Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2001 01:20 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 17, 2001                                                                                         
                           1:20 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Vic Kohring, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Drew Scalzi                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 12                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to  the offense of  operating a  motor vehicle,                                                               
aircraft,   or   watercraft   while  intoxicated;   relating   to                                                               
presumptions arising  from the  amount of  alcohol in  a person's                                                               
breath or blood; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
     - MOVED HB 12 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 244                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to a grant of state land  to the Denali Borough                                                               
for a  railroad and utility  corridor and a  railroad development                                                               
project; repealing provisions relating to  a grant of a right-of-                                                               
way of  land for a  railroad and  utility corridor to  the Alaska                                                               
Industrial Development  and Export  Authority; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
SENATE BILL NO. 88                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to metropolitan  planning organizations  and to                                                               
establishment  of a  metropolitan planning  organization for  the                                                               
Anchorage  metropolitan  area;  and providing  for  an  effective                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 235                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to the  handling of  and interest  on contract                                                               
controversies  involving  the  Department of  Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities  or state  agencies to  whom the  Department of                                                               
Transportation    and    Public    Facilities    delegates    the                                                               
responsibility for handling the controversies."                                                                                 
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 12                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE:REDUCE PERCENTAGE FOR DWI                                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)KOTT                                                                                               
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
01/08/01     0026       (H)        PREFILE RELEASED 12/29/00                                                                    
01/08/01     0026       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
01/08/01     0027       (H)        TRA, JUD, FIN                                                                                
04/03/01                (H)        TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/03/01                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
04/10/01                (H)        TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/10/01                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/17/01                (H)        TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL                                                                       
BILL: HB 244                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:RIGHT-OF-WAY TO DENALI BOR. FOR RR/UTIL.                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)JAMES                                                                                              
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
04/11/01     0959       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
04/11/01     0959       (H)        TRA, RES                                                                                     
04/17/01                (H)        TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
BILL: SB 88                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE:METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) PHILLIPS                                                                                                 
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/13/01     0356       (S)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/13/01     0356       (S)        TRA, CRA, FIN                                                                                
02/20/01                (S)        TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                 
02/20/01                (S)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
02/20/01                (S)        MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                  
02/21/01     0451       (S)        TRA RPT 3DP 1DNP 1AM                                                                         
02/21/01     0451       (S)        DP: COWDERY, WARD, WILKEN;                                                                   
                                   DNP: ELTON;                                                                                  
02/21/01     0451       (S)        AM: TAYLOR                                                                                   
02/21/01     0451       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DOT)                                                                               
03/07/01                (S)        CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                
03/07/01                (S)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
03/07/01                (S)        MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                  
03/09/01     0596       (S)        CRA RPT 2DP 1NR                                                                              
03/09/01     0596       (S)        DP: TORGERSON, PHILLIPS; NR:                                                                 
03/09/01     0596       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DOT)                                                                               
03/22/01                (S)        FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE                                                                
03/26/01                (S)        FIN AT 6:00 PM SENATE FINANCE                                                                
03/26/01                (S)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
03/27/01     0819       (S)        FIN RPT 3DP 2DNP 2NR                                                                         
03/27/01     0819       (S)        DP: DONLEY, GREEN, LEMAN;                                                                    
03/27/01     0819       (S)        NR: KELLY, WILKEN; DNP:                                                                      
                                   HOFFMAN, OLSON                                                                               
03/27/01     0819       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DOT)                                                                               
04/04/01     0933       (S)        RULES TO CALENDAR 1OR 4/4/01                                                                 
04/04/01     0943       (S)        READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                         
04/04/01     0944       (S)        ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                    
                                   UNAN CONSENT                                                                                 
04/04/01     0944       (S)        READ THE THIRD TIME SB 88                                                                    
04/04/01     0944       (S)        PASSED Y15 N4 E1                                                                             
04/04/01     0944       (S)        EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS                                                                    
04/04/01     0944       (S)        OLSON NOTICE OF                                                                              
04/04/01                (S)        RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP                                                                   
04/05/01     0960       (S)        RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD                                                                    
04/05/01     0961       (S)        PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y12                                                                
                                   N7 E1                                                                                        
04/05/01     0961       (S)        EFFECTIVE DATE(S) Y19 N- E1                                                                  
04/05/01     0962       (S)        TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                           
04/05/01     0962       (S)        VERSION: SB 88                                                                               
04/06/01     0875       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
