Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I write you, in the interest of accuracy, with regard to Charles Owens’ opinion piece of Dec. 18, 2013. He attributes the Coalfields Expressway and the King Coal Highway to the “vision” of the late Robert C. Byrd. While Sen. Byrd, in fact, was able as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to channel funding for the highways to channel through, and to serve, southern West Virginia, the “vision” of these highways was a product of Nick Joe Rahall as chairman of the House Roads and Highway Committee of the United States Congress.
The King Coal Highway Authority, lnc., was formed in 1999 by a corporate charter prepared by the undersigned, as counsel for the authority. I am therefore well familiar with the “vision” of that undertaking. The business driving force was K.A. Ammar Jr. The political and congressional force was, however, Nick Joe Rahall and continues to be. Congressman Rahall’s 36 years in Congress and his position as chairman of that committee (now ranking member) has kept him in a position to continue to advocate for the completion of this important highways system for southern West Virginia. If we were to lose such an advocate, it would take more than 25 years for another person to be able to be in a position to produce the needed funds for further construction of these highways.
I am a personal friend of Congressman Rahall and was for more than 50 years a good personal friend of Sen. Byrd. While I do not wish to take anything away from Sen. Byrd in his enormous contribution to West Virginia, the facts are simply that the “vision” for these highways comes from Congressman Rahall.
Robert E. Holroyd