Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/13/1996 01:25 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE March 13, 1996 1:25 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Gary Davis, Chairman Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair Representative Jeanette James Representative Tom Brice Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Bill Williams Representative Don Long MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR Overview of the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program by Commissioner Joseph L. Perkins, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities *HOUSE BILL NO. 440 "An Act relating to motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle registration fees; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 440 (TRA) FROM COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 440 SHORT TITLE: VEHICLE REGISTRATION & REGISTRATION FEES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/96 2507 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/22/96 2508 (H) TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE 03/13/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER JOSEPH L. PERKINS, Commissioner Office of the Commissioner Department of Transportation and Public Facilities 3132 Channel Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801-7898 Telephone: (907) 465-3900 POSITION STATEMENT: Overview of the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program MIKE McKINNON, Chief of Planning Southeast Region Department of Transportation and Public Facilities 6860 Glacier Highway Juneau, Alaska 99801-7999 Telephone: (907) 465-1774 POSITION STATEMENT: Overview of the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program ROGER POPPE, Legislative Aide for Representative Kott Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 432 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-6882 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 440 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief Driver Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0020 Telephone: (907) 465-4361 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 440 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-9, SIDE A Number 000 The House Transportation Standing Committee was called to order by Chairman Gary Davis at 1:25 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives G. Davis, Masek, Sanders, and Long. A quorum was present. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS announced the agenda was an overview of the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program by Commissioner Joseph L. Perkins, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and HB 440 an act relating to motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle registration fees; and providing for an effective date. Overview of the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) by Commissioner Joseph L. Perkins, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Number 0048 JOSEPH L. PERKINS, Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF), began his presentation by introducing representatives from the DOT/PF including; Martin Ott, Planning Chief from the Northern Region, Mike McKinnon, Planning Chief from the Southeast Region, Tom Brigham, Chief of Statewide Planning, Gary Hayden, System Director for the Marine Highway System, and Carol Taylor who manages the various components of the STIP program. Number 0124 COMMISSIONER PERKINS referred to a document titled, "Statewide Transportation Improvement Program 1996-1998," and said he would discuss how it was developed. He said at the beginning of the process, a needs list was developed and published last October. This list contained proposals which were submitted by various organizations in the state, including an Aviation Improvement Program (AIP), a six year construction program called STIP, capital improvement for facilities and a new ports and harbors program. He added that the only ports and harbor funding the state receives is from a core match. He concluded that the needs list included the four areas that DOT/PF is responsible for and represented $5 billion to $6 billion of state needs. Number 0189 Representative James joined the committee meeting at 1:27 p.m. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said upon publication of this needs list, public comments were received and those comments and needs list were eventually incorporated into the STIP. He said STIP is a three year spending plan for federal highway funds and federal transit administration funds provided to the state of Alaska. He said these funds are matched, generally, with the state contributing 10 percent and the federal dollars contributing 90 percent. He said the entire state highway program is based on the federal program and added that Alaska and Rhode Island are the only two states that set up their program in this manner. Number 0353 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the STIP is fiscally constrained by the federal government funding. He said the state currently receives around $220 million per year from the federal government, with a total amount of $240 million after adding the state match. He said these numbers are good for fiscal year 1996 and fiscal year 1997. He said in 1998, the STIP document assumes that this funding will remain the same, but the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which is the federal law giving the state money, runs out in 1997. He said reauthorization of the ISTEA will occur in 1998 and added that he has no idea what that amount will be. He said the best the state can hope for is a loss of $10 million to $20 million a year because of the shrinking amount of total federal transportation money. Representative Brice joined the committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the total amount of federal highway spending is going to go down, so even if the state maintains their current budget allocation the state will still get less money. Number 0460 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS clarified that the "years" the commissioner was referring to represented "state fiscal years". Representative Williams joined the committee meeting at 1:31 p.m. