Thursday, January 30, 2003

Amish offer money for repair of roads

Donations would replace license fees to fix damage from studded horseshoes

The Associated Press

MILLERSBURG, Ohio - A group of Amish is offering to donate money to repair roads damaged by the horses that pull their buggies.

The Amish aren't required to license their vehicles with the state and so don't pay Ohio's $20 license plate fee, which goes toward road maintenance.

State Sen. Ron Amstutz, R-Wooster, is working on legislation that would make such donations legal.

Special studded horseshoes put cracks and grooves in roads, increasing repair costs.

Amstutz said Amish want to contribute to road repair without having the government require them to pay a license fee, which has happened in other states.

The idea is supported by Amish in Holmes, Wayne, Geauga and Ashtabula counties in northeast Ohio.

Holmes County is a rural area about 65 miles south of Cleveland and has what's believed to be the world's largest Amish population. The Amish do not believe in modern conveniences such as electricity and automobiles.

Amstutz said they would collect the money through their churches. Not all churches have agreed to participate, particularly the more conservative ones.

The lawmaker has scheduled a meeting Monday in Wooster to discuss his proposed legislation.

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