Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 17

02/10/2011 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                     HB 57-BICYCLE PROGRAM                                                                                  
1:55:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 57,  "An Act  authorizing municipalities  and                                                               
nonprofit  organizations to  sponsor a  program to  encourage the                                                               
safe use  of bicycles as  a mode of transportation,  and amending                                                               
the  duties  of  the  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public                                                               
Facilities to include administration  of state funds appropriated                                                               
for that purpose."                                                                                                              
1:56:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON,  Alaska State Legislature, testifying                                                               
as prime sponsor of HB 57,  explained that this bill would create                                                               
a  safe bicycle  ridership program  in DOT&PF.   This  bill would                                                               
allow   municipalities  and   not-for-profit  organizations   the                                                               
opportunity  to  apply  for  grant funding  for  the  purpose  of                                                               
promoting bicycle use, distribution  and maintenance of bicycles,                                                               
bicycle helmets,  bicycle facilities,  and bicycle trailers.   He                                                               
commented  that  he would  request  an  amendment to  change  the                                                               
1:57:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON explained  that affordable  transportation                                                               
has  been an  issue in  Alaska.   This bill  is designed  not for                                                               
recreational  transportation,   but  to   promote  transportation                                                               
alternatives,  which  is  why  some  additional  things  such  as                                                               
helmets and trailers  are included.  He offered that  it is great                                                               
to encourage  people to  use a  bicycle to  and from  the grocery                                                               
store, but people  need to have a means to  carry their groceries                                                               
home.  Under  this program, communities would apply  for funds to                                                               
meet specific community  needs such as a bike  share program, for                                                               
hubs, training programs, voucher programs, or outreach.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON remarked  that Anchorage  and Juneau  have                                                               
bike programs.   Juneau's "Bikes, Bikes,  Bikes" program acquires                                                               
abandoned bikes through the police  department and donations from                                                               
the community.   A local youth  center paints them one  color and                                                               
loans them  out.  He  pointed to  letters of support  in members'                                                               
1:59:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to  page 3, line  8 of  HB 57,                                                               
noting the date would be changed  from 2012 to 2014.  He referred                                                               
to page 3, line 4, of the  bill, noting the date would be changed                                                               
from 2011 to 2012.  He asked for clarification.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON agreed with the date changes.                                                                             
2:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  stated that  the original bill  [from a                                                               
prior year] contained a bike trail  program, which is not in this                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  agreed that the bike  trail program became                                                               
problematic so  the bill  defers to  the individual  community to                                                               
figure out what will work best for them.                                                                                        
CHAIR P. WILSON  asked for clarification on  the individual grant                                                               
amounts.   She  recalled that  bicycle trailers  range from  very                                                               
simple to elaborate.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  he  envisioned  that the  applicants                                                               
would  apply  through  the  DOT&PF for  a  competitive  grant  to                                                               
institute their  community program,  likely ranging  from $15,000                                                               
to 20,000.  He remarked  that some communities would need covered                                                               
shelters or  bicycle racks.   The  program promotes  safe bicycle                                                               
practices  so individual  communities would  decide the  scope of                                                               
their   programs.     In  further   response  to   Chair  Wilson,                                                               
Representative Seaton  agreed that Anchorage might  need $100,000                                                               
for its proposal whereas a  smaller community like Wrangell would                                                               
need considerably less.                                                                                                         
2:02:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN asked  whether  community could  request                                                               
funding to put  racks on municipal buses to enable  people to use                                                               
bicycles in conjunction with public transportation.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  answered  that  it would  be  up  to  the                                                               
community to decide.                                                                                                            
2:03:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  asked whether  most communities  would have                                                               
the ability to pay for programs without using grants.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  answered, "Not  necessarily."   He offered                                                               
that  many  villages  do  not  have  taxing  authority  and  some                                                               
