Kentucky legislators talk ATV trails, jobs at chamber meeting

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Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 2:31 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - State Representative Chris Fugate and State Senator Brandon Smith talked to Hazard/Perry County Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday morning. They focused on coal jobs, ATV trails and the Wendell Ford Airport in Perry County.

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”The ATV system in West Virginia, we’ve seen that they have grown their small coal town counties,” said Rep. Chris Fugate, who represents the 84th District. “Last year, economic impact was $38 million.”

State leaders want Eastern Kentucky counties to bring in that much money or more. Fugate said 19 counties are on board for the ATV trail system. With ATV use, he said Knott County made $300,000 at its campground last year.

”We want to connect cities to the trail system so people can come down into the cities, and eat at restaurants. stay in motels, get gas, stop at the mini-marts and do all that,” he added.

Leaders are also working on expanding the runway at Wendell Ford Airport. Senator Brandon Smith called the project critical.

”The steps that we have to go to allocate the funding and then you have to do the buy of the right of way and the design,” said Smith. “It’s really kind of complicated, but this has moved along pretty quickly.”

Senator Smith said we are seeing a spike in the demand for coal. He said millions of dollars is going into the Coal Severance Tax.

”Looking at our numbers this morning, projected I think it is $31.9 million for ‘22-’23,” he added.

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