04/06/01     0875       (H)        TRA, CRA                                                                                     
04/17/01                (H)        TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ROGER WORTMAN, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke on behalf of Representative Kott,                                                                    
sponsor of HB 12.                                                                                                               
HEATHER NOBREGA, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Rokeberg                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Addressed concerns regarding .08 mandate in                                                                
HB 12 and HB 4.                                                                                                                 
RICHARD SCHMITZ, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Jeannette James                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 214                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION   STATEMENT:   Spoke   on   behalf   of   the   sponsor,                                                               
Representative James, on HB 244.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 214                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 244.                                                                                         
JOSEPH FIELDS                                                                                                                   
Kantishna Holdings                                                                                                              
PO Box 71047                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska 99707                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 244.                                                                             
JOAN FRANKEVICH, Regional Staff                                                                                                 
Alaska Regional Office                                                                                                          
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)                                                                                  
750 West Second Avenue, Number 205                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 244.                                                                                   
DICK MYLIUS                                                                                                                     
Resource Assessment & Development                                                                                               
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
550 West Seventh Avenue Suite 1050                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3579                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of DNR on HB 244,                                                                      
discussed concerns with bill.                                                                                                   
SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 103                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 88.                                                                                          
CHERYL CLEMENSEN, Member                                                                                                        
Anchorage Assembly                                                                                                              
(No address provided.)                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 88.                                                                                   
TOM BRIGHAM, Director                                                                                                           
Division Of Statewide Planning                                                                                                  
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
3132 Channel Drive                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska 99801-7898                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of (DOT&PF) against SB                                                                 
MATT KETCHUM                                                                                                                    
Wilder Construction Company                                                                                                     
11301 Lang Street                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 88.                                                                             
ANNE FAIRCLOUGH, Legislative Chair                                                                                              
Anchorage Assembly                                                                                                              
(No address provided.)                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 88.                                                                                   
DICK TREMAINE, Member                                                                                                           
South Anchorage Assembly                                                                                                        
(No address provided.)                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 88.                                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-28, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  VIC  KOHRING  called  the  House  Transportation  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting to order at  1:20 p.m.  Representatives Scalzi,                                                               
Wilson, Kookesh, and  Kohring were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representative Kapsner arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                  
HB 12-REDUCE PERCENTAGE FOR DWI                                                                                               
CHAIR  KOHRING announced  the first  order of  business would  be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  12, "An Act relating to the  offense of operating                                                               
a  motor  vehicle,  aircraft, or  watercraft  while  intoxicated;                                                               
relating to presumptions arising from  the amount of alcohol in a                                                               
person's breath or blood; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
Number 0088                                                                                                                     
ROGER WORTMAN, Staff to Representative  Pete Kott, sponsor of the                                                               
bill, stated that  the alcohol problem in  Alaska is significant;                                                               
Alaska  ranks  number  five in  the  nation  for  alcohol-related                                                               
incidents.   He  indicated that  it's imperative  that the  state                                                               
take  action  by passing  HB  12,  which  lowers the  BAC  [Blood                                                               
Alcohol Concentration], from .10 to  .08.  This bill is supported                                                               
by  the   Alaska  Peace  Officer's  Association,   Public  Safety                                                               
Employees Association, and Mothers  Against Drunk Driving (MADD).                                                               
He remarked  that it is crucial  that the State of  Alaska follow                                                               
the lead  because the federal government  is providing incentives                                                               
to  states that  adopt  the  .08 BAC  standard  early.   If  this                                                               
legislation  fails,  the state  stands  to  lose federal  highway                                                               
funds  at a  rate of  2 percent  in 2004,  4 percent  in 2005,  6                                                               
percent in  2006, 8 percent after  2007, and so on.   He reminded                                                               
the committee  that although this  bill has a  significant fiscal                                                               
note, HB 12 could be recognized as a policy decision or issue.                                                                  
CHAIR KOHRING turned to the effectiveness  of a .08 BAC and asked                                                               
if there is any substantial evidence to support it.                                                                             
MR. WORTMAN answered that in  his research he found no conclusive                                                               
evidence  that the  .08  BAC mandate,  by  itself, is  effective.                                                               
However, coupled  with other [drunk  driving] legislation,  a .08                                                               
BAC shows a significant decrease of incidents in other states.                                                                  
