Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/28/1996 02:37 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE February 28, 1996 2:37 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Gary Davis, Chairman Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair Representative Tom Brice Representative Don Long MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Jeanette James Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Bill Williams COMMITTEE CALENDAR Presentation by the Port of Bellingham HOUSE BILL NO. 517 "An Act relating to records and hearings of the Department of Public Safety; relating to a temporary permit to drive a motor vehicle; relating to regulation of motor vehicles and commercial motor vehicles; relating to renewal of a driver's license by mail; increasing the property damage amounts for proof of financial responsibility and proof of motor vehicle eligibility in order to lawfully operate a motor vehicle in the state; relating to certain notifications in accidents involving property damage; relating to motor vehicle registration procedures; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD *HOUSE BILL NO. 518 "An Act exempting certain persons engaged in selling or servicing certain vehicles from overtime wage requirements." - BILL POSTPONED *HOUSE BILL NO. 462 "An Act relating to the offenses of driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit to a chemical test of breath or blood; amending Rules 6 and 32.1, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD *HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 Providing for a contest among the elementary school students of Alaska to name the new ferry of the Alaska marine highway system. - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 517 SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLES: REGULATION & INSURANCE SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/96 2750 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/14/96 2751 (H) TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY 02/21/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/21/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 517 SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLES: REGULATION & INSURANCE SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/96 2750 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/14/96 2751 (H) TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY 02/21/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/21/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 518 SHORT TITLE: OVERTIME COMP FOR VEHICLE SALES PEOPLE SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/15/96 2776 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/15/96 2776 (H) TRANSPORTATION, LABOR & COMMERCE 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 462 SHORT TITLE: DRUNK DRIVING: EVIDENCE & SENTENCING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/02/96 2606 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/02/96 2606 (H) TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HCR 29 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT CONTEST TO NAME NEW FERRY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/12/96 2721 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/12/96 2722 (H) TRANSPORTATION, STATE AFFAIRS 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER MICHAEL J. BRENNAN, President Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry Harbor Center Building 1801 Roeder Avenue, Number 140 Bellingham, Washington 98225 Telephone: (306) 734-1330 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on the Port of Bellingham BOB HILPERT, Director of Marine Operations Port of Bellingham P.O. Box 1737 Bellingham, Washington 98227-1727 Telephone: (206) 676-2500 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on the Port of Bellingham JAMES DARLING, Executive Director Port of Bellingham 625 Cornwall Avenue Bellingham, Washington 98225-5017 Telephone: (306) 671-6411 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on the Port of Bellingham JACK MEYERS, Vice-President and General Manager Maritime Contractors, Incorporated 201 Harris Avenue Bellingham, Washington 98225 Telephone: (306) 647-0080 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on the Port of Bellingham ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-7, SIDE A Number 000 The House Transportation Standing Committee was called to order by Chairman Gary Davis at 2:37 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives G. Davis, Masek, Brice, and Long. A quorum was present. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS announced that the agenda was the presentation by the Port of Bellingham. He said the other bills on the agenda would be postponed to another meeting due to time constraints. Number 058 MICHAEL J. BRENNAN, President, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, introduced the other representatives from the Port of Bellingham. These representatives included Sheryl Hershey, Member, Chamber Executive Board, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Personnel Manager, Bellingham Cold Storage Company; Dick Wells, Senior Vice-President, U.S. Bank of Washington and President, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Fred Sexton, President, Bellingham Regional Economic Development Council; Ginny Benton, Commissioner, Port of Bellingham; Jack Meyers, Vice-President and General Manager of Maritime Contractors, Incorporated; Jim Darling, Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham; Scott Walker, Commissioner, Port of Bellingham; and Bob Hilpert, Director of Marine Terminals. Number 149 BOB HILPERT, Director of Marine Terminals, showed various slides from the Port of Bellingham. The first slide was titled, "Bellingham Cruise Terminal Comparative Passenger and Auto Statistics," this slide showed that almost 39,000 people in 1992 sailed in the 73 trips and a little less than 30,000 people sailed in 1995 in 53 trips. Number 249 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of a sailing vessel destined for the San Juan Islands and then on to Vancouver Island. He said this is a daily passenger route. He said there is also a sailing vessel that goes into the San Juan Islands on sailing ventures. Number 273 MR. HILPERT showed a slide title, "Demographics of Fairhaven Transportation Center (Bellingham Cruise Terminal)," which showed the head count of people who moved through the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, which is now known as Fairhaven Transportation Center since the addition of the Fairhaven Train Station. He said this slide goes from 1992 when roughly 65,000 people went through the terminal to 1995 when nearly 86,000 people went through the terminal. He said services have increased due to several services including the Zodiac, a sailing vessel built in 1923, which was the old San Francisco pilot vessel; the Victoria Star which operates into Vancouver Island; the San Juan Island Shuttle Express which operates into the San Juans; and other smaller vessel launch services and salmon charters. MR. HILPERT said Amtrak opened operations in 1995 which directly tied the train services with Bellingham Cruise Terminal and the Alaska Marine Highway System. He said Greyhound has also started service, as well as other bus carriers. He said there are various special events, not including when naval ships call or the "Ski to Sea" event. Number 384 MR. HILPERT presented a slide showing the first day that AmTrak arrived, on May 26, 1995. Number 398 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of Fairhaven Transportation Center from Harris Street. Number 414 MR. HILPERT showed a slide titled, "Major Events Fairhaven Transportation Center," focused on the events of 1995. These events included the construction which began on the former Pacific American fisheries headquarters. He said $2 million and $2.25 million of Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) money was obtained for this construction, almost $1.2 of Port of Bellingham funds, for a total of nearly $3.9 million. He said Northwest Stage Lines as well as Trailways began operations in January of 1995, Greyhound started business in March of 1995, AmTrak started in May of 1995, and Fairhaven Transportation Center's grand opening was in July of 1995. Number 473 MR. HILPERT showed another slide with the same title, "Major Events Fairhaven Transportation Center," and said in October of 1995 a truck route was made connecting old Fairhaven Parkway and forming a direct connection with Interstate 5. He said this route was funded by Washington State Department of Transportation, City of Bellingham, and the Port of Bellingham for a total of $750,000. He said, during the summer of 1995, Fairhaven Transportation Center won a merit award from the American Institute of Architects for professional excellence in the design of the building. In January of 1996, AmTrak announced that Mt. Baker International, from Seattle to Vancouver, was the run of the year. He said the seven month bookings topped 56,000 people. He said AmTrak is discussing the possibility of adding one more train to this service, and added that currently there is one daily train doing this route. In February of 1996, Maritime Contractors and the Port agreed to extend their dock at Fairhaven Shipyard to handle deeper draft vessels and to handle 600 foot vessels. Number 566 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of an aerial view of Fairhaven Transportation Center. He pointed out the AmTrak station, the Bellingham Cruise Terminal and where the Columbia was docked. Number 586 MR. HILPERT showed a pan view of Fairhaven Transportation Center and pointed out the Maritime Contractors, Incorporated facilities. Number 600 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of the opening of Fairhaven Transportation Center. Number 611 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of the second level of the Fairhaven Transportation Center. Number 622 MR. HILPERT showed a slide of the second level down to the main floor of the Fairhaven Transportation Center. He said Fairhaven Transportation Center is booked for special events, such as weddings, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Number 653 MR. HILPERT showed the final slide, which was Columbia sailing off into the sunset. Number 678 JAMES DARLING, Executive Director, Port of Bellingham, was next to speak. He said it is apparent that the people of Bellingham and all of Whatcom County really support this linkage with Alaska. He said $13 million of local money is invested in the Fairhaven Transportation Center and another $2 million is invested in the street connector and the train station itself. He said the Port of Bellingham has a wonderful working relationship with the Alaska Marine Highway System. He said it is a contractual relationship, with occasional differences, but that is has always been professional and the Alaska Marine Highway System does the state of Alaska justice. He invited questions from the committee members. Number 748 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE commented that there is no more beautiful town in the state of Washington than the city of Bellingham. Number 777 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said it is always beneficial to have a presentation on the Port of Bellingham, especially with new Transportation Committee Members. He said he was reminded of some of the ferry proposals for the ferry system in Southeast Alaska. He said private enterprises are looking at extending services further out of the main hub. He mentioned the similarity of when the Port of Bellingham won the contract, services went from a major city, Seattle, into a smaller community. He mentioned a tour he received this summer. Number 867 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS mentioned that the city of Bellingham reminds the legislature of Bette Cato as she moved there after she retired. He added a personal reference to friends of his, Bob and Judy Walston, who attempted to retire in Bellingham but have ended up running the terminal in Bellingham. He said Bellingham is a great place and lamented the fact that he hadn't spent more time there when he lived in Longview. Number 968 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK said she chairs the House International Trade and Tourism Committee, and asked how much money is funded through the private sector and how much is funded through the state in regards to construction, maintenance and operations. MR. DARLING said the ferry terminal was constructed completely by local dollars. He said the ticketing for the Alaska Marine Highway System is contracted and is a break even venture. He said the debt service on the building is paid for locally. He said the train station received $2.75 million of the $3.8 million from state and federal sources. He said the third remaining of the capital costs was paid for locally and is being recovered through commercial leases such as the Espresso Stand, Travel Agency and possibly an Outfitter Service. He said the ISTEA Fund was received from the federal government as a result of it being the only ferry/train link in the United States. Number 1102 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK remarked that Alaska is a young state and still developing. She said it must look at what other areas, such as the city of Bellingham, to see what they are doing. She thanked them for coming and sharing information about what they are doing. MR. DARLING said they would like Alaska to have a physical presence in Bellingham through a tourism effort or an economic trade development effort. He said the city of Bellingham does a lot of work in the tourism business as well as in commerce and industry. He said a lot of firms in Whatcom County do work up in Alaska and there is a strong connection. MR. HILPERT said they would supply an office, if Alaska supplied a representative. Number 1182 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS commented that more people probably could not be accommodated unless there were more sailings. Number 1213 MR. DARLING said when the booking is opened in December, the summer sailings are usually filled within a two week period. He said it is hard to get space on the ferries in the summer. He said the ticketing costs of that run was matched with the cost of operating that run, so no additional state funds were needed to support that particular run. Number 1244 REPRESENTATIVE DON LONG made a comment regarding the number of people and asked for an explanation. Number 1259 MR. HILPERT said those were times when two sailings a week were being run, he said 73 sailings occurred. Number 1280 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked how the ISTEA money was obtained. Number 1287 MR. DARLING said the money was obtained from a special category of federal money relating to the development of historic structures, "a value added transportation input" on a historic structure. He said because there were multiple modes of transportation it put the funding for Fairhaven Transportation Center on the top of the list. Number 1315 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked if was difficult to obtain this ISTEA funding. Number 1328 MR. DARLING said it was not because Fairhaven Transportation Center qualified in so many ways and especially because of the marine/train link. He said the Council of Governments, which represents all of Whatcom County and municipalities in the county, supported this proposal. Number 1362 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked if there were other companies for the same type of grants under the ISTEA Fund. Number 1370 MR. DARLING said under the historical context there were not many. He said Fairhaven Transportation Center was the old Pacific American Fisheries Headquarters which was the largest salmon packer in the world and did all their business in Alaska. Number 1400 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information about Maritime Contractors, Incorporated. Number 1415 JACK MEYERS, Vice-President and General Manager, Maritime Contractors, Incorporated, said it is a full service shipyard and the new construction on the facilities has been completed. He said they are in discussions to construct the new freedom jumbo ferries. He said they are constructing the steel portion of the car deck and all of the superstructure on the passenger deck including the solarium, pilot deck, stacks, in (indiscernible), rudder of all three ferries. He said this work should be completed within two and a half years. He said his company has completed buoys and buoy tenders for the Coast Guard, and completed a remote control (indiscernible) barge, 260 feet in length for the Navy. He said the main industry of his company is repair work and the extended dock will give his company a lot more business. Number 1452 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked what the company's capacity was in terms of the length of vessels. Number 1464 MR. MEYERS said it depended on draft, he said the largest vessel would be a 378 feet Coast Guard vessel. He said they would be able to take a (indiscernible) destroyer with a 30 foot draft and (indiscernible) that is 565 feet. Number 1481 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS clarified that they do not have dry dock capability. He thanked the representatives from Bellingham. ADJOURNMENT As there was no further business to come before the House Transportation Standing Committee, Chairman Gary Davis adjourned the meeting at 3:03 p.m.