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Recommendations presented to governor on how to boost Arkansas’ future mobility

Josie Lenora
Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke during a press conference Thursday about the importance of new transportation methods.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday celebrated the completion of a report with recommendations on how Arkansas can become a leader in futuristic technologies like drones and self-driving cars.

In February, he created the Council on Future Mobility to consider how best to position the state for such economic opportunities.

Hutchinson was joined at a state Capitol press conference by members of the council, Commerce Secretary Mike Preston and executives from Walmart. At the end of the event, he was presented a final report.

Hutchinson explained the difference between transportation and mobility.

“I chose the word mobility instead of transportation for a reason,” Hutchinson said. “Mobility is a broader term that looks at the future. That includes new modes of movement of goods and people from one place to another.”

The report includes 20 specific policy recommendations, which run the gamut of electric devices, including self-driving cars, drones, scooters, micro-mobility and spaceships.

“Arkansas is not only good at making things, we're good at moving things,” Hutchinson said.

The recommendations fall into six categories:

  • Investment
  • Workforce and academic development
  • Organizational
  • Infrastructure
  • Events, community, and storytelling
  • Cross-state initiatives
  • Crafting the most comprehensive advanced mobility policy in the world

Council Chairman Cyrus Sigari said there are steps the state can take to fund such projects.
“This is a state that's wealthy, and there's a lot of capital sitting in the state of Arkansas,” Sigari said. “Let’s take and direct it here into the state in supporting this vibrant ecosystem.”

Hutchinson said the recommendations describe how legislative authority could create the funding needed to power these projects.

In March, the state entered into a three-state partnership with Oklahoma and Louisiana to create more hydrogen-based fuel. The governor also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israeli innovation authority, to work more closely on future mobility projects.

He said this furthers the progress Arkansas has made toward future mobility.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for UA Little Rock Public Radio.
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