CHAIR   KOHRING   suggested    that   Representative   Rokeberg's                                                               
legislation [HB4] would help make HB 12 effective.                                                                              
MR. WORTMAN  remarked that Representative  Rokeberg's bill  is an                                                               
"omni" bill  that is  a "catch  all for  all those  situations to                                                               
happen simultaneously."                                                                                                         
CHAIR  KOHRING asked  how  effective HB  12 would  be  if it  was                                                               
passed in tandem with other legislation.                                                                                        
Number 0462                                                                                                                     
HEATHER NOBREGA, Staff to Representative  Rokeberg, sponsor of HB                                                               
4, explained  that HB 4 encompasses  a wide variety of  topics on                                                               
drunk driving, including  changing the BAC from .10 to  .08.  She                                                               
noted that establishing  the .08 BAC standard is  mandated by the                                                               
federal  government whether  it is  done now  or in  a couple  of                                                               
years.  However,  it has to be done by  Federal Fiscal Year 2004.                                                               
She indicated that HB 12 is  accomplishing the same goal as HB 4,                                                               
but  by only  lowering the  BAC, HB  12 is  only addressing  "one                                                               
small increment."   Therefore, if HB  4 does not become  law this                                                               
year, and  a lower legal  limit is still  wanted, HB 12  would be                                                               
CHAIR KOHRING inquired as to the expectations for HB 4.                                                                         
MS.  NOBREGA  recalled  that  HB   4  is  in  the  House  Finance                                                               
Committee, but she wasn't sure when  it is scheduled to be heard.                                                               
She said  it would  be a  "stretch" if the  bill made  it through                                                               
this year.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR  KOHRING  asked  whether   Alaska  would  be  subjected  to                                                               
penalties  by the  federal  government,  if the  .08  BAC is  not                                                               
adopted this year.                                                                                                              
MS. NOBREGA replied no.  However,  if the .08 BAC was implemented                                                               
by  July  of  this  year, "we"  would  receive  an  approximately                                                               
$850,000 incentive.                                                                                                             
CHAIR KOHRING asked for direction from the committee on HB 12.                                                                  
Number 0581                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON made a motion  to move HB 12 from committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note.                                                                   
There  being   no  objection,   HB  12   moved  from   the  House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
CHAIR KOHRING  expressed concerns  regarding the  federal mandate                                                               
and the  redundancy of [the .08  BAC mandate in HB  4].  However,                                                               
he acknowledged that HB 4 might not pass this session.                                                                          
HB 244-RIGHT-OF-WAY TO DENALI BOR. FOR RR/UTIL.                                                                               
CHAIR  KOHRING announced  the  next order  of  business would  be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 244, "An Act relating  to a grant of state land to                                                               
the  Denali Borough  for a  railroad and  utility corridor  and a                                                               
railroad development project; repealing  provisions relating to a                                                               
grant  of a  right-of-way  of  land for  a  railroad and  utility                                                               
corridor  to   the  Alaska  Industrial  Development   and  Export                                                               
Authority; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
Number 0658                                                                                                                     
An at-ease was  called at 1:28 p.m.  The  meeting was called back                                                               
to order at 1:31 p.m.                                                                                                           
Number 0674                                                                                                                     
RICHARD  SCHMITZ,   Staff  to  Representative   Jeannette  James,                                                               
sponsor of  HB 244, provided background  on the bill.   He stated                                                               
that in 1998, HB 386 was  signed into law.  This authorized AIDEA                                                               
[Alaska Industrial  Development and  Export Authority]  to engage                                                               
in a number  of activities.  One was to  allow AIDEA to establish                                                               
a transportation  corridor on the  north end of  Denali [National                                                               
Park].  He  referred to the maps given to  committee members, and                                                               
said  it shows  the proposed  corridor  going from  Healy to  the                                                               
border  of [Denali]  park.  This project  was  approved and  non-                                                               
controversial, he said.                                                                                                         
MR.  SCHMITZ stated  that under  HB 386,  Kantishna Holdings  was                                                               
authorized to finance and complete  the project.  However, HB 386                                                               
did not require AIDEA to act  on these provisions, so no land was                                                               
transferred for access.  He said the intent of HB  244 is for the                                                               
Denali Borough  to replace the  AIDEA part  of HB 386,  to survey                                                               
and develop the [transportation] corridor.                                                                                      
Number 0836                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH asked  why AIDEA  did not  follow through                                                               
with the provisions in HB 366.                                                                                                  
Number 0861                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, sponsor  of HB 244, remarked that                                                               
AIDEA was  authorized to do  the bonding  for this project.   She                                                               
suggested that AIDEA never followed  through because no one asked                                                               
them to.   She also said that Kantishna Holdings,  Inc., were not                                                               
interested in  "obligating themselves to  the bonding to  do this                                                               
because  they have  other funds  available ...  that wouldn't  be                                                               
bonding funds."   Although AIDEA  is authorized to do this in the                                                               
bill, it  didn't necessarily say "you  must do this."   As far as                                                               
she is concerned, the land had never been given to them.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH wondered if  the Denali Borough intends to                                                               
bond for this project.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES   replied  that  the  applicant,   such  as                                                               
Kantishna Holdings, Inc., who wants  to put in the railroad would                                                               
