The Arkansas House voted last week to raise state fuel taxes by 3 cents a gallon to pay for $44 million a year in improvements to non-interstate roads, as well as a bond issue that will pay for interstate repairs.

The bills now go to the state Senate. If they pass, the will make up one of Arkansas’ biggest road programs ever. It’s the first major highway program in the state since 1991, when lawmakers raised the diesel tax by 5 cents a gallon and the gas tax by 2 cents a gallon to pay for a 15-year highway program in Bill Clinton’s last legislative session. Three years ago, voters defeated a plan for a $3.5 billion bond issue and fuel and sales tax increases to pay for it.
Under the proposal, fuel taxes would increase 1 penny a year over three years, raising $55 million annually when fully implemented.