Updated 

Beebe names bank exec, former staffer to Highway Commission


LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday appointed a former staffer to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

Frank Scott Jr., 29, who worked in the governor’s administration for five years and left in 2012 as director of intergovernmental affairs, replaces John Burkhalter, who stepped down to run for lieutenant governor.

Scott’s term expires Jan. 14, 2017.

Beebe said naming Scott to the commission reminded him of when he was 26 and was named to the Arkansas State Board of Trustees in 1974 by then-Gov. Dale Bumpers.

“I can’t help but think of the gubernatorial appointment I received as a young professional, and I hope Frank will make the most of this opportunity,” the governor said in a news conference announcing the appointment.

Scott, a bank executive with First Security, said in response to a question from reporters that he does not think state general revenue should be diverted to state highway needs.

Beebe, who also opposes the use of general revenue funds for highway needs, praised Scott’s comments and said he had not discussed the issue with him prior to naming him to the commission.

State highway officials have said a shortfall in highway funding is due to declining revenues from fuel taxes, the state’s primary source of funds to improve state highways, as rising fuel prices prompt motorists to drive fewer miles in more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Scott praised Arkansas voters for renewing a $575 million bond program for interstate improvements in 2011 and approving a temporary half-cent sales tax increase in 2012 to fund a $1.8 billion bond issue for state highway improvements.