use private funds.                                                                                                              
Number 0982                                                                                                                     
JOSEPH   FIELDS,   Kantishna   Holdings,  Inc.,   testified   via                                                               
teleconference  that they  are proponents  for a  northern access                                                               
railroad into  Wonder Lake.   He  noted that  Kantishna Holdings,                                                               
Inc.  has  been  involved  in  this for  a  while  and  has  been                                                               
supported  by the  legislature  as well  as  cities and  boroughs                                                               
along projected  rail development areas.   He mentioned  that the                                                               
committee  packets contain  copies of  resolutions that  say this                                                               
northern access would help  provide long-term resource protection                                                               
in Denali  National Park and  better access for  Alaska citizens.                                                               
He sated that he was  pleased that Representative James put forth                                                               
this  concept  that would  enable  economic  development to  take                                                               
place in  the Denali  Borough.   He pointed  out that  since this                                                               
part  of the  state is  not involved  in the  gas line,  national                                                               
missile defense, fisheries, or timber  harvest, this project is a                                                               
"vital piece" of  economic development.  He referred  to a letter                                                               
from the Denali  Borough [April 12, 2001] and  indicated that the                                                               
fully borough support this bill.                                                                                                
Number 1064                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOHRING  asked how this  bill would be a  "good enhancement                                                               
of economic development."                                                                                                       
MR. FIELDS  said, "Infrastructure in  the visitor industry."   He                                                               
went on  to say that  Alaska has many  natural wonders but  it is                                                               
short on  infrastructure, especially north  of the range.   "Our"                                                               
particular niche  is looking at the  independent traveler, "folks                                                               
that can  come into the  bottom part of  the state or  the middle                                                               
part of  the state up  here and  travel on the  railroad corridor                                                               
independently  to  the  various  sites,  from  Girdwood,  Seward,                                                               
Hatcher Pass,  Big Lake, ...  Willow and  Nenana."  So,  "we" are                                                               
looking into land tours around  this piece of infrastructure that                                                               
would go  into Denali National  Park.  He said,  "Private capital                                                               
... builds  the public infrastructure."   He mentioned  that this                                                               
project would  provide 350-900 jobs,  a very important  factor in                                                               
Alaska,  especially because  there  are not  many  projects.   It                                                               
would also result  in private development due  to private capital                                                               
being placed on public lands.                                                                                                   
Number 1167                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH   asked  for  information   on  Kantishna                                                               
Holdings, Inc.                                                                                                                  
MR. FIELDS explained that Kantishna  Holdings, Inc., is a private                                                               
corporation established  in Alaska, made up  of stockholders that                                                               
live  in the  Fairbanks and  Anchorage areas.   It  is a  holding                                                               
company  designed  to  develop  this  project.    He  said  "our"                                                               
intention  is  to  place between  $230-$260  million  during  the                                                               
development  of  this  project.     This  would  be  a  long-term                                                               
investment in  the infrastructure  of Alaska.   He said  that was                                                               
all the  information he could  provide since he is  talking about                                                               
private corporate information.   However, he noted  that "we" are                                                               
a local corporation of Alaskans, with no outside interest.                                                                      
Number 1218                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH remarked  that  he appreciates  Kantishna                                                               
Holdings,  Inc., being  a private  corporation, but  "you're here                                                               
asking for some state land," he said.                                                                                           
MR.  FIELD clarified  that Kantishna  Holdings,  Inc., is  asking                                                               
that state land  be transferred to the  Denali Borough; Kantishna                                                               
Holdings,  Inc.,  would  not  receive   ownership  of  the  land.                                                               
However, they  would be able  to utilize the land  for proposals,                                                               
including from  the North  Denali Access Study  of 1995,  and the                                                               
Denali Task  Force of 1994.   He  alluded that the  project would                                                               
take place  along the Parks Highway.   "That's a 300  foot right-                                                               
of-way," he said.   And "that's what this would  end up going off                                                               
the edge of the park in actual land,"  he added.  It would not be                                                               
that whole area [of the map in the committee packet].                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH  wondered what effect [HB  244] would have                                                               
on  the [Denali]  Borough's entitlement  for organization  of its                                                               
landholdings under the state.                                                                                                   
MR. FIELD  commented that  there is a  "long, complex  history on                                                               
the different elements,"  like in any borough.   However, in this                                                               
situation,  a separate  piece of  land  is being  proposed for  a                                                               
specific  purpose,  and  not  a generalized  borough.    And  his                                                               
understanding is  that it  wouldn't be  part of  "their selection                                                               
rights for the  borough."  However, he noted that  he didn't know                                                               
their standards  or how much  land they  have to select,  if any.                                                               
He also noted that it has a "drop dead" date of 2006.                                                                           
Number 1344                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked how  this bill would impact wildlife                                                               
and park activities such as recreating, hunting, and trapping.                                                                  
MR.  FIELDS replied  that this  bill deals  with state  land, not                                                               
Denali [National] Park.   However, "we" talked to a  lot of folks                                                               
