Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/11/2018 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
02:19:11 PM Start
02:19:40 PM Presentation(s): Department of Natural Resources
03:10:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to a Call of the Chair --
+ Presentation: Arctic Transportation & Resources TELECONFERENCED
Strategic Plan by Commissioner Andrew Mack, Dept.
of Natural Resources
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Presentation: AIDEA & Ambler Road
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 11, 2018                                                                                         
                           2:19 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Lincoln, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Chris Tuck (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANDY MACK, Commissioner                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a PowerPoint presentation                                                                       
entitled, "ASTAR Project Update" dated 4/11/18.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JENN ADLEMAN, Project Coordinator                                                                                               
Office of Project Management and Permitting                                                                                     
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered a question during the update on                                                                 
the Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resources project.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LOIS EPSTEIN, Arctic Project Director                                                                                           
The Wilderness Society                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified during  the update on  the Arctic                                                             
Strategic Transportation and Resources project.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:19:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ANDY  JOSEPHSON  called the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   2:19  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Josephson, Talerico,  Lincoln, Parish, and Birch  were present at                                                               
the call to order.   Representatives Rauscher, Drummond, and Tarr                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  Department of Natural Resources                                                                              
       PRESENTATION(S):  Department of Natural Resources                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
2:19:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would be an  update by the Department of  Natural Resources (DNR)                                                               
on  the Arctic  Strategic  Transportation  and Resources  (ASTAR)                                                               
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:20:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDY MACK,  Commissioner, DNR, informed  the committee  the ASTAR                                                               
project began in 2016 when  Governor Walker met with leaders from                                                               
the North Slope region and  discussed how changing ice conditions                                                               
affect  communities   and  industry   that  rely  upon   ice  for                                                               
transportation purposes  in winter.   He stated  the safe  use of                                                               
ice  and snowpack  roads is  now limited  to early  January until                                                               
mid-April.    Due  to  this  situation,  the  administration,  in                                                               
partnership  with regional  entities, tasked  DNR to  enhance and                                                               
protect  affected communities'  road systems  and maintain  state                                                               
access  to  state  land  in  the Colville  River  Delta  and  the                                                               
National Petroleum  Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on a  year-round basis                                                               
in the  future.  Commissioner  Mack stressed transportation  on a                                                               
year-round around basis in this  region is of particular interest                                                               
to younger  residents.  Therefore, DNR  obtained an appropriation                                                               
of  $7.3 million  which was  used to  update existing  agreements                                                               
with the North Slope Borough  and to execute a separate agreement                                                               
defining the ASTAR project (slide 2).                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MACK said  the lead agency for the  ASTAR project is                                                               
the  Office  of Project  Management  and  Permitting (OPMP),  and                                                               
there  will  be  additional  participation  by  the  Division  of                                                               
Mining, Land  and Water,  the Division  of Support  Services, the                                                               
Division of State  Parks and Outdoor Recreation,  the Division of                                                               
Geological and  Geophysical Surveys  (DGGS), and the  Division of                                                               
Oil  and Gas.    He  pointed out  the  original  request for  the                                                               
project  in 2016  was for  a  year-round road  from the  Colville                                                               
River Delta to  [Utqiagvik]; however, ASTAR has  been expanded to                                                               
include providing infrastructure in  the Arctic National Wildlife                                                               
Refuge (ANWR) 1002 Area.   Additionally, the Department of Health                                                               
and  Social   Services  will  provide  a   health  analysis,  the                                                               
Department  of Commerce,  Community &  Economic Development  will                                                               
provide a resiliency  and adaptation study and  training, and the                                                               
Department  of Transportation  & Public  Facilities (DOTPF)  will                                                               
provide   planning   guidelines   from   the   Northwest   Alaska                                                               
Transportation Plan (slide 3).                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:29:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK   explained  DOTPF  has   many  transportation                                                               
projects  underway; however,  ASTAR is  not part  of a  Statewide                                                               
Transportation Improvement  Program (STIP)  and thus is  not part                                                               
of  a federal  planning process  at this  time, although  that is                                                               
DNR's  goal.   He  stressed  Alaska has  not  built  a major  new                                                               
infrastructure project in  rural Alaska for many  years and ASTAR                                                               
is focused on the North  Slope region, which continues to provide                                                               
substantial income  from state resources;  also, the  North Slope                                                               
contains  large  federally-controlled  areas such  as  NPR-A  and                                                               
ANWR,  therefore,  Commissioner  Mack cautioned  that  the  state                                                               
needs to provide  a consistent vision with  its regional partners                                                               
to avoid challenges from federal agencies.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:33:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Under the decreased rehabilitation  costs for the NPR-A                                                                    
