I am writing to request that you consider opposing House Bill 8, a bill that would expand the ?Extended Weight-Coal Haul Road System to include non-coal minerals such as gravel, sand & rock, and in doing so would impose an even greater human and fiscal cost on the state than the current coal haul road system.
The existing Extended Weight Coal Haul Road System, which allows trucks to haul above the otherwise applicable legal limit of 80,000 pounds and up to a weight of over 120,000 pounds by purchasing a decal, was studied in 1995 by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which found in its Research Report 95-25, Impacts of the Extended Weight Coal Haul Road System, that:
* The system resulted in higher rates of fatal and injury accidents than occurred on other roads where extended weights were not permitted;
* the decal fee system resulted in an annual net loss to the Road Fund of approximately $2 million;
* the heavier weights of coal trucks added approximately $9 million annually in pavement overlay costs to the Road Fund.
Expanding the current extended weight coal haul road system to include heavier loads of sand, gravel and other rock will likely result in higher fatality and injury rates and will further reduce Road Fund license revenues and increase the annual loss due to pavement overlay costs. Additionally, the number of roads in the system will be expanded to include all those in areas where sand, gravel and hard rock are quarried or mined where the roads carry over 50,000 tons of such materials annually.
Expansion of the system is not responsible in light of the current deficit and human costs of the system without first updating the 1995 study to consider whether the existing system should be continued or replaced and whether the system should be expanded to include noncoal minerals.
I urge you to oppose the bill until there is appropriate study on how to provide for transportation of mineral resources from mine to market with the human and economic costs imposed by the extended weight system, and that you do not support extension of an already-broken system.