The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 12, 2012

Bella Vista bypass going forward following passage of half-cent sales tax in Arkansas

By Andy Ostmeyer

BELLA VISTA, Ark. — Every time a truck rolls up to one of the stoplights in Bella Vista, money is chugging out the stack.

The stop-and-go traffic on U.S. Highway 71 through here is burning time and fuel for drivers, and that adds up for companies such as Con-Way Truckload.

According to the Missouri Department of Transporation, trucks make up 30 percent of the traffic on U.S. Highway 71.

That’s why Randy Cornell, vice president of maintenance for the Joplin-based carrier, likes the outcome of a vote last week in Arkansas, when residents imposed a half-cent sales tax to raise money for transportation projects around the state.

Among those projects that will be funded with the new tax revenue are the first two lanes of the Bella Vista bypass. Missouri officials have committed to matching what Arkansas does, meaning the long-awaited project is on the road to becoming a reality.

“The good news is that the Bella Vista bypass will be one of the earliest projects in this program,” Randy Ort, spokesperson for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.