Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the nation’s other governors delivered some words of wisdom last week to President Joe Biden: Give the states’ chief executives flexibility when spending federal infrastructure money.
“Send us the money. Give us flexibility. We will spend it and you can audit us,” Hutchinson told Biden.
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The Republican was in Washington in his capacity as chairman of the bipartisan National Governors Association. He and other governors met with the president, a Democrat, at the White House.
Under the infrastructure bill, a key accomplishment of the Biden administration, Arkansas is expected to receive more than $4 billion over five years. Hutchinson has consistently stated his support for the bill, and his call for flexibility has a chance of being favorably received by the administration.
The crack in the Interstate 40 bridge at Memphis last year should have amply demonstrated the need for infrastructure spending in the U.S., just as did the collapse of a Pittsburgh bridge last month.
Little Rock will miss Gretchen Hall, who will be leaving as president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau for a job as chief operating officer at Destinations International.
Hall oversaw the $70 million renovation of the Robinson Center, a massive undertaking made possible by a 2013 referendum in which city voters authorized the LRCVB to take out bonds and then repay the debt with the hospitality tax. She also has guided the visitors bureau during the unprecedented disruption to the tourism industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, we’d like to congratulate Dr. Omar Atiq, an oncologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, on his selection as the next head of the American College of Physicians, the largest medical specialty organization in the nation. It’s a high honor.