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the 1996 federal fiscal year will run until October 1, 1996. He said by October 1, 1997, the new ISTEA law must be in place. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said fiscal year 1998 funds are questionable. He said the numbers in STIP were based on these funds. He said in the back of STIP, a preliminary 1996 to 1998 program was included. He said this program will be revised through the public process, but that if the DOT/PF had to present a six year program, this would be the program. He said the development of this document was based on the Governor's 1995, Transportation Initiative which he presented in June at a speech in Anchorage. He said this document follows federal guidelines as the state does not have much flexibility in their format due to federal regulations. Number 0633 COMMISSIONER PERKINS pointed to three categories; National Highway System (NHS), Community Transportation Program (CTP) and Trails and Recreational Access for Alaska (TRAAK) and said that Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) is the only category that has a specific amount. He said the reason for this is that Anchorage has a population of over 200,000 and qualifies as a metropolitan planning organization. He said the metropolitan planning organization is handled differently in Alaska than anywhere else in the country. He said, for the other 49 states, a formula is included in ISTEA which calculates funds for metropolitan planning organizations and the total state program is distributed according to this formula. He said Alaska has received an exception to this formula, in Alaska DOT/PF establishes the number, for the amount of funding given to Anchorage, in the form of AMATS. Number 0710 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said, once AMATS receives funding, it then goes through an elaborate procedure where projects are developed and it is incorporated into a document called a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). He said, currently, Anchorage is developing their list of projects. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS clarified that this funding level is set each year for the AMATS. Number 0760 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said AMATS has asked for continuity in the funding level and said he would explain the formula that DOT/PF uses later in his presentation. He said the AMATS developed TIP will be given to the DOT/PF and will be added as an addendum to the STIP document and then sent to the Federal Highway Administration for their approval and said the AMATS system is federally chartered and federal set-up to work that way. He said the AMATS policy committee, the final voice on what happens in Anchorage, consists of the mayor, two assembly members, a DOT/PF member and a member from the Department of Environmental Conservation, who helps assist with air quality issues. Number 0848 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the Governor's Transportation Initiative called for putting money into construction and reconstruction of the state's national highway system. He said the DOT/PF allocated $120 million, of the $220 million funding, into the national highway system. He said the DOT/PF recognized the need to work on community roads and improve communities, allocating $80 million for this purpose. He said the DOT/PF allocated $20 million for TRAAK programs which are mandatory projects. He said TRAAK programs are being done in a coordinated manner in order to develop the right types of projects. Number 0904 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said Congressional legislation, completed last fall, mandated a national highway system encompassing the specific identification of NHS routes. He said the state of Alaska has 4,000 miles of roads that are under the NHS, 2,000 miles of which are surface roads and the other 2,000 are marine highway system miles. He referred to a map titled, "National Highway System," which depicted those miles. He said this NHS will be the key reference and the use of the intra-state highway reference will not be used. He said, as changes are made to the federal highway system, the NHS will be the only roads that the federal government will fund. He said the NHS is where the federal interest is and where the main routes of communications lie. Number 0980 REPRESENTATIVE JEANETTE JAMES clarified that the changes being made to ISTEA might result in funding for only the NHS. She added that, by concentrating all of the states money on the NHS, the state might lose the ability to do community roads. Number 1026 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said, in this Congressional reauthorization, the federal government will stop funding for community projects and the concept of the NHS is now being analyzed. He referred to a proposal by United States Senator Connie Mack, which proposes to fund only the most important parts of the NHS in order to reduce the amount of the federal gas tax for everyone in the nation by the amount of money saved. He said, under this proposal, the states can levy their own gas tax if they want to do community roads projects. He said this proposal has support in the lower 48 states, but would be disastrous to the state of Alaska. He said as the federal government drops out of the community road projects possibly within 10 to 12 years, the national focus will be on the NHS. Number 1125 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that qualifying for federal funds might not be that big of an advantage due to the imposed federal rules. Number 1157 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE questioned, if the focus on the federal government will be on the NHS, and we have the ability to do both the NHS and the community road projects now, which we might not be able to do later, why should we place such a major emphasis on the