     legacy  wells [a  desired  outcome  listed on  upcoming                                                                    
     slide 4],  is it  correct that  at present  the federal                                                                    
     government would,  would bear  those costs  and benefit                                                                    
     from that reduction?                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MACK  said yes  and explained  a challenge  with the                                                               
NPR-A legacy well program is that  a large portion of the federal                                                               
funds appropriated  would be spent  getting access to  the wells;                                                               
however, [because the ASTAR project  would provide less expensive                                                               
access] the state would ensure  the appropriated money is used to                                                               
plug and abandon wells.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH questioned  whether  DNR  could achieve  a                                                               
federal match for any portion of the project.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK  expressed  DNR's  opinion  the  legacy  [well                                                               
rehabilitation]  program   is  an   obligation  of   the  federal                                                               
government.  He remarked:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     With  respect  to  year-round roads,  in  particular  a                                                                    
     year-round  road  where  folks   in  the  community  of                                                                    
     [Utqiagvik]  can  enjoy  that year  around  access,  we                                                                    
     would expect  that a ...  element of the  funding would                                                                    
     be ... something that's a  little bit more traditional,                                                                    
     potentially   more  traditional,   and  like   a  [U.S.                                                                    
     Department of  Transportation (USDOT)]  funded project,                                                                    
     construction of  which is largely, you  know, the large                                                                    
     contribution comes from the federal government ....                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MACK directed attention to  slide 4 which listed the                                                               
following desired outcomes:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
        • Increased cultural connectivity                                                                                       
      • Reduction in cost of living in area communities                                                                         
      • More efficient development of natural resources                                                                         
        • Increased economic    activity   providing   job                                                                      
          opportunities for the region                                                                                          
        • Decreased rehabilitation costs for NPR-A legacy                                                                       
          wells                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK  said the  [ASTAR  project]  would proceed  in                                                               
partnership with the region's communities  for the shared benefit                                                               
of  both the  communities  and the  state  by maximizing  natural                                                               
resource  development; however,  DNR  will ensure  its vision  is                                                               
shared with affected communities.   Commissioner Mack advised the                                                               
ASTAR  project encompasses  large  areas of  federal and  private                                                               
lands thus  the project  is being  planned regionally,  with less                                                               
regard  for  land ownership,  and  crosses  many land  management                                                               
jurisdictions.  Also shown on  slide 4 are deliverables including                                                               
a strategic  plan and  a cumulative benefits  analysis tool.   He                                                               
explained   federal  planning   on  the   North  Slope   reflects                                                               
cumulative   impacts  of   development,  which   undervalues  the                                                               
benefits   of   development.      However,   the   state,   while                                                               
understanding  impacts,  also  reports cumulative  benefits  that                                                               
must be taken into account when  the state seeks to fill wetlands                                                               
with gravel;  in fact,  DNR will fully  evaluate the  benefits of                                                               
projects across the state.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:40:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH observed ASTAR has  garnered a high level of                                                               
support from the affected communities.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:41:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  pointed out  the project has  support from                                                               
the  North  Slope Borough  and  asked  whether other  communities                                                               
within the affected area have offered support or opposition.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK answered  the North  Slope Borough  is a  true                                                               
partner in  the project and has  developed a plan focused  on the                                                               
infrastructure  needs  of  [Utqiagvik]   and  seven  North  Slope                                                               
villages; he surmised  most of the villages  seek long-term year-                                                               
round  transportation  options  and  development,  such  as  road                                                               
access for  Anaktuvuk Pass,  and marine  or other  facilities for                                                               
Kaktovik, Nuiqsut,  Wainwright, and others.   He said no  one has                                                               
expressed opposition.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:45:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK  directed attention  to  a  conceptual map  on                                                               
slide 5  which indicated  existing year-round  infrastructure and                                                               
potential transportation  utility corridors.  He  turned to slide                                                               
6 and recalled  after receiving funding last year  DNR began work                                                               
with  the  North Slope  Borough  on  an  ASTAR proof  of  concept                                                               
project that  entailed getting  a permit  for a  community winter                                                               
access trail.  The project is  a hardened packed trail that would                                                               
demonstrate  how a  year-round road  system on  the tundra  would                                                               
operate.  The permit was issued  by the Bureau of Land Management                                                               
(BLM),  U.S.  Department of  the  Interior,  to the  North  Slope                                                               
Borough, and  a snowpack  road was built  from the  existing road                                                               
south to  Nuiqsut and on to  [Utqiagvik].  The road  is now being                                                               
