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Local & Regional News

Interstate-555 could be a reality as soon as December

Congress has put in place a temporary patch to provide funding for the nation’s highways; however, an actual highway bill could go to the President’s desk next month…and that is good news for northeast Arkansas’ economy.  Negotiations over the next federal highway bill are not going to end by the November 22nd deadline.  In an e-mail to KASU news, U-S Representative Rick Crawford’s Press Secretary James Arnold says Congress voted Monday to put in place a temporary spending measure.  The new deadline is December fourth.  Arnold says he expects Congress to meet this deadline and for President Obama to sign the highway bill next month.  The federal highway bill is a six year authorization bill that is fully funded for three years.  In the bill is an exemption for agricultural vehicles to travel on U-S Highway 63.  That exemption allows for Highway 63 to become the new Interstate-555.  Once President Obama signs the highway bill into law, the state Highway Commission would then approve the designation and I-555 would become reality.  Crawford’s office says the designation will have a positive economic impact on the region and will help bring new industry and jobs to the communities that are located on the highway, as well as many surrounding communities in northeast Arkansas.