here and they "aren't sure that  people would say that they don't                                                               
want  to see  a  train going  through their  hunting  area."   He                                                               
remarked that there  is limited wildlife in that area  as well as                                                               
in  [Denali  National]  Park:  it's  not  what  "they"  call  the                                                               
"Serengeti of  the North."   He wondered if  a 300 foot  right of                                                               
way  would have  a tremendous  impact.   He  stated that  bridges                                                               
would  be used  to  cross  streams, and  they  would  have to  be                                                               
constructed  in the  proper fashions.    He noted  that there  is                                                               
wildlife "up and down the north and south on the river system."                                                                 
MR.  FIELDS said  there would  be opportunities  to see  wildlife                                                               
while on  the trains,  but he  does not  know how  [the railroad]                                                               
would impact hunting.  He believes  there is a very low number of                                                               
hunters  and  trappers  in the  Denali  National  Park  property.                                                               
Furthermore,  this  location  is  too  far  west  and  south  for                                                               
connecting  with areas  that people  trap out  of such  as [Lake]                                                               
Minchumina or  McGrath Therefore, he  does not think  there would                                                               
be any  major impact on  dogmushers, skiers, or  snowmachiners in                                                               
that area.   He  also said  that these  people would  probably be                                                               
using  the Stampede  trail, the  majority  of which  is north  of                                                               
where this land is described.   He noted that the description [of                                                               
this  project] was  changed to  move a  mile away  from the  park                                                               
border on the north side.                                                                                                       
Number 1433                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOHRING  inquired about the  environmental impacts  of this                                                               
project.   He mentioned that after  talking to the sponsor  of HB                                                               
244, his impression  was that this project would be  a benefit to                                                               
the  environment because  it would  take pressure  away from  the                                                               
existing access  and all the  people that are "flooding  into the                                                               
park" via the road.                                                                                                             
Number 1452                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  pointed out  the existing  road on  the map                                                               
that goes through  [Denali National] Park and  goes to Kantishna.                                                               
Most of the  year, only buses and inholders,  who have permission                                                               
to  use the  road, use  it.   She said  it is  a very  narrow and                                                               
dangerous  road.    She  also   noted  that  the  road  is  "near                                                               
capacity," and that  one-third of the people that  come to Denali                                                               
[National] Park  are not allowed  on that road because  a limited                                                               
number of people can  be on it.  She remarked  that her belief is                                                               
that anyone  who wants to  come to  a national park  like Denali,                                                               
which is absolutely beautiful, should be able to.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that she  was in favor of a railroad,                                                               
not a  road.  She  noted that this  bill would be  competing with                                                               
others who  would rather have a  road.  There have  been problems                                                               
in  this area  with people  camping out  and leaving  "junk," and                                                               
thus  there  have  been  conflicts   with  bears  and  so  forth.                                                               
Furthermore, there have been problems  with those who work in the                                                               
tourist industry  here.  These  people don't seem to  make enough                                                               
money to pay  for a place to  live, so they "live  in the bushes"                                                               
in the summertime.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  pointed out that a  road [allows] continual                                                               
access  for  everyone,  including   trailers,  trucks,  and  cars                                                               
camping  along the  way, leaving  "their junk  and stuff  around,                                                               
which I  think is embarrassing  and very expensive  to maintain."                                                               
Therefore, a  train that has  controlled access would  enable all                                                               
people,  "whether disabled  or not,  old  or young"  to view  the                                                               
park,  which would  be a  great experience.   She  mentioned that                                                               
someday she  would like  to see  train access in  and out  of the                                                               
park  by making  a complete  circle (not  where the  current road                                                               
is).   She said  having a train  is the  environmentally friendly                                                               
way to do it.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  indicated that one  of the ways  to control                                                               
the "love  the park  to death"  is to put  in a  train.   A train                                                               
would  enable  more people  to  come  in  and  out of  the  park.                                                               
Furthermore,  a   train  would  also  be   "environmentally  more                                                               
friendly and  not so devastating to  the park area, which  is one                                                               
of our prize areas," she  added.  Representative James noted that                                                               
she is enthused  and passionate about this  project after working                                                               
on it for nine years.                                                                                                           
Number 1622                                                                                                                     
MR. FIELDS referred  to the issue of environmental  impact on the                                                               
park and  said that the park  is restricted to 10,512  vehicles a                                                               
year.   He stated that  a 1994 study  estimated that up  to 1,300                                                               
park administrative  vehicles could be  removed if there  was new                                                               
northern access  [to the park].   This could translate  into 1300                                                               
or  more buses  or people  being  able to  get into  the park  as                                                               
opposed to administrative vehicles.   He noted that Alfred Runte,                                                               
author,   Our  National   Parks,  and   one  of   the  preeminent                                                             
environmentalists in the nation,  is very enthusiastic about this                                                               
project, and  even toured [Denali  National] Park with "us."   He                                                               
said he  spoke to David  Brower, Sierra Club  [Executive Director                                                               
