Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/06/2006 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
Moved Out of Committee
Moved HCS SB 304(TRA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 397-APPROP: ANCHORAGE SIGNAL UPGRADE                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR GATTO announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 397,  "An Act  making an appropriation  for an                                                               
upgrade  of   signal  system  emergency  devices   in  Anchorage,                                                               
contingent  upon   matching  funds   from  the   Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MAX   GRUENBERG,   Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
presented HB 397 as sponsor.   He showed an Anchorage map showing                                                               
where  "opticoms"  are  needed   and  where  ones  are  currently                                                               
located.    He said  upgrades  are  in  the  process so  that  an                                                               
emergency  vehicle can  press a  button and  the [traffic]  light                                                               
will turn green.  The vehicle can then proceed safely, he said.                                                                 
1:57:32 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN KIEWIK, Municipality of Anchorage,  said he doesn't have the                                                               
map, but he would like  [opticoms] to be [at every intersection].                                                               
He added that some corridors have been installed.                                                                               
1:59:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   GATTO  asked   about  a   quantitative  reduction   in                                                               
collisions from the installation of the devices.                                                                                
CRAIG GOODRICH,  Chief, Anchorage  Fire Department, said  for any                                                               
fires in  the Muldoon area,  it is quite  a run from  the closest                                                               
fire stations.  With opticoms,  truck five can beat station three                                                               
into  the Chugach  foothill, he  stated, and  that illustrates  a                                                               
dramatic decrease  in response time.   He  said time is  the most                                                               
important  factor  for  emergency vehicles.    Without  opticoms,                                                               
other vehicles do  unsafe things, but with them,  the light turns                                                               
green,  and  cars proceed  normally.    The  use of  the  devices                                                               
factors heavily into the city's master  plan.  "If we do not have                                                               
any  definitive change  in the  way we're  doing business,  in 50                                                               
years the operating  expense for the fire department  is going to                                                               
approach $300-350 million."                                                                                                     
2:03:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GOODRICH said  with sprinkler  ordinances and  opticoms, the                                                               
department can  maximize the efficiency of  station locations and                                                               
reduce the number  of stations and vehicles, saving  the public a                                                               
considerable amount of money.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  GATTO asked  if  opticoms would  negate  the next  fire                                                               
MR. GOODRICH said  absolutely.  He said EMS may  need a facility,                                                               
but with opticoms, the next fire station may not be needed.                                                                     
2:05:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO said  each one costs $1,000, and asked  if all are                                                               
already installed on the vehicles.                                                                                              
MR. GOODRICH said all the vehicles have them.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR GATTO said  only the installation on  the traffic lights                                                               
is needed, and he asked who maintains them.                                                                                     
MR. GOODRICH  said the ambulances  have them but not  the trucks.                                                               
The municipality maintains them, he stated.                                                                                     
2:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  ELKINS moved  to report  HB 397  out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON asked if it will complete all the signals.                                                                
MR.   GOODRICH  said   it  comes   very  close,   and  as   other                                                               
intersections are improved, the opticoms will be included.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR GATTO  asked what  the price is  for each  traffic light                                                               
and how many are needed.                                                                                                        
MR. GOODRICH said  it is $15,000 per intersection,  and the state                                                               
and municipal  specifications now  require them,  so it  is built                                                               
into all new and rehabilitated intersections.                                                                                   
2:09:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GOODRICH said,  in response to Co-Chair  Gatto, that opticoms                                                               
are used in Fairbanks, Kenai, and Juneau.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  he had  a recent  ambulance trip,                                                               
and he learned that opticoms are at all signals in Juneau.                                                                      
Hearing  no   objections,  HB  397   passed  out  of   the  House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
2:10:43 PM                                                                                                                    

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