bicycles are  made for  gravel and  dirt roads.   He  related the                                                               
purpose is  to provide an  alternative stimulus for using  a mode                                                               
of  transportation other  than four  wheelers and  pickup trucks.                                                               
This bill was  not meant as solely an urban  solution, but to aid                                                               
transportation and  to assist  in diminishing  Alaskan's reliance                                                               
on gas and diesel fuels.                                                                                                        
2:04:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON pointed  out  an  administrator would  be                                                               
appointed by  the commissioner.   He  asked for  clarification on                                                               
the funding source for the grants.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON responded that  the funding source would be                                                               
through the legislature and from  federal matching.  He commented                                                               
that current  trends attempt  to foster  pedestrian and  non fuel                                                               
consuming  methods  of  transportation   instead  of  using  fuel                                                               
operated vehicles.   He stated  that part of  administrator's job                                                               
would  be  to  apply  for  grants,  depending  on  the  level  of                                                               
applicants from rural and urban communities.                                                                                    
2:05:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON clarified that  this bill would add person                                                               
a person  to work to  obtain federal funding and  request general                                                               
funds for the program.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  agreed.  He  said the request  for funding                                                               
would be  for matching  funds or  for state  funding.   This bill                                                               
does not allocate  funds.  The program would be  funded using the                                                               
normal budget request process.                                                                                                  
2:06:48 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF   OTTESEN,  Director,   Division  of   Program  Development,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
provided the  background on  bicycling in Alaska.   He  said that                                                               
clearly safety  is the biggest issue,  in the past ten  years the                                                               
DOT&PF statistics indicate an average  of two fatalities per year                                                               
and 19  major injuries.   He said  two fatalities does  not sound                                                               
significant,  but represents  twice  as many  fatalities as  road                                                               
rage  causes  in Alaska.    He  reported  that  no one  cause  is                                                               
paramount with many reasons for fatalities.                                                                                     
MR. OTTOSEN  also reported that  Alaska is  sixth in nation  as a                                                               
means of using bicycles for transportation  to and from work.  He                                                               
concluded  that  bicycling is  important  in  Alaska, noting  the                                                               
statistics  have held  up over  the past  several census  cycles.                                                               
Bicycling  ranges  above the  national  average.   In  2007,  the                                                               
DOT&PF provided a  strategy in its highway safety  plan to reduce                                                               
crashes  involving   bicycles  by  using  public   education  and                                                               
outreach.   The DOT&PF  has found  the federal  training programs                                                               
designed  to teach  how to  train bicyclists  to be  safe highway                                                               
users are excellent, but the means  to get training out to people                                                               
is necessary.                                                                                                                   
2:09:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OTTOSEN  referred to  HB 57,  noting that  the bill  does not                                                               
mention training or education.   He offered his belief that would                                                               
be an important addition to the  grant program.  He reported that                                                               
the DOT&PF has  a parallel program, Safe Routes  to School, which                                                               
is a  federally funded program  limited to  an area no  more than                                                               
two miles  from the school  focused on  grades K-8.   The program                                                               
does not  reach the  entire population  in the  state.   The Safe                                                               
Routes  to  School  has  been  successful  and  many  communities                                                               
encouraged bicycle use.   He referred to  a reflector distributed                                                               
to members  that the department  hopes to  place in the  hands of                                                               
every school age child.   Every school wants these reflectors, he                                                               
said.   He  reiterated that  its  program does  not address  high                                                               
school or adults.   He advised that the  FHWA recommends programs                                                               
focus on  the five "E" aspects  including engineering, education,                                                               
encouragement, evaluation, and enforcement.   He pointed out that                                                               
HB  57  focuses  on   education,  encouragement,  and  evaluation                                                               
2:11:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON asked whether  the department could  absorb this                                                               
program into its current program  to avoid any additional general                                                               
fund expenditures.                                                                                                              
MR.  OTTESEN  advised  that the  DOT&PF  programs  are  federally                                                               
funded,  so  DOT&PF's  staff  must spend  time  on  the  eligible                                                               
