- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The president of the Arkansas State University System says a bill to compensate for dwindling highway maintenance and construction funding would be “catastrophic” for higher education in the state.

Charles Welch told the system Board of Trustees on Friday that he opposed the bill approved a day earlier by the House Public Transportation Committee.

The measure would gradually divert the money from the state’s general revenue over a 10-year period. State finance officials say the plan would cost the state nearly $35 million in the coming fiscal year and $548 million once fully implemented.

Welch says he’d like lawmakers to find a way to support highways without taking money away from education.

Arkansas highway officials say the change would help close the gap between the state’s road needs and funding.

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