1952-1969], a couple  of years before his death,  and although he                                                               
wouldn't give  an "outright endorsement of  a railroad anywhere,"                                                               
he  did mention  that the  failure  of Yosemite  was because  the                                                               
railroad was taken out  in 1941.  So, there are  a good number of                                                               
"solid,  rational,   environmentalists"  who  are  going   to  be                                                               
supportive  of rail  access.   He  also said,  "We  think we  can                                                               
accommodate the  desires of the  visiting public and the  need to                                                               
protect the environment as well. "                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  described  a  trip  she  took  to  Denali                                                               
National  Park  about seven  years  before.    She said  she  was                                                               
"totally amazed"  that there was only  one way in and  out of the                                                               
park.  She remarked that  this [railroad] would be wonderful, and                                                               
would give  people a  "better advantage  to be  able to  see what                                                               
they  need to  see,"  and more  people  could do  it.   So,  it's                                                               
"something we need to do," she said.                                                                                            
Number 1737                                                                                                                     
JOAN   FRANKEVICH,  Regional   Staff,  Alaska   Regional  Office,                                                               
National  Parks Conservation  Association  (NPCA), testified  via                                                               
     We  are  a  non-profit   dedicated  to  protecting  and                                                                    
     enhancing  U.S. National  Park System  for present  and                                                                    
     future generations.   We have  over 450,000  members of                                                                    
     which  1,000 live  in  Alaska.   NPCA  has opposed  the                                                                    
     North Denali  route since  it was  first opposed.   And                                                                    
     specifically  we  oppose this  bill,  HB  244, for  the                                                                    
     following reasons.                                                                                                         
     Allowing the  Denali Borough to  select state  land for                                                                    
     railroad   right-of-way   development  projects   seems                                                                    
     extremely  inappropriate.     The  Denali  Borough  was                                                                    
     incorporated in 1990 and  authorized with the following                                                                    
     powers.   They're authorized with  taxation, education,                                                                    
     planning and  zoning.  They  do not have ...  the legal                                                                    
     authority  to acquire,  construct,  or maintain  public                                                                    
     roads.    Officially,   the  Denali  Borough  (indisc.)                                                                    
     itself  that it  provides few  government services  and                                                                    
     does  virtually no  (indisc.) planning  or  zoning.   A                                                                    
     borough with no road  powers and minimal planning seems                                                                    
     a  highly  unusual  choice  to   be  receiving  such  a                                                                    
     (indisc.) of state  land.  And all the  more so unusual                                                                    
     in  that this  land has  previously been  off-limits to                                                                    
     the boroughs down in their selection.                                                                                      
     It's  unclear  as  to  why its  (indisc.)  to  a  local                                                                    
     government, and  we also think that  the borough should                                                                    
     ... before they get this grant,  if they do get it, ...                                                                    
     develop  a land  use  plan and  a economic  feasibility                                                                    
     study on  demonstrating the  (indisc.) of  this project                                                                    
     before the state releases the land to the borough.                                                                         
     My second  point is that  even more unusual in  this is                                                                    
     the borough is  simply a shell and HB  244 is (indisc.)                                                                    
     allowing  a  private  business to  select  state  land.                                                                    
     This bill provides  (indisc.) through private business.                                                                    
     There's  no competition.   There's  no public  process.                                                                    
     To  us,  this really  feels  like  favoritism and  poor                                                                    
     public policy.   ...  [It seems like]  the most unusual                                                                    
     way for  a land  selection to  be conducted.  It raises                                                                    
     legal and ethical questions.                                                                                               
     Furthermore,  this   will  be  the   third  opportunity                                                                    
     Kantishna  Holdings has  had  to  establish a  railroad                                                                    
     right of  way.  ...  Eight years  of time and  yet they                                                                    
     have failed  to do so.   In  1993, they were  granted a                                                                    
     five-year conditional  use permit from  DNR [Department                                                                    
     of Natural  Resources] to allow to  make a right-of-way                                                                    
     recognizant  for this  railroad.   They never  followed                                                                    
     up.  They  never did so.  In 1998,  HB 386, again, gave                                                                    
     Kantishna  Holdings  the  opportunity  to  establish  a                                                                    
     right-of-way.   This  time in  association with  AIDEA,                                                                    
     and again no  action was taken.  And  so (indisc.) what                                                                    
     has changed to  let the state think that  now they will                                                                    
     follow  through on  this  and that  they  now have  the                                                                    
     capability to do it.                                                                                                       
     A third point  is that we feel this  is very premature.                                                                    
     Granting  land to  develop a  railroad project  at this                                                                    
     time,   things   could   (indisc.)     [U.S.]   Senator                                                                    
     Murkowski's  appropriation   study,  [and]   the  North                                                                    
     Denali Access,  ... a railroad  for a road,  seems like                                                                    
     they should  be considered  together or ...it  needs to                                                                    
     be  decided which  project before  we  go forward  with                                                                    
     this  particular project  as its  written here  in this                                                                    
     Also,   this  project   is   completely  dependent   on                                                                    