used  by   residents  for  transportation  from   [Utqiagvik]  to                                                               
Deadhorse  and  south.    Further,  the  road  will  be  used  by                                                               
contractors of [Parcel  Post mail in the bypass  mail process] in                                                               
order  to understand  and  measure the  impacts  and benefits  of                                                               
commercial transportation systems.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:50:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked how  improved snow trails  are built                                                               
and what type of traffic they can support.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MACK deferred to Jenn Adleman.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:50:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENN ADLEMAN,  Project Coordinator, Office of  Project Management                                                               
and  Permitting,  DNR, informed  the  committee  snow trails  are                                                               
repeatedly built up from snow by  equipment as the snow is packed                                                               
down and more  is added; as the trails are  used by vehicles, the                                                               
snow is  continually packed down.   Further, maintenance vehicles                                                               
travel  with caravans  of  vehicles and  trucks  to maintain  the                                                               
trails, and over time, constant use improves the trail.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:52:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MACK directed  attention to  slide 7,  noting ASTAR                                                               
2018 work  highlights include hiring Alaska-based  contractors to                                                               
provide  the  tasks  listed  on  slide  7.    This  work  informs                                                               
infrastructure   project  cost   comparisons   and  analyses   to                                                               
understand future  funding sources  for the  project in  light of                                                               
the state's  fiscal climate.   He suggested one  possible funding                                                               
source  for  construction  is bonding  through  the  North  Slope                                                               
Borough's  North Slope  Port Authority,  or federal  funding from                                                               
USDOT.    At  this  time,   DNR  has  issued  contracts  for  the                                                               
aforementioned  tasks  with  Arctic  Slope  Regional  Corporation                                                               
(ASRC) Energy Services  (AES), and Resource Data,  Inc., and work                                                               
is underway.   He  directed attention to  slide 8  which provided                                                               
information  on a  construction  materials survey  which will  be                                                               
conducted by  DGGS; also  underway is 2018  field work  which may                                                               
continue into  the 2019 summer  season.   He closed with  slide 9                                                               
which illustrated the ASTAR project  budget from fiscal year 2018                                                               
(FY 18) through  FY 20 and offered to answer  questions on budget                                                               
items for committee members following the meeting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:56:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  expressed  support  for  the  project  and                                                               
pointed out the cost of an  ice road is estimated at $400,000 per                                                               
mile; however, estimates for the  Ambler Access project estimated                                                               
the cost of an  ice road at $300,000 per mile.   He asked whether                                                               
the materials for the ASTAR project are state-owned.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MACK answered  DNR will look at  all material sites,                                                               
including sites owned by the  state, the North Slope Borough, and                                                               
ASRC; in  fact, the project  may require  sites on land  owned by                                                               
the state, Alaska Native corporations, and BLM, and materials                                                                   
may also be sourced from allotments.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:58:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOIS EPSTEIN, Arctic Project Director, The Wilderness Society,                                                                  
paraphrased from her written statement, which read [original                                                                    
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you  very much  to the  co-chairs and  members of                                                                    
     the House Resources Committee  for holding this hearing                                                                    
        especially during  this busy  time    on the  Arctic                                                                    
     Strategic  Transportation  and  Resources  project,  or                                                                    
     ASTAR. You probably know  that the legislature provided                                                                    
     over $7.3 million for ASTAR  in the 2018 capital budget                                                                    
     following  a   May  request  from   DNR,  unfortunately                                                                    
     without  holding a  single hearing  on the  project. My                                                                    
     goal  today  is  to  explain  the  problems  with  this                                                                    
     project   so   the   legislature   can   consider   re-                                                                    
     appropriating  some of  ASTAR's unrestricted  funds for                                                                    
     more valuable purposes.                                                                                                    
     As  background, I  am an  Alaska-licensed engineer  and                                                                    
     Arctic Program Director for  The Wilderness Society. In                                                                    
     the past,  I developed reports, testimony  and comments                                                                    
     opposed  to    for financial  and other  reasons    the                                                                    
     now-cancelled Juneau  and Gravina Access  projects, the                                                                    
     Knik Arm Bridge project, the  road to Nome and the road                                                                    
     to Umiat. The  state spent tens of  millions of dollars                                                                    
     on   each  of   these   projects   for  planning,   not                                                                    
     construction,  while   at  the  same  time   the  state                                                                    
     underfunded   existing   road,    bridge,   and   ferry                                                                    
     maintenance and upgrade needs.                                                                                             
     I'd be happy to  provide the committee with information                                                                    
     on some  major road and  ferry projects that I,  as the                                                                    
     former   head  of   the  statewide   non-profit  Alaska                                                                    
     Transportation Priorities Project, have not opposed.                                                                       
