Rising Transportation Costs in NW Arkansas Pressuring Economic Development Efforts

Driving Up the Cost of Living Northwest Arkansas Although housing and transportation costs are currently affordable to most residents of Northwest Arkansas, high transportation costs and a growing demand for housing in walkable, centrally located neighborhoods are putting pressure on the region’s economic development efforts. That’s according to a new CNT report whose analysis of four Arkansas cities—Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale—is based on US Census data and 23 interviews with regional stakeholders.

Driving Up the Cost of Living: How Housing and Transportation Costs Pressure Economic Development in Northwest Arkansas,” found that the region’s transportation costs take a more significant bite out of household budgets than housing costs. For every dollar of earned income, a typical Northwest Arkansas household spent 26 cents on housing and 29 cents on transportation in 2000. Both costs have risen over the past decades as gas prices have increased and housing has appreciated.

One of the report’s recommendations includes better aligning the regional transit service with four employers—Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, and the University of Arkansas—that account for roughly one in four jobs in the region.