Candidate Positions Reported to date
Ward 1 Alderman Candidate Steve Mosley's position on 3rd entrance Bond Issue
I think one thing that many can agree on is that an eventual addition of a third entrance to I-40 would be helpful to the Maumelle traffic situation. To do so, we would first need approval for an interchange by the State Highway Department, and second, we would need to extend a road out to the approved location as a connection for an interchange. However, the timing and the order of these two events is crucial as to whether the end result is actually beneficial or ends up being disastrous for Maumelle residents.
A key point for residents to remember is that there is no official requirement or evidence that a road extension be in place before an interchange can be approved. Basically, the approval of the interchange is the critical path and the timing of this approval depends largely on when I-40 is widened and when some other higher priority construction projects are completed. This approval for a 3rd entrance looks to still be 7-16 years away. As such, it matters little in getting the 3rd entrance as to whether a connecting road is built before or after the interchange is approved.
Several of us have delved into the question of whether a connecting road should be built before or after the approval and our findings are as follows. If a road like Counts Massie is extended right now, it appears highly likely that both Maumelle and North Little Rock developers will use this new, taxpayer financed road as an opportunity to continue building thousands of new high density housing units. This, in turn, will generate thousands of additional vehicles that will be going south to Maumelle Boulevard and create a monumental traffic situation over the coming years for Maumelle commuters. Essentially, the I-40 interchange would not be in place to drain all this new traffic.
On the other hand, it appears that if we wait to do the extension until after the interchange is approved, the new developments that spring up along the extension can be immediately drained to I-40 without clogging up Maumelle Boulevard as would have been the case if the extension is built first.
Some other facts to consider. An agreement signed by Mayor Burch Johnson back in 2003 to extend Counts Massie appears conditioned on the interchange first being approved at the old rest area. As such, this agreement doesn't appear to kick in until an interchange is approved at the specified location at the old rest area. Another fact to consider is there is no guarantee that the Highway Department will ever approve an interchange or that it will be at the Counts Massie location. Also, if an extension of Counts Massie is done now, it is possible that heavy equipment used by developers will have damaged the extension and we will need another bond issue for repairs before the interchange is ever approved.
The bottom line is this, our Mayor and Aldermen appear to have the cart before the horse by putting the Counts Massie extension on the ballot in the October 9th special election. Essentially, if we build the Counts Massie extension now, developers stand to make big bucks and Maumelle residents stand to get stuck with a $9.5 million bill and a traffic nightmare.
Voters, don't be fooled by tax proponents that say we need to rush into an extension of Counts Massie Road. Unless there is some key point we are missing, the logical conclusion is that we need to wait to extend Counts Massie until an Interchange is approved by the State Highway Department. As such, it is imperative that we as residents go to the polls on October 9th and vote an overwhelming "no" on this issue. Also, if you are like me and are tired of the City using low turnout special elections to sneak in new taxes, then send them a strong message and vote "no" on every issue on the ballot. Mark your calendars for October 9th and vote "no"!
Candidate for Ward 1 Alderman and co-founder of Maumelle Residents United
16 Riverwood Place
Ward 3 Alderman Candidate Brenton Witonski's position on the Special Bond Election
Looking forward to the upcoming campaign. More than anything, I am looking forward to being a voice for the people again. The recent tax-bond issue is a clear example of the residents not being informed and engaged by their Alderman. We, the City Council, new of the upcoming bond issue for over two years, but not one Alderman planned for it. It is not just the Mayors job to be prepared and to
inform the citizens. The Alderman should have been gathering information from the citizens and bringing ideas to the Mayor. What about our internal neighborhood parks. The ones along our walk paths. That would be a good use for the bond money (got this from a resident while putting out my flags for the 4th). Also, what about a sprinkler park for kids and families to enjoy here in Maumelle? (Another suggestion from a resident of Maumelle) The citizens have many great ideas that could improve our city and make it even better. If we are going to pay $27.5 million in taxes, we should get the improvements we want from our city. The Indoor Aquatic Center and the Fire Station are good. The Indoor pool has been a resident want for years and the Fire Station is an absolute necessity for Maumelle to keep our good fire rating and keep our home insurance rates lower. So those two I understand. Why are we going to spend nearly half of the money on streets? I'm not saying it may not be a need, but is that really where the citizens of Maumelle want their money spent? We will only know if we ask. And the asking should be before the ordinance and the voter's box.