Legislature(2007 - 2008)CAPITOL 17

03/06/2007 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Moved Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
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                                                               
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                                                               
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                                                                     
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.                                                                            

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