     Community  residents  that  attended  hundreds  if  not                                                                    
     thousands of  hours in meetings  and wrote  comments in                                                                    
     support  of these  proposed projects  were disappointed                                                                    
     to learn that the state  could not construct these now-                                                                    
     cancelled  roads   and  bridges  due  to   our  limited                                                                    
     financial resources.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:00:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. EPSTEIN continued:                                                                                                          
     Legislative  committees also  spent hundreds  of member                                                                    
     hours analyzing these  projects and appropriating money                                                                    
     for  planning purposes  only to  learn  later that  the                                                                    
     state could  not support the more  expensive portion of                                                                    
     these projects?construction.                                                                                               
     Given the state's financial situation,  it is a mystery                                                                    
     to  me   why  the  legislature  in   2017  approved  an                                                                    
     appropriation   for  ASTAR   which   starts  this   new                                                                    
     megaproject in  the very same capital  budget that shut                                                                    
     down  the  unaffordable  Knik  Arm  Bridge  and  Juneau                                                                    
     Access  megaprojects.  I  fear that  residents  of  the                                                                    
     North Slope  are being misled into  thinking that ASTAR                                                                    
     will actually  construct gravel roads rather  than just                                                                    
     spend money to plan them.                                                                                                  
     How did  the proposed road  to Nome, for  example, work                                                                    
     out? A  state-funded analysis issued in  2010 projected                                                                    
     that the  road would cost a  whopping $2.3-2.7 billion,                                                                    
     an  amount  too  high  to  justify  lowered  costs  for                                                                    
     purchases  in  currently roadless  communities.  Rather                                                                    
     than  cancel the  project following  that report,  Gov.                                                                    
     Parnell's spokesperson misleadingly  told the Anchorage                                                                    
     Daily News that,  "it's too soon to say  how the actual                                                                    
     construction would  be financed,  and if  private money                                                                    
     might be  involved." That is  very similar to  what DNR                                                                    
     Commissioner Mack  told the Alaska Journal  of Commerce                                                                    
     this  past September:  "Mack acknowledged  $7.3 million                                                                    
     doesn't build  much on  the Slope  and said  that money                                                                    
     will be  used to plan  projects and hopefully  devise a                                                                    
     payment  structure for  what might  actually be  built,                                                                    
     which he  also said  almost certainly won't  come close                                                                    
     to the entire network."                                                                                                    
     When a public  meeting on the road to Nome  was held in                                                                    
     Anchorage,  the participants  were very  concerned that                                                                    
     the road's  extremely high cost  would take  money away                                                                    
     from transportation needs in the Anchorage region.                                                                         
     Finally,  in November  2013,  the  state cancelled  the                                                                    
     road to Nome.                                                                                                              
     How will  the ASTAR  project likely play  out? Probably                                                                    
     much the  same way. The  ASTAR team will  hold meetings                                                                    
     with  Arctic residents  and possibly  others throughout                                                                    
     the  state  to  assess   public  support.  Some  Arctic                                                                    
     residents might  like the idea  of roads,  while others                                                                    
     will oppose them because  of potential negative effects                                                                    
     on  subsistence including  from  non-residents who  may                                                                    
     come to  hunt. Non-Arctic  residents will  be concerned                                                                    
     that   ASTAR   will   take  money   away   from   local                                                                    
     transportation needs.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:03:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. EPSTEIN continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     ASTAR  staff  and consultants,  paid  for  by the  $7.3                                                                    
     million appropriation,  will estimate the  road network                                                                    
     cost.  According to  a February  21,  2018 letter  from                                                                    
     DNR's  Heidi Hansen  to Senator  Giessel, gravel  roads                                                                    
     would cost  $1-2 million per  mile, with  recent Arctic                                                                    
     roads costing  approximately $2  million per  mile. The                                                                    
     state likely will  tell reporters that it  does not yet                                                                    
     know how it will finance  these roads and will add that                                                                    
     private money  from tolls may  be involved;  toll money                                                                    
     can  help  finance  maintenance but  generally  is  not                                                                    
     enough to fund road  construction. As Commissioner Mack                                                                    
     told  the  Alaska Journal  of  Commerce,  "Part of  the                                                                    
     project  is to  understand  and  examine the  financial                                                                    
     opportunities  and one  of the  opportunities may  be a                                                                    
     tolling structure and how that might work."                                                                                
     A  few  years  from  now, after  spending  millions  or                                                                    
     possibly   tens  of   millions   of   dollars  if   the                                                                    