functions in the program.  Thus,  it is difficult to add in other                                                               
elements  to its  program  since staff  must  certify their  time                                                               
spent on the eligible criteria for the federally funded program.                                                                
2:12:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked  whether the  DOT&PF  appoints  an                                                               
MR. OTTOSEN envisioned that after  the first couple of years this                                                               
program would  require about  ten percent  of one  staff person's                                                               
time, which  would represent a  small fraction of  existing staff                                                               
time.  He introduced his two  staff members who are involved with                                                               
bicycle programs: Steve Soenksen a  Safe Routes to School Program                                                               
coordinator,   and  Bob   Laurie,   a   Bicycle  and   Pedestrian                                                               
Coordinator.   Both  positions are  federally funded  and one  of                                                               
these two staff would be assigned  the job as a ten percent duty,                                                               
which  would be  funded  by general  fund monies,  he  said.   In                                                               
further  response to  Representative  Johnson,  he explained  the                                                               
$40,000  in  personal  services.    The  first  two  years  would                                                               
represent  25 percent  of a  staff person's  time to  set up  the                                                               
program set up,  perform outreach, and develop regulations.    He                                                               
advised  that the  DOT&PF has  several other  grant programs  and                                                               
recognizes the importance  of elevating public awareness.   It is                                                               
necessary  to attend  meetings and  conferences  to help  educate                                                               
people on  the program, which  is the  reason for the  extra two-                                                               
year effort followed by the 10 percent staff time commitment.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON   asked   for   clarification   on   the                                                               
contractual amount.                                                                                                             
MR. OTTOSEN answered that the  contractual amounts are focused on                                                               
conducting  surveys,  discovering  how people  use  the  program,                                                               
basically  to obtain  feedback for  the  DOT&PF on  how well  the                                                               
program is working.                                                                                                             
2:14:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  asked for clarification on  the contractual                                                               
amount, which is for $10,000, but increases to $35,000 in FY 16.                                                                
MR. OTTOSEN mentioned  that the DOT&PF works  with the Department                                                               
of Law (DOL) on its regulations so  at the start of a program and                                                               
every  five  years thereafter,  the  department  incurs costs  to                                                               
prepare  regulations and  updating regulations.   In  response to                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg,  Mr.  Ottesen  agreed  the  department                                                               
would like an educational component to the program.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON answered  that the  Safe Routes  to School                                                               
Program provides  for a  training program.   He related  that the                                                               
Department  of  Law  has  advised  the bill  title  is  for  safe                                                               
ridership,  which would  include education  and training,  but if                                                               
the  committee would  prefer the  title to  be more  specific, he                                                               
would not object to amending the bill to include it.                                                                            
2:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG recalled testimony  on a version of this                                                               
program last  year.  He  offered to assist in  developing similar                                                               
language for HB 57.                                                                                                             
CHAIR P. WILSON  announced that she would  leave public testimony                                                               
open on HB 57.                                                                                                                  
[HB 57 was held over.]                                                                                                          
2:17:24 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 10 Sponsor Statement.doc HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Support Information.doc HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Support Other States.docx HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 10
HB0010A.PDF HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 10
HB 57 backup DOT.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB010-TRA-DOA-DMV-02-04-11.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 10
HB 57 Burnett letter of support.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Kennedy Letter of support.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Sectional Analysis.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Bikes Program Description.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB057-DOT-AS-2-4-11.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
Anchorate Palmer Wasilla Plan.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Paperman support.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Lindholm support.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB57 Sponsor Statment.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB57 text (2).pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 102 fiscal Note DOA.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/22/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
HB 102 fiscal Note DOR.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/22/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
HB 102 Governors Sponsor.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/22/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
HB 102 Sectional.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/22/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
HB 102 text.pdf HTRA 2/10/2011 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/22/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 102