Sides face off in West Virginia push to ban trucks from U.S. 522

| 6/17/2005

A town meeting this week in Berkeley Springs, WV, about the fate of U.S. Highway 522 drew an angry crowd as residents called for banning trucks from the highway.

The Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported that Russell Mokhiber, the resident who organized the June 15 meeting, was vehemently opposed to trucks using the highway and proposed an outright ban.

Mokhiber said the residents want to “get this done before something bad happens.” Other residents chimed in, saying it was a safety issue and accusing truckers of using the highway to avoid a weigh station on nearby Interstate 81.

But all was not bad for the trucking industry. Morgan County Commissioner Bob Ford spoke out against the ban, and instead proposed building a bypass for trucks to use.

“We made it clear to Gov. (Joe) Manchin that we won’t be banning trucks on U.S. 522,” he said.

John Taylor, an OOIDA board member who lives in West Virginia, said he was unable to attend the meeting but heard from those who did that it did not go well for truckers, in spite of Ford’s pledge.

“This is a pretty arrogant group of people,” Taylor said of the anti-truck residents.

Taylor said he is hoping to organize another meeting and include more representatives of the trucking industry.

“We did not have a strong enough show of force there,” he said.

– By Terry Scruton, senior writer