Friday, July 05, 2002

Ky. radio station rallies for overweight coal trucks

The Associated Press

        BECKLEY, W.Va. — A Kentucky radio station is throwing a picnic next week to rally support for a proposal to increase coal-truck weight limits in West Virginia to 120,000 pounds.

        “All along the border, it's tough for these fellows,” said Evelyn Warren, sales manager for WVKM-FM in Pike County, Ky.

        “If they're hauling from Kentucky mines, they're getting pulled over at $75 a whack. They're legal in Kentucky until they cross the line.”

        West Virginia's weight limit is 80,000 for four-lane roads and 65,000 for two-lane roads. Kentucky changed its weight limit to 120,000 pounds several years ago and included a 5 percent variance.

        A panel appointed by Gov. Bob Wise has recommended that coal trucks be allowed to carry 120,000 pounds to help the state's coal industry. Other commercial trucks would be kept at 80,000 pounds. The panel did not recommend a variance, but did recommend a series of safety measures for all trucks.

        Mr. Wise said Thursday he is still reviewing the committee's recommendations, but expected to have a proposal ready when lawmakers return to Charleston on July 14. Ms. Warren said the rally is set for July 13 at Chief Logan State Park near Logan.

        House Speaker Bob Kiss, D-Raleigh, and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, also support a higher weight.

        Ms. Warren, whose station operates a satellite in Matewan, said business interests along the West Virginia border are hard put to compete with Kentucky.

        Kentucky charges no sales tax on food and fuel taxes are lower, she said.

        “Add coal to the mix and you're really hurting,” she added.


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