economic development engine for the No. 1 industry in Arkansas. We express our appreciation to Congressman Womack for his partnership in this endeavor."

Yellville Wastewater Infrastructure: The City of Yellville will receive $2.16 million to modernize critical wastewater infrastructure. It will not only help address significant sewer overflow issues—which implemented a consent order from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality—but it will also ensure the system is operating safely and efficiently for the great people and businesses it serves. The upgrades will aid proper utility management, quality of life, and economic vitality.

Yellville Mayor Shawn Lane said, “The City of Yellville is grateful to Congressman Steve Womack for his invaluable leadership and friendship. Being a small city can be difficult, especially when it comes to resources. When we faced major complications with old and end-of-life sanitary sewer lines, the problems were dire. After being notified of the issue, Congressman Womack immediately offered his guidance. With his help, we were able to put together a plan that ensured the health, safety, and welfare of not only the citizens of Yellville, but also for all of Marion County and our neighbors downstream. This funding meets a community need that once seemed insurmountable.”

Drug Task Force: The Twelfth Judicial District Drug Task Force will receive $137,000 for needed resources and equipment to combat illegal narcotics and drug traffickers. The funds will allow the Task Force to purchase several narcotic analysis devices, including those that detect fentanyl, as well as life-saving emergency response medical equipment. The added tools will help reduce the number of illicit substances in our communities and advance law enforcement’s ability to disrupt and dismantle drug supply networks.

Twelfth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue said, “The Twelfth Judicial Drug Task Force works daily to fight the influx of illicit fentanyl and substances that have stolen lives and devastated families. This federal investment amplifies that mission. It will enable us to more aggressively prevent, respond to, and dismantle criminal networks peddling dangerous drugs. Congressman Steve Womack did more than just listen to our needs—he acted on behalf of the people of Sebastian and Crawford counties. Our streets will be safer thanks to the strong resources he helped secure to ensure our team has enhanced tools to investigate and prosecute narcotics dealers.”

Arkansas Economic Vitality Project: The Arkansas Venture Expansion Project will receive $1 million for the Arkansas Venture Expansion Project (AVEP), which is a program designed to stimulate economic vitality and boost resiliency within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Arkansas. This investment supports their work to promote entrepreneurship, attract new businesses, and encourage job creation. By providing resources to those who facilitate collaboration and identify growth opportunities, we are laying the foundation for long-term prosperity and development in our communities.

Startup Junkie Executive Director Caleb Talley said, "Congressman Steve Womack understands the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation and the impact it can have on regional economic development and in solving problems in our communities. This funding will have a compounding effect on our organization's ability to serve the district's existing and aspiring entrepreneurs while also expanding our efforts to bring innovative new startups to the region. We're incredibly grateful to Congressman Womack for the opportunity, by way of this funding, to help improve the lives of our friends and neighbors through entrepreneurship and innovation."

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.