NHS. Number 1222 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said there are a few reasons for the current DOT/PF focus. He said a study was been done of the NHS in Alaska and what needs to be done to bring it up to minimal standards requires. He said an expenditure of $1.7 billion would be needed and that it will take the state 14 years to accomplish this task. He said Alaska is being looked at very closely by the other states who are lobbying for transportation funding which is $20 billion and that the state of Alaska receives more money than 22 other states. He said, if Alaska received their proportional share of the funding, the state would receive $30 million to $40 million resulting in a reduction of $180 million in total dollars. Alaska is saying that inter-state programs in other states are completed and they are now maintaining those roads and that Alaska has not finished building roads and the state needs $1.7 billion to spend on our road system of which the state has allocated $120 million a year. He said, if money is allocated into community roads, it will hurt the states chances to retain the current amount of funding. He said the federal government will, eventually, not fund community roads and the state of Alaska could lose a considerable amount of money in this reauthorization. Number 1325 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said he doubted if federal funding were not used whether the state could develop a program bringing the federal highway routes up to standard. He added that the NHS route upgrades are expensive projects and that we have left the worst projects until last. He said the necessary repairs to the Seward Highway are expensive, but necessary. He said the Administration's position, in their federal strategy, is that we need to get our main lines of communications fixed up, rather than putting this money into city street programs. He said the lower 48 states do not understand putting money into community road projects as their community roads are funded by the municipalities. Number 1383 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the projects, reflected in the STIP, are the projects that the DOT/PF has selected to be constructed or designed in this three program based on the perceived need. He said need was based on the road condition and safety hazards. He said the safety factor is a major issue as many lives are lost due to the danger of the Alaskan roads. He said the NHS includes the Parks, the Glenn, the Seward, et cetera. He said more money from the NHS system is going into the Marine Highway System because the vehicles are getting older and work is being done on the ships and a new ship is being purchased under the NHS program. Number 1463 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the next chart, titled, "NHS FY 96-98 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program," shows where the projects are located. Number 1505 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS referred to the second, third and fourth phases and asked if the only thing left on the 1996 project was construction. Number 1520 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said, despite some "start up", most of the phases referred to construction. Number 1529 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked what the procedure was if one of the projects was not able to be worked on. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the DOT/PF would add another project to take the delayed projects place, utilizing all the allocated money. Number 1568 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES supported increased safety for highways. She asked what work was going to be done on the Parks Highway and the Seward Highway within the next three years. Number 1605 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the Parks Highway has, essentially, the right grades and alignment and was completed in 1973, so it is a recently constructed road. He said there are adequate shoulders on the Parks Highway and added that the DOT/PF has gone in and done spot fixes for safety and repairs. He mentioned a project in Nenana Canyon to widen the road, a rehabilitation work occurring down in Big Lake, and a considerable amount of work in Wasilla to turn the road into a dual lane road with or without frontage roads. Number 1653 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the roads that are in the worst shape include the Glenn Highway which was built by the road commission in the 1940s. He said this highway has a high death count, landslides, curves down to 20 miles per hour in some places, and a lack of road shoulders. He said the Seward Highway has three or four projects that need to occur including Canyon Creek and some curves that need to be altered. He said those two highways are in the worst shape. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said work on the Dalton Highway is included in the STIP and that it is an important highway because it links the Arctic Ocean. He said the Dalton Highway was not originally included in the national highway system, but through the Governor and the Congressional delegation it was added. He said it is an important road and adds about 500 miles to the NHS. He said the when the federal government allocates funding based on mileage of NHS this 500 miles will derive more funds, which do not necessarily have to be used for the Dalton Highway. Number 1740 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said there are many roads in the state which are not included in the NHS, including the Taylor, Steese Highway, Edgerton Highway, Elliot and Denali Highways. He said these roads are included in the community roads program. Number 1772 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said, in the community transportation and economic development program, communities were asked to nominate projects. Grading criteria was developed, the criteria was reviewed for public comment, and the nominated projects were then graded according to need and incorporated into the needs list. The needs list was opened up for public comment, and the projects were regraded and incorporated into the draft STIP. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the projects were given to the regions with their own DOT/PF boards who graded them and established priority one and priority two projects. He said there were also priority threes and fours, but that these projects did not make it out of the region. He said the priority one and twos were taken to Juneau and an official board convened, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, each regional director; from the Central, Northern and Southeast regions, the director of the Marine Highway System as well as Tom Brigham the chief of statewide planning. He said the board derived a statewide list and some projects did not score as well as people wanted. He said the public comment from the original needs list was taken into consideration and the board regraded the projects based on the community submittal, legislative comments and public comment. Number 1915 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK asked when the community transportation program started. Number 1939 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the CTP was part of the Governor's transportation initiative where DOT/PF allocated $80 million. He said Whittier Road was taken out of the CTP and placed into the NHS, allowing for more money to be spent in other places. He said the Thane Road ferry dock in Juneau down to the rock dump is now an NHS road because a new pier is be constructed to bring oil and everything else in to town. He said the Parks Highway to the Nenana Port is an intermodal connection as it accesses the Tanana and the Yukon which allows NHS money to be applied in this section. Number 1998 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS asked if the TRAAK program was going to be discussed. Number 2009 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said he would discuss the TRAAK program later. He said 19 percent of the $80 million funding went to state highways not on the NHS, the Taylor and the Steese highways. He said if Alaska develops a state highway system these highways should be included in that program. He referred to a handout titled, "Draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, Briefing to the House Transportation Committee, March 13, 1996," and referred to charts showing how much money went to transit and remote projects and so on. He said the transit, remote and urban projects were scored separately. He said the Anchorage projects were scored and then all the dollars were added within the six period, then divided by six, deriving a figure of $17.5 million. He said that figure plus a $5.5 million allocation gave the city of Anchorage $23 million, representing $1 million more than they had received. Number 2075 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said that when ISTEA passed, many sections were included such as safety requirements, motorcycle helmet law, and money which needed to be spent on roadside enhancements. He said, by the federal rules, the state has to spend, by 1996 and 1997, $40.4 million on roadside enhancements. He said the state, in order to accomplish this requirement, developed the TRAAK program which is a multi-agency effort. Corridor studies of the roads are being conducted to establish where there are needs for a trail side parking area. He said the studies also establish that the state park and DNR campgrounds and such enhancements as bike trails. He said the main goal is to get everyone together on TRAAK, such as the Forest Service and Parks, so that the projects that are built support an established need. Number 2181 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if the enhancements include parking area and asked if the park would be responsible for that. Number 2210 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said, if the state of Alaska, can equate the project as something that is close to the road and part of a transportation enhancement then DOT/PF can do it. He said recently enhancements were done on the church in Unalakleet, which will be completed because it was already started, but said Kramer's field in Fairbanks project was limited to just constructing an access road as the two barns were deemed non-transportation related. Number 2254 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if the TRAAK money can be used to upgrade existing facilities or whether it must be used for new projects. Number 2264 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the funding can be used for existing facilities, but stressed it the funding must be used near the road such as a parking for the trailhead. He said this is why it is a multi-agency project. He said the state of Alaska will develop parking areas and will receive reassurance from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that they will upgrade their trail. He referred to a project in Summit Lake where bike trails are being put in to connect the Granite Creek campground with the Canyon Creek bridge. He said the Forest Service is going to go in and increase the number of campground sites in Granite Creek as a result of this enhancement. Number 2345 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said DOT/PF is trying to determine the number and location of rest stops. He said the state has reached a point where rest rooms, public pay phones, in a well lighted spot with water must be built. He said nice welcome signs will be implemented as well as interpretive signs to enhance the value for tourists and the residents of Alaska. Number 2406 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS asked for information about the allocated money for Ketchikan. Number 2471 MIKE McKINNON, Chief of Planning, Southeast Region, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, said the DOT/PF has about $800,000 in transportation enhancement funds. TAPE 96-9, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS clarified that the $20 million dollar TRAAK funds are built into the community improvement project. He said it is misleading in the draft as there are three sections; NHS, CTP and TRAAK, but the breakdown is only on the NHS and CTP. Number 0036 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said, on page 26 of the STIP document, there is a listing of TRAAK projects. Number 0060 MR. McKINNON said Ketchikan has an unusual circumstance, because Tongass Avenue and the associated bridge projects are so integral with the larger Tongass project and as a result it is listed differently. He said usually TRAAK projects tend to be listed as independent projects. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if there was more than $20 million in funding for the TRAAK projects. Number 0085 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said yes, if you count the projects that include NHS funding such as the Tongass project. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS corrected his previous statement, and said the CTP was incorporated into the TRAAK. COMMISSIONER PERKINS reiterated the grading procedure of these projects and mentioned the eagle viewing project in Haines and whale park in Sitka. He added that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is putting $31 million into bush projects for 1996 and 1997. He said another group, that mainly goes through the Forest Service, is the Federal Lands Program, has allocated $17.2 million for a projects in conjunction with DOT/PF over the next two years, Big Salt Lake Highway on the Prince of Wales Island. Number 0174 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked if it was a rehabilitation project or a new construction. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said it was rehabilitation project and is 14 miles in length. He said another project is around Auke Lake recreational area where a bi-pass is going to be constructed which will be funded with a combination of DOT/PF funds and a forest highway. He said this combination of funding works well. He also mentioned construction of Katmai Valley Road in Southwest Alaska and Coffman Cove to Naukati Junction over on Prince of Wales. He said funding was also used to build Exit Glacier Road in Seward. Number 0227 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information regarding Metlakatla's application for a road. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said Metlakatla has been applying to the BIA to build a road which would result in a half mile stretch of water between Metlakatla and Ketchikan. He said Metlakatla has been unsuccessful so far with this project, but that the village believes that they have achieved $10 million in funds, derived from a bill Senator Stevens is pushing through. He added that this project will not appear on any of the STIP information, but that it is likely that Metlakatla will ask DOT/PF to build the road for them which the department would be willing to do. Number 0266 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said public comments still needs to be received regarding the STIP, but that he didn't visualize any major changes as a result of these comments. He said the public comment period ends on April 5, 1996, and between April 8 and April 10, 1996, DOT/PF will receive the TIP from AMATS, attach that to the STIP document, then send it off for approval to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the EPA. He said federal approval is likely as the DOT/PF works closely with those agencies and the federal government feels the programs are justified. The federal government also liked the needs based programming. Number 0310 COMMISSIONER PERKINS referred to a chart, in the back of the briefing document, on federal highway funding for the state of Alaska for 1985 to 1998. The chart shows when the ISTEA program began around 1992 and how the funding increased dramatically as a result, from $150 million to $220 million. Number 0326 COMMISSIONER PERKINS referred to the last chart, in the back of the briefing document, showing the regional affect of the projects. He said there would be a big sum in the area of the Marine Highway System due to the $50 million allocation for the new boat in 1997 which comes from the NHS funding. He said there is also a large sum in the central program because of the costs associated with the Canyon Creek project, Bird de Gird project, some Seward projects and redoing the Homer Hill project. Number 0364 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS asked about the Saxman Roads project. Number 0377 MR. McKINNON said the Saxman paving project is described on page 24 of the STIP document, and the $750,000 project and is being done in conjunction with the BIA. He said negotiations are being concluded which would add $1 million in funds to complete that project. Number 0395 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said only ISTEA funding is currently being used on this project, he then asked what the current stage was in this project. MR. McKINNON said the design is complete for both the BIA portion and the DOT/PF portion. He said, currently, $750,000 of which the DOT/PF portion of the project will be used for construction and the department is waiting for the final word on the arrival of the BIA money. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said matching funds for projects was taken into consideration when the projects were graded. He said this is why the Juneau Auke Lake project scored so well as did the Saxman Road project. Number 0440 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said no ISTEA funds will be used on the Whittier project the $15 million is from state appropriations. He said the new ferry boat will use $20 million of state money. He said a lot of the village projects will use BIA money or Public Health Service money. He cautioned, because of these circumstances, that the true magnitude of the projects are not accurately represented by just looking at the STIP document. Number 0482 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked for an update regarding the ISTEA funding. She said Senator Stevens said he was working on maintaining funding for the state. Number 0515 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said a battle is being conducted between the states for the ISTEA funding, it is not a battle between parties or executive versus the legislature. He said it will be a Congressional issue and most likely be decided in the Senate. He said Alaska has many negatives and that the Alaskan position is that we are remaining silent and following along. He said Senator Stevens is in a key position and if all continues, the state will be close to holding the DOT/PF formula for receiving funding. He said the amount will probably not stay the same because the total amount of the "pie" is getting smaller. He said, if Alaska can hold the allocation where the state gets more money than 22 other states, then Alaska will be in good shape. He said we must look ahead, to a time, when we will not be able to hold our position. Number 0584 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked how general the federal regulations are regarding ports and harbors. He said the enhancement regulations are broad to the point where you can go to DNR and help them out with their projects. He asked how flexible the ISTEA funding is in order to help some areas with those types of projects. Number 0610 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said there is no ISTEA provision for ports and harbors, with the exception of the ferry terminals. He said they are not allowed to do any work in the small boat harbors. He said, the only program available to the state of Alaska on the federal side, is the core of engineers program which is a matching program and the general trend is to shut down funding for this program. He said this year there was a proposal to stop all the maintenance dredging of harbors in Alaska, with the exception of Anchorage. The harbors that would not be dredged included Dillingham, Nikiski, Nome and several others that the core of engineers have dredged for years. He said the core of engineers is still receiving some project development money, but that the funding will decrease in the future. Number 0659 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said another problem with the core of engineers is the length of time. He said Kake Harbor has been a 15 year projects and is only now getting to the point where it might be completed. He said the state needs some type of harbor program. He said there are some proposals to dedicate some of the harbor taxes, which have not been going back into harbor projects, into a fund which would allow construction or rehabilitation of the state's harbors. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked if the state's match to the core of engineer's projects was ISTEA of general fund dollars. COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the money comes from the general fund. Number 0686 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if there was any need for environmental clean-up when the enhancement of ports and harbors occurred. Number 0698 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said he was not aware of any environmental problem. He said the goal of the state should be to repair the harbors, using tax money currently collected on the water craft taxes, and then turn the harbors over to the municipalities with some portion of this tax dedicated to maintenance projects. He said the state should not be involved with ownership of harbors with the exception of 22 harbors that could not be turned over because there is no local entity. He said the rest of the harbors could be turned over within a five year period if the repairs could be done. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said the slip fees could be increased in the harbors. Number 0768 COMMISSIONER PERKINS said the slip fee rate is low in the state of Alaska as compared with other states. Number 0830 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said it would be beneficial for the committee members to have the criteria the DOT/PF utilized to establish priorities. He asked the committee to review the STIP document and work with the DOT/PF and continue the good working relationship between the department and the legislature. He said, if there was time, he would like to meet with the DOT/PF in order to review the districts concerns regarding the STIP document. HB 440 - VEHICLE REGISTRATION & REGISTRATION FEES Number 0980 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said the next item on the agenda was HB 440, an act relating to motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle registration fees; and providing for an effective date. ROGER POPPE, Legislative Aide for Representative Kott, said HB 440 is a simple bill which raises the fees for all motor vehicle registration by $5. He said HB 440 does not include that $5 fee for a small group of vehicles. He referred to page three, line 16 through 25, and said it was in these circumstances that the current fee was retained. He said he was not aware of the reasons for exempting the $5 increase for these special license plates. He said the other request plate, subsection E on line 25, include university plates and other vanity plates. Number 1030 MR. POPPE said the other portion of HB 440 is a housekeeping section with the exception located on page two, Section 3, lines 6 through 11, which changes the current practice of the DOT/PF regarding the practice of charging $10, above and beyond the current fee structure, in order to encourage people to pay their fees by mail. He said HB 440 reduced the fee by $5 if the registration is mailed. Number 1148 MR. POPPE referred to the fiscal note and said that the state, even with the $5 savings for mailed in registration, would save money and HB 440, creating a negative fiscal note. He read from a portion of the fiscal note, "the total additional new revenue will be $1,545,000," and added that there will be a revenue loss because of the elimination of the $10 fee causing a loss of $870,000 with a net revenue change of a positive $675,000. He said the lines will be reduced at the Department of Motor Vehicles