Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2001-07-20 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2001-07-20                     Senate Journal                      Page 1874
SB 88                                                                                             
Message dated and received July 5, stating:                                                         
Dear President Halford:                                                                             
Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15, of the Alaska Constitution, I                              
have vetoed the following bill:                                                                     
           SENATE BILL NO. 88 am H "An Act relating to                                              
           metropolitan planning organizations and to                                               
           establishment of a metropolitan planning                                                 
           organization for the Anchorage metropolitan area;                                        
           and providing for an effective date."                                                    

2001-07-20                     Senate Journal                      Page 1875
This bill presents serious difficulties under two different constitutional                          
doctrines. It violates the provisions against dual office hold by                                   
legislators found in art II, sec. 5 of the Alaska Constitution.                                     
Furthermore, it appears that the planning organization for the                                      
Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS)                                            
becomes a state agency, because the majority of the members of the                                  
body are state officials. That being the case, legislators and appointees                           
by the governor may not serve in the same organization without                                      
violating the separation of powers doctrine.                                                        
Despite the constitutional infirmities in this bill, it is flawed on a more                         
basic premise. It transforms an inherently local process, transportation                            
planning, into a state process. In other words, local government will be                            
precluded from finding local solutions to local problems.                                           
The Federal Highway Administration has taken the position that this                                 
bill likely violates provisions in 23 U.S.C. 134, which require local                               
participation in redesignation of metropolitan planning areas like                                  
Anchorage. That statute requires involvement of local officials in the                              
redesignation of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).                                        
Because this new MPO will be forced upon the Anchorage area, there                                  
is the very real possibility that approximately $35,000,000 annually in                             
federal money could be withheld from surface transportation projects                                
in the Anchorage area.                                                                              
I had the honor of serving on the AMATS Policy Committee and                                        
seeing the process in action as a former Anchorage Assembly member                                  
and mayor. I know first-hand the importance and effectiveness of the                                
grass roots authority and responsibility the AMATS gives to critical                                
transportation decisions.  I will not allow that to be diminished.                                  
       Tony Knowles