     extending this  railroad through the National  Park and                                                                    
     at  this  point,  that  seems  highly  unlikely.    The                                                                    
     National  Park Service  opposes it.   ...[And]  there's                                                                    
     much controversy against this project.  ....                                                                               
     If this bill  does pass, we would  suggest a amendment,                                                                    
     ... we  would suggest that  if a railroad  project does                                                                    
     not go  forward by a  specified date, than  [the] 3,500                                                                    
     acres be  returned back  to the state  and it  does not                                                                    
     remain that borough  land.  It's a return  from all the                                                                    
     land that they used not  to select a 300 foot right-of-                                                                    
     way and  (indisc.) development, with a  300 foot right-                                                                    
     of-way  and  (indisc.)   and  relate  development  land                                                                    
     remain in the borough the way I read....                                                                                   
     It  was  mentioned  earlier   that  this  will  relieve                                                                    
     pressure on [the] current park  road.  NPCA agrees that                                                                    
     there needs to  be work done ... to  relive pressure on                                                                    
     that  road.   But we  don't  feel this  is the  answer.                                                                    
     This railroad  will begin  just 17  miles north  of the                                                                    
     existing park road, and ends  in the same place.  There                                                                    
     seems  little sense  in  that  when other  alternatives                                                                    
     such as Fast Denali are being worked on as well.                                                                           
     Contrary  to what  was said  earlier,  we believe  this                                                                    
     will  actually put  more  pressure on  the  road.   The                                                                    
     primary attraction  for visitors  to come to  Denali is                                                                    
     viewing   wildlife.      And   the   wildlife   viewing                                                                    
     opportunities  from  a  road or  railroad  in  a  north                                                                    
     access  are  very  limited.    There  is  not  as  much                                                                    
     wildlife  there  in  the summer.    It's  an  important                                                                    
     winter area for  caribou.  ...  Plus a  lot of the area                                                                    
     is  trees so  visibility is  not the  same as  the park                                                                    
     road.  So getting people  out to Kantishna Wonder Lake,                                                                    
     I think, would  just put more pressure  on the existing                                                                    
     park road  to come back  to [the] current park  road to                                                                    
     view wildlife,  because they will  not be  satisfied in                                                                    
     that respect on the railroad journey.                                                                                      
     To  conclude,   we  just   think  it's   important  the                                                                    
     legislature  realize that  the  northern  route in  the                                                                    
     Denali   National  Park   is  a   highly  controversial                                                                    
     project.   It will be  closely scrutinized.   The major                                                                    
     national  group,  (indisc.)    for  common  sense  [is]                                                                    
     currently  listed  as  one of  the  ten  worst  highway                                                                    
     projects  in   America.  This  project   entails  major                                                                    
     development  within one  of  the  most famous  national                                                                    
     parks in the  world.  It would be  the largest proposed                                                                    
     capital   development  project   in  the   entire  U.S.                                                                    
     National Parks System.   Getting state land  to a local                                                                    
     government that has no road  power it has the (indisc.)                                                                    
     planning and zoning and to  a single source contract to                                                                    
     a  private   business  seems  preposterous.     We  are                                                                    
     (indisc.)  HB 244.  Thank you very much.                                                                                   
Number 2021                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   SCALZI   asked   for  clarification   that   Ms.                                                               
Frankevich disagrees  with Representative James'  contention that                                                               
a railroad  would be  a more efficient  way of  transporting more                                                               
people into the  park, in a "sound and clean  matter" rather than                                                               
expanding the highway.                                                                                                          
MS. FRANKEVICH inquired as to what highway he was talking about.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI  said  the  road that  currently  goes  to                                                               
Wonder Lake.                                                                                                                    
MS. FRANKEVICH  remarked that [NPCA]  does not  propose expanding                                                               
this  road either,  since it  has  not reached  capacity at  this                                                               
point.  She  said that very few people are  turned away, although                                                               
someday that will probably happen.   She said, "getting people to                                                               
the same place by a less  attractive means, we see no benefit for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI  wondered if  she  had  a solution  for  a                                                               
better means for  the elder population, [and] people  who want to                                                               
visit the park, or if she thought more people should not come.                                                                  
MS. FRANKEVICH replied, "Of course  more people should be there."                                                               
And as far  as the elderly population, they are  well-served by a                                                               
bus system  that currently  goes to a  variety of  locations, she                                                               
said.  She  also mentioned that there  are handicapped accessible                                                               
buses that travel the road everyday.   She noted that most of the                                                               
park's visitors are elderly.                                                                                                    
MS. FRANKEVICH pointed  out that additional facilities  such as a                                                               
learning center  and visitor center  are in the  planning process                                                               
to be  built at the park  entrance.  More trails  and campgrounds                                                               
are  also  being built  to  increase  capacity and  provide  more                                                               
options to  use other areas  of the park.   She also  stated that                                                               
