December 14, 2005

Ark. says no to road bonds, maybe to college debt

MIAMI (Reuters) - Voters in Arkansas solidly defeated a
referendum calling for $575 million of road bonds and split
narrowly over a plan to issue $250 million of college bonds,
according to elections data on Wednesday.

The results on the college infrastructure proposal were
unclear on Wednesday as state officials in Little Rock
continued tabulating votes from Tuesday's state-wide poll.

The latest, unofficial tally showed 43,289 votes against
the plan to issue $250 million in bonds for improvements and
new infrastructure at Arkansas colleges and universities and
42,484 votes for the proposal.

Votes from 58 of Arkansas' 75 counties had been tabulated.

Voters spoke much more clearly on the proposal to give the
five-member state highway commission the power to issue as much
as $575 million in highway bonds, mostly likely starting in

Latest tallies had 60.7 percent of voters opposing the
roads proposal and 37.3 percent favoring it.

Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee had enthusiastically backed
the road bonds proposal, arguing that the bonds would have
required no new taxes and would have helped the state's economy

Opponents included the state trucking association and had
argued the state constitution required road bonds be subjected
to referenda and that the proposal gave too much authority to
the highway commission.