Legislature(2007 - 2008)CAPITOL 17
03/06/2007 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 168-LAND TRANSFERS ALASKA RR & DOTPF 1:43:23 PM CHAIR JOHANSEN announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 168, "An Act authorizing two exchanges of land between the Alaska Railroad Corporation and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities; and providing for an effective date." DAVID SCOTT, Staff to Representative Kyle Johansen, Alaska State Legislature, presented HB 168 on behalf of Representative Johansen, chair of the House Transportation Standing Committee, sponsor of HB 168. He explained that the bill authorizes two exchanges of land, totaling approximately 10 acres, between the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) in order to accommodate two DOT&PF projects. The projects are the widening and lane improvement of the Parks Highway in Wasilla and the construction of a heavy aircraft cargo apron at the Fairbanks International Airport. Both of the projects require an adjustment of the railroad track and right-of-way lands. Mr. Scott said the bill ensures that all appropriate titles to property can be in place for both of these two DOT&PF projects; Section 1 pertains to the Parks Highway project and Section 2 pertains to the cargo apron project. He explained that AS 42.40.285 requires legislative approval for the ARRC to "exchange, donate, sell or otherwise convey its entire interest in land". 1:45:22 PM REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN inquired whether there is any opposition to either of the exchanges from other agencies or from the public. WENDY LINDSKOOG, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC), Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development, responded that ARRC has not heard of any opposition. It is a small issue in terms of only being an agency-to-agency land exchange to accommodate the DOT&PF projects. MARY SIROKY, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), answered that DOT&PF is not aware of any opposition. It was property that did not have a constituency that would be opposed to the transfers. 1:47:13 PM REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN asked whether these sorts of exchanges are publicly noticed. FRANCES ZIMMERMAN, Right-of-Way Agent III, Central Region, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), replied that her involvement is with the Parks Highway project and that she did not believe that there is normally a public notice process involved in this type of a transfer. JOHN BENNETT, Right-of-Way Chief, Northern Region, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), stated that there has been public notice and public involvement in [the aircraft cargo apron] project through the normal environmental public involvement process. However, public notice for a disposal of land is generally only required when the state is divesting itself of its interest in the land. In this case, he said, the end result is that all of the real property will still be held by the State of Alaska. 1:48:34 PM MR. BENNETT, in response to a question from Representative Johnson, explained that the Fairbanks project involved moving an existing spur line of railroad tracks a short distance to make room for the heavy cargo apron. MS. ZIMMERMAN, in response to the same question from Representative Johnson, said that the same situation existed with regard to the Parks Highway. The railroad tracks were relocated approximately 100 feet south of their prior location during the improvement project. 1:48:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON inquired whether the [track relocation] has already been done. MS. ZIMMERMAN responded yes, that the construction of the [Parks Highway] project and the relocation of the tracks have already taken place, but that the transfer of title is not yet been done because it is dependent upon [HB 168]. MR. BENNETT answered that this is also correct for the airport project. The project was advertised and construction was commenced based on a right-of-entry document between DOT&PF and ARRC. They are now in the process of wrapping up the title details so that deeds for the property can be exchanged. 1:49:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked who paid for the cost of moving the track since there is no fiscal note on the bill. MS. ZIMMERMAN replied that it was a part of the project costs and that the Parks Highway project was primarily federally funded. MR. BENNETT stated that this is the same situation with the Fairbanks International Airport. The project is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and this is a participating cost. 1:49:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE SALMON inquired whether the access road around the [airport] runway will still be available to the public. MR. BENNETT answered yes; there will still be an access road. 1:50:37 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON moved to report HB 168 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered.