Congressman Womack said, “From Northwest Arkansas to the River Valley, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill delivers for the people of Arkansas’ Third District. The community project funding included in this bill will improve our roads, address aging water infrastructure needs, and grow our local economy. This bill significantly reduces unnecessary spending while prioritizing transportation safety and maintaining housing assistance for our nation’s most vulnerable. However, our work doesn’t stop here. I look forward to shepherding the district’s priorities into law.”
Womack authored and secured resources for several Third District priorities:
Greenwood Bypass: This project will receive $5,000,000 to relocate Arkansas Highway 10 to a newly constructed four-lane divided, partially access controlled route between Arkansas Highway 96 and Coker Street, widen to four lanes AR-10 from Coker Street west to Arkansas Highway 71, and extend Main Street south as a city street to intersect the relocated AR-10. The current AR-10 is a choke point in the City of Greenwood that can be exacerbated by weather, accidents, or maintenance. Backups on the current AR-10 require an additional 28-mile trip for commuters.
Arkansas Highway 412: This project will receive $5,000,000 to support improvements of the portion of Highway 412 that interfaces with Interstate 49. This is the most congested interchange in Northwest Arkansas and ranked #1 in the region's top 20 most congested roads based on the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission's Congestion Management Process. Highway 412 is a nationally significant East-West corridor that traverses 12 counties in Arkansas. This project supports the rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas area, Interstate-49, and the Highway 412 Corridor. These major improvements will enhance safety at the interchange while also improving the ability of Highway 412 and I-49 to move people and freight.
Black Bass Dam: This project will receive $1,200,000 to allow the city to restore and repair Black Bass Dam by building stone retaining walls in a stairstep structure, which would diverge water flow into an expanded spillway in the event of flooding. If the dam were to fail and flooding occurred, the rush of water would destroy a pump station that provides all the water for the western part of Eureka Springs.
Gravette Sanitary Sewer: The City of Gravette’s existing sanitary sewer system needs an expansion to accommodate residential development, foster economic growth, and adapt to increased traffic volume. This project will receive $7,235,993 to extend the sanitary sewer approximately 4.5 miles east along Highway 72 in Gravette to near Interstate 49. Extending the sewer would improve the health and safety of residents and protect the local environment from the risk of wastewater contamination. This sewer extension project would allow for residential and commercial connections opening undeveloped land for residential and commercial development, including the possibility of light manufacturing or light industrial development that, in turn, could bring competitive-paying jobs to the area and increase the local tax base. The Arkansas Department of Transportation has plans for a state welcome center along the sewer route, which is projected to have 80,000-100,000 annual visitors. Additionally, the sewer would support the Gravette Public School District and accommodate future student enrollment in Gravette, as they have purchased two large tracts of land for future schools along the sewer route.
Lake Wedington: Lake Wedington Recreation Area is a recreation area on the National Register of Historic Places located on Lake Wedington. It is currently closed until further notice due to deteriorating infrastructure conditions. This project will receive $4,700,000 to address the outdated conditions of the water and wastewater systems of the recreation area to ensure there is access to potable water and that the wastewater treatment plant meets current environmental standards. By completing this project, the Forest Service can ensure that visitors of Lake Wedington Recreation Area have access to potable water, and wastewater systems would be up to date and ready for use.
13th Street Bridge: This project will receive $ 1,248,527 to refurbish and improve the 13th Street Bridge in Little Flock, Arkansas. This bridge serves one of the main thoroughfares in Little Flock, 13th Street. This street sees a high volume of commuter traffic as it runs roughly north to south and sits between two large Northwest Arkansas cities, Pea Ridge and Rogers. Little Flock consists of just over 3,000 citizens, and its Street Department revenue in 2022 was $436,355. If it had no other road expenses for the whole year, it would take three years for the city to be able to pay for bridge repairs and improvements. The city has been informed that the bridge requires repairs and upgrades within the next five to six years. The bridge has experienced flash flooding events in recent years, which has closed the road. The project would upgrade the bridge to account for the increasing commuter traffic and the structural integrity necessary for flash flooding events. The bridge and road will become unusable without repairs and improvements, forcing residents and commuters to find alternate routes in an already congested area.
White River Basin: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) owns and operates six dams in the White River Basin. The dams are used to reduce the frequency and severity of floods, provide water supply, generate hydroelectric power, and provide minimum environmental flows downstream of Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes. The study will receive $263,000 and provide a comprehensive water resource management strategy for the White River Basin, which seeks sustainable water resource management while considering flood risk management, environmental protection, water supply, hydropower generation, agricultural practices, and social well-being. (Within the Energy and Water Development bill)
Other Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill highlights include:
Reduces funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT) grant programs by $6.616 billion, which is 59% below the FY23 enacted level.
Reduces funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant programs by $1.733 billion, which is 28% below the FY23 enacted level.
Rightsizing transportation infrastructure spending post-Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Responsibly funds safety-related agencies and missions of the DOT.
Provides full funding for all currently leased, tenant-based rental assistance vouchers, all project-based rental assistance contracts, and all housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities contracts.
Provides full funding for homeless assistance grant programs.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.