there  have been  ideas  to build  an area  south  of Denali,  up                                                               
Petersville Road and  along the Parks Highway as  well.  National                                                               
Parks   Conservation   Association    supports   all   of   these                                                               
developments, she noted.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI reiterated his  question of whether she saw                                                               
any  benefit to  getting more  people into  the park  in a  sound                                                               
matter.  He also asked if  her alternative was to get other areas                                                               
in the park utilized.                                                                                                           
MS. FRANKEVICH  said yes, "We think  it makes much more  sense to                                                               
expand on the  south side of Denali where more  of the population                                                               
lives and  where the  population comes from  than an  area that's                                                               
already served by the Park Road."                                                                                               
Number 2117                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES   referred  to  Ms.   Frankevich's  earlier                                                               
comments.   Regarding  Denali Borough  powers,  the borough  only                                                               
needs planning  and zoning  powers to  transfer this  land, which                                                               
would  then be  available  for  lease.   So,  even though  Denali                                                               
Borough does not have road power,  it does not make a difference.                                                               
She stated  that in  regard to animals,  there are  animals, just                                                               
different kinds.   She  suggested that the  railroad be  open for                                                               
winter tourism,  when there  are a  lot of  animals in  the area.                                                               
Skiers could  also be  taken in.   She went  on to  say, "There's                                                               
just lots  of things  that this  train could do  on a  year round                                                               
basis to be able  to have access to the park  that is better than                                                               
the access  we have  for people  today."   She remarked  that she                                                               
understands  the  concerns  on  this issue  since  she  has  been                                                               
listening to it for a long time.                                                                                                
Number 2182                                                                                                                     
MR. FIELDS  commented that that  the Denali Task Force  1994 came                                                               
up with the South Side Denali  Plan, which takes place outside of                                                               
the park.  However,  "it was in the process."   He also said that                                                               
the National Park System Advisory  Board put a resolution forward                                                               
calling for the  creation of a northern railroad  route to Wonder                                                               
Lake,  which  is  what  is  being proposed  in  this  bill.    He                                                               
mentioned that this project is  not park service development.  He                                                               
referred  to budgetary  concerns and  said that  although private                                                               
capital  going  into  the  park,   the  overall  control  of  the                                                               
(indisc.) would be retained by the park.                                                                                        
MR. FIELDS  stated that the  biggest issue  is how to  offset the                                                               
500,000 people who come to the  park entrance.  He indicated that                                                               
"we" see  ways of helping  the park this  time of year  by taking                                                               
equipment to  the far end  [of the  park] and letting  them [park                                                               
employees]  come  back via  the  road.    He mentioned  that  the                                                               
railroad might  enable the park to  open a few days  earlier.  He                                                               
went on to say:                                                                                                                 
     But  for management  of  the park,  and  access of  NPS                                                                    
     [National Park  Service] employees  and access  for the                                                                    
     inholders,  we don't  propose that  there should  be no                                                                    
     other access  for the  inholders.   In fact,  I've told                                                                    
     both of  them that we  would support their  position of                                                                    
     having a  right to use  the road  as well as  the rail.                                                                    
     But  I think  from  a business  standpoint, they'd  all                                                                    
     benefit from a rail in there.                                                                                              
Number 2253                                                                                                                     
MS.  FRANKEVICH referred  to Representative  James' comments  and                                                               
said she did not mean to  say because Denali Borough did not have                                                               
road powers  that they  would not  be able to  do this,  since it                                                               
would  fall   under  their   planning  and   zoning  authorities.                                                               
However, it seems  appropriate and "hard to believe  that with so                                                               
little experience"  in roads  that they  could accomplish  such a                                                               
large project successfully.                                                                                                     
MR.  FIELDS  commented that  "they"  have  a group  comprised  of                                                               
former DOT&PF [Department of  Transportation & Public Facilities]                                                               
employees of  the highest "range"  working on this project.   So,                                                               
he thinks that  "they" [Denali Borough] are going to  be in "good                                                               
hands and  have a good critical  view of everything that  goes on                                                               
before they allow anything to happen.   They're not going to take                                                               
any chances with their hometown."                                                                                               
Number 2299                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOHRING noted that there was written testimony in the                                                                     
committee packets from Linda Pagenelli (ph) of Healy.                                                                           
Number 2313                                                                                                                     
DICK MYLIUS, Resource Assessment & Development, Division of                                                                     
Mining, Land and Water, Department of Natural Resources (DNR),                                                                  
testified via teleconference:                                                                                                   
     This bill  requires DNR to  transfer by September  1 of                                                                    
     this year  approximately 46,000 acres of  state land to                                                                    
     the  Denali  Borough  for  a  future  railroad  towards                                                                    
     Kantishna. In  order to  reach Kantishna,  the railroad                                                                    
     will  need  [to]  