as people will choose to mail in their registration. Number 1209 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked for more information regarding exempting vanity license plates, and asked if the sponsor would be willing to amend this portion of HB 440 MR. POPPE said he could not see a reason why this would be an objectionable amendment. He said this section might have been included because of the military license plates. Number 1260 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said that it currently costs $35 dollars for a regular license plate and that it costs more for a vanity plate. Number 1308 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, was next to testify. She said HB 440 raises the registration fee of everyone by $5, and gives those people who chose to register by mail a $5 savings. She said the reason, why Section 6 was exempted, was because people who chose vanity license plates pay $30 for the sets of plates in addition to the normal registration fee, plus a $50 one time fee. MS. HENSLEY said individuals who are applying for a new car will pay $5 more than they pay today. She said a brand new registration that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has never processed will have to come into the office anyway which would result in an increased amount of revenue. Number 1470 MS. HENSLEY said the renewal by mail program was offered to keep people who didn't need to come in person from coming to the DMV office. She said some people have to do their business in person in order to title their cars, obtain driver's license and register their vehicle for the first time. She said the $10 fee was done in prior legislation as an incentive, but it was seen as a penalty. She said the registration, from that prior legislation, raised the fee by $10 and then reduced it by $10 if the registration was mailed to the DMV. She said renewal by mail has been increased by 100 percent and that the public has accepted this procedure. She said the DMV is not opposing HB 440, but that the public has accepted the $10 fee and the complaints have decreased. She said increasing the fee by $5 will increase complaints. She said the long range financial planning commission suggested a registration increase by twofold, which would bring in $21 million in revenue for the general fund. She said Alaska has the cheapest registration in the nation. Number 1531 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked how difficult it would be to increase the registration fee by $5 for those license plates listed in Section 6, with an exemption for the Alaskan National Guard plates, veterans or retired veterans plates and recipients of the Purple Heart license plates. Number 1563 MS. HENSLEY said this section regards vanity license plates and the decision to increase the fee would be at the discretion of the legislature, as long as there is no adverse fiscal impact to the DMV. She said she could obtain figures of how many people would be affected by this fee increase. She added that last March the new license plates with the caribou and the mountain scene and the blue and gold with the mountain scene have been extremely popular with a sale of over 5,000, at a cost of $30 per plate. Number 1655 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information regarding Section 6, subsection D and subsection E. Number 1704 MS. HENSLEY said all the plates in that section are vanity plates. Number 1691 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if credentials need to be presented in order to get special military plates. Number 1704 MS. HENSLEY said a DD-214 must be presented to obtain those military plates. Number 1718 MR. POPPE said the other special request plates include two other categories, the university plates and the other plates that spell out your name, your girlfriend's name or some clever little saying. MS. HENSLEY said other special request plates include ham operator plates, farm plates, plus other things. Number 1761 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information on changes made to the mechanism of assessing fees, dependent on the evaluation of vehicles. He was told that this is not the case for the state of Alaska. He then asked the DMV's position on increasing the fees to bring Alaska's cost per plate in line with other states. Number 1831 MS. HENSLEY said she had a comparison of the fees charged by other states that she could send to the committee. She said some states charge a flat fee, but then tack on taxes and additional costs such as surcharges, taxes, title fees and title search fees. She said the state of Oklahoma charges 3.5 percent based on the blue book value of the vehicle and cited an example where the state of Washington charged a five year old motor home $1,800 for registration and fees. Number 1917 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said $5 is probably a low increase and for the sake of additional revenue, as well as coming into parity with other states, it is probably not unreasonable to increase the rate by $8 to $10. Number 1958 MR. POPPE said, upon talking with Representative Kott the sponsor of HB 440, there was no problem with the concept of not exempting the D and E subsections of Section 6 if the committee decides to make this adjustment. A discussion ensued regarding the wording of the Amendment to HB 440. Number 2052 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made motion to adopt Amendment 1 to HB 440, amending on page three, line 24 and line 25, "add $5" to each of those subsections D and E. Hearing no objection Amendment 1 was adopted to HB 440 by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. Number 2111 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made a motion to move CSHB 440 (TRA) with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, CSHB 440 (TRA) was moved by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. ADJOURNMENT As there was no further business to come before the House Transportation Standing Committee, Chairman Gary Davis adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m.