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Two of Arkansas' Congressmen make requests for infrastructure improvements

J. Scott Applewhite
U.S Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas' 4th Congressional District is requesting to improve the airport in Texarkana. The deadline to submit project requests for 2024 was at the end of last month.

For members of the U.S House of Representatives, the deadline to submit project requests for the 2024 fiscal year was due at the end of last month. According to the House Appropriations Committee’s website, two of Arkansas’ four representatives made requests for projects. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, made requests.

One of the projects requested by Westerman was an extension of the runway at the Texarkana Regional Airport. The runway would be extended by 500 feet and for new lights to help with navigation. Westerman has requested $8.1 million for the project.

On his official website, Westerman said that the Texarkana Regional Airport is the largest airport in his district and that this extension would help bring business development to the area. He added that Texarkana supports two university systems.

In a letter to Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee Kay Granger, Republican of Texas’ 12th Congressional District, Westerman explained the airport is important for the Texarkana community.

“A recent study by the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics found that TXK supports nearly 500 jobs with a total payroll of $15.4 million and an annual economic output of $38.8 million. The runway extension project will allow for larger, heavier planes to use the airport and access commercial services for aircraft maintenance that are expected to grow around the airport. The project will also help the airport achieve long-term financial self- sufficiency,” Westerman wrote in his letter.

One of the requests by Womack was $5 million for Highway 412, which interfaces with Interstate 49. According to Womack’s official website, this was ranked as the most congested interchange in the region in a study by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Commission. Womack said his requests to help decongest the interchange is needed.

“This project is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it 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,” he said.

The funding for the project would be awarded to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Ronak Patel is a reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.