     legislature  appropriates more  money,  the state  will                                                                    
     discover  that the  cost of  ASTAR is  unaffordable and                                                                    
     the   proposed  project   will   be  canceled.   Arctic                                                                    
     residents  who have  gotten their  hopes  up for  year-                                                                    
     round roads  to connect them to  other communities will                                                                    
     be greatly disappointed.                                                                                                   
     So what  key questions  should the legislature  and the                                                                    
     Walker administration  consider at this time?  With due                                                                    
     respect  to Commissioner  Mack,  DNR  has not  provided                                                                    
     strong answers to two key concerns:                                                                                        
     1. What is  the need for year-round roads  on the North                                                                    
     Slope, which will be  tremendously expensive, when much                                                                    
     of  the cost  savings  to communities  can be  achieved                                                                    
     with low cost snow roads? And,                                                                                             
     2.  The  ASTAR  project  will  be  in  competition  for                                                                    
     dollars with  fixing roads and  bridges and  ferries in                                                                    
     more   populated   areas   like   Anchorage,   Wasilla,                                                                    
     Fairbanks, and  Juneau. This project should  be part of                                                                    
     the state's Long Range  Transportation Plan. When we're                                                                    
     talking  about  using   state  dollars,  the  decisions                                                                    
     should be made with statewide input.                                                                                       
     Thank you for your  attention to this testimony. Please                                                                    
     let   me  know   if  I   can  provide   any  additional                                                                    
     information or answer any questions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON remarked:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     ... I share some of your  concerns for sure.  There was                                                                    
     nothing  I heard  in today's  testimony, however,  that                                                                    
     made any  promises or  assurances.   Do you  agree with                                                                    
     that?                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. EPSTEIN  explained there has  been a history of  planning and                                                               
permitting for  major road  and transportation  projects; because                                                               
millions of  dollars are  spent, the  public has  "an expectation                                                               
that things are going to happen,  and we've seen it with the Knik                                                               
Arm  Bridge.    Even  though  the,  both  the  governor  and  the                                                               
legislature have  canceled that project, there  are still members                                                               
of the  public and others  who are very interested  in continuing                                                               
to pursue that despite the fiscal realities of the state."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked Ms. Epstein  whether she would support                                                               
the project  if it were privately  constructed at no cost  to the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  EPSTEIN   said  her  support   would  depend  on   the  road                                                               
construction details of the plan.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH observed the  Dalton Highway was constructed                                                               
privately as  a support  road during  construction of  the Trans-                                                               
Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and  is now a public road providing                                                               
access  to  Utqiagvik.    He  urged  witnesses  to  consider  the                                                               
benefits,    offsets,   and    positive   aspects    of   surface                                                               
transportation,  and  opportunities  that   may  be  provided  by                                                               
private initiative.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:08:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO described the  [Roads to Resources - Road                                                               
to   Tanana]   project.      He   referred   to   Ms.   Epstein's                                                               
characterization of the road as a "primitive road."  He asked:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Is  that, was  that  an  official classification,  that                                                                    
     that was a primitive  road, [because] there's a portion                                                                    
     of that  road that goes through  corporation land which                                                                    
     was off limits,  you know, until they  had approval for                                                                    
     it  ...  I'm not  too  sure  about the  primitive  road                                                                    
     designation from,  say, Tofty out to  the Tanana River.                                                                    
     ... Or was  that more just, just based off  a couple of                                                                    
     the different routes that people had had?                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:08:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. EPSTEIN expressed her understanding the work was an upgrade                                                                 
of an existing route that "some" have characterized as a                                                                        
primitive road.  She added:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     ... the point I was making  was the lower cost to build                                                                    
     that road -  which did come in less  than was predicted                                                                    
     - was  in part a  result of there  being a, a  route in                                                                    
     some  fashion along  that  ... in  that  area that  was                                                                    
     existing.   So,  that's very  different than  an Ambler                                                                    
     road  where it's  basically more  or less  a greenfield                                                                    
     road,  and some  of these  roads would  be that  way as                                                                    
     well, although  the conditions on the  North Slope are,                                                                    
     of course, flatter, so that  would make it cheaper than                                                                    
     Ambler.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:10:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
ASTAR__DNR_PPT.pdf HRES 4/11/2018 1:00:00 PM
ASTAR
ASTAR 2017 funding request 2 HFIN_SB23.pdf HRES 4/11/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 23
ASTAR SRES Questions 2.9.18.pdf HRES 4/11/2018 1:00:00 PM
ADN Snow Road Article 3.16.18.pdf HRES 4/11/2018 1:00:00 PM
ASTAR TWS Testimony.docx HRES 4/11/2018 1:00:00 PM
ASTAR