Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/28/1996 02:37 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                              
 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                                                              
 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                                                              
 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                                                              
 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                     
 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                     
 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                     
 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                     
 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            
 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              
 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.                  
 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.                                                      

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