The Arkansas Trucking Assn. has taken the first step toward abolishing the state Highway Commission.
Tuesday, the Board of Directors voted to form a committee to see how much support there is for returning control of half a billion dollars a year in tax dollars to legislators. Currently, the five highway commissioners have sole authority to spend that money.
The committee will look into a campaign to repeal the Mack-Blackwell Amendment. Adopted in 1952, the legislation created the independent Highway Commission and provided for 10-year appointments of its members.
"Not even the governor or our legislature can decide where or how to spend this money. We believe that's too much power in the hands of five people who are not accountable to the people of Arkansas," says Lane Kidd, president of the association.
Within 45 days, the committee will decide whether the association will actively support a repeal of the act. If it does, a separate organization will be formed to coordinate a petition drive to get the issue on the November 2000 general election ballot.