Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/18/1994 05:00 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                           
                        January 18, 1994                                       
                            5:00 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Richard Foster, Chair                                         
  Representative Gary Davis, Vice-Chair                                        
  Representative Eldon Mulder                                                  
  Representative Al Vezey                                                      
  Representative Bill Hudson                                                   
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Curt Menard                                                   
  Representative Jerry Mackie                                                  
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  HB 184:   "An Act making a special appropriation to the                      
            Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                 
            to determine the cost of acquiring real property                   
            within the right-of-way of the proposed extension                  
            of the Alaska Railroad from Eielson Air Force Base                 
            to the Alaska-Canada border; and providing for an                  
            effective date."                                                   
                                                                               
            MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                               
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  Room 501, State Capitol                                                      
  Juneau, Alaska   99811                                                       
  465-3743                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Sponsor of SSHB 184.                                    
                                                                               
  SCHUYLER STEVENS, Director                                                   
  Design & Construction                                                        
  Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                           
  3132 Channel Drive                                                           
  Juneau, Alaska   99801-7898                                                  
  465-6977                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Available to answer questions regarding                 
                       SSHB 184.                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 184                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: APPRO: AK RAILROAD EXTENSION STUDY                              
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES,Therriault,Olberg                        
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  02/25/93       456    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/25/93       456    (H)   TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE                          
  04/06/93              (H)   TRA AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  04/13/93              (H)   TRA AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  04/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                      
  04/15/93              (H)   TRA AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  04/15/93              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                      
  04/20/93              (H)   TRA AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  01/18/94              (H)   TRA AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-1, SIDE A                                                            
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.  He                    
  introduced REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES as the sponsor of                  
  SSHB 184, and thanked her for attending, adding that he                      
  hoped the committee would move SSHB 184 out.                                 
  Number 017                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES introduced SSHB 184 by stating:                         
                                                                               
  "This legislation is to determine the cost of acquiring                      
  property within the right-of-way of the proposed extension                   
  of the Alaska Railroad from Eielson AFB to the Canadian                      
  border.  The status of land ownership along the proposed                     
  corridor was established in an earlier study.  The federal                   
  government enacted the Alaska Railroad Enabling Act of 1914                  
  to ensure rail development within the state of Alaska.  The                  
  enabling legislation has led directly to the recommendation                  
  of development of a railroad extension from Eielson AFB to                   
  the Canadian border.  The Railroad Act of 1914 also was very                 
  specific in setting aside the long-term goal of railroad                     
  construction in accordance with settlement patterns in                       
  Alaska and development of Alaska's resources.                                
                                                                               
  "Railroad development today is every bit as important for                    
  the same reasons that existed in 1914.  Today, Alaska                        
  settlement patterns are expanded from those in that                          
  particular era.  However, it is significant that the Alaska                  
  railroad has helped maintain approximately 3/4 of the                        
  state's population along the railbelt from Whittier/Seward                   
  area to Anchorage and then to Fairbanks/Eielson area.                        
                                                                               
  "Alaska will benefit from railroad expansion, when it is                     
  built using the corridor we're establishing in this House                    
  bill.  Through its proposed incorporation into a                             
  transcontinental railroad link, through the provision of                     
  rail transportation to the ports of Alaska, we'll make                       
  resource development possible in the area suitable for                       
  production, which have until now been marginal because of                    
  the high transportation cost.                                                
                                                                               
  "Studies on a proposed transcontinental railroad link have                   
  developed a common denominator on transportation coming into                 
  Alaska, originating east of the Rockies and are thus                         
  candidates for the proposed Alaska railroad extension and                    
  transcontinental rail link.  The commonly accepted figure                    
  for goods originating east of the Rockies is 24 percent of                   
  all goods received in Alaska.  The most recent figures that                  
  I can validate were from 1978, and I am certain that they                    
  will continue to be significant.  The status of land                         
  ownership along the proposed rail corridor has been                          
  established in an earlier study.                                             
                                                                               
  "The gist of this legislation is to determine the cost of                    
  acquiring railroad property within the right-of-way of the                   
  proposed extension of the Alaska Railroad form Eielson AFB                   
  to the Canadian border.  The right-of-way will be amended to                 
  be a multi-modal land use corridor for both pipelines and                    
  transmission lines.                                                          
                                                                               
  "In summation, opening the multi-modal land use corridors                    
  from east to west is a critical event in the maturation of                   
  our transportation economy and can provide inexpensive                       
  transportation of our resources to the place where value can                 
  be added, the products enhanced, or delivered to the                         
  ultimate destination point."                                                 
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES invited questions from the committee.                   
                                                                               
  Number 093                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES mentioned two other bills she was                       
  sponsoring which involve putting rail across Alaska.  One of                 
  them, HB 182, delineates a railroad corridor from Fairbanks                  
  to Nome or into the Seward Peninsula.  She said this bill                    
  passed out of the House Transportation Committee last                        
  session and was scheduled to be heard in House Finance                       
  Committee on Friday, January 21, 1994.                                       
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that the other bill, HB 183,                     
  seeks the appropriation of funds to delineate the above                      
  corridor.                                                                    
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES expressed confidence that there is a                    
  lot of support for having rail east-west in Alaska, and to                   
  provide controlled access to the state's people and                          
  resources.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 105                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER thanked Representative James for her interest                   
  in railroads and their expansion throughout Alaska.                          
                                                                               
  Number 108                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY expressed confusion over whether the                    
  bill before him was the sponsor substitute for HB 184 or                     
  whether it was the original bill.                                            
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that it was the sponsor                       
  substitute for HB 184, as written on the bill face.                          
                                                                               
  Number 120                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked Representative James if she                    
  knew what the width of the proposed right-of-way would be.                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she believed the width was 300                     
  feet, to which other committee members concurred after                       
  reading the text of the bill.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MULDER commended Representative James'                        
  efforts.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 135                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER made note of the Department of Transportation's                 
  (DOT) position paper, and asked SCHUYLER STEVENS if he had                   
  anything he wanted to add.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 137                                                                   
                                                                               
  SCHUYLER STEVENS, Director, Design & Construction,                           
  Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF),                 
  indicated he had nothing to add other than that the                          
  Department was entirely supportive of SSHB 184 and would be                  
  able to do the job for the monies sought by the bill.                        
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to move SSHB 184 out                     
  with individual recommendations.                                             
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER asked if there was any objection.  There was                    
  none.  Chair Foster declared SSHB 184 to be moved out of the                 
  House Transportation Committee.                                              
  Number 143                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER announced that on Thursday, January 20, 1994,                   
  SJR 29 would be discussed.                                                   
  Number 200                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON notified the committee that the                        
  problem addressed by HB 237, which he was sponsoring, may                    
  have been solved and that the need for the bill was                          
  hopefully moot.                                                              
  Number 210                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER expressed the desire to hold a future House                     
  Transportation Committee meeting in one of the area                          
  communities, thereby utilizing the Marine Highway system and                 
  local airways.  The committee members expressed enthusiasm                   
  for this idea.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 249                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR FOSTER adjourned the meeting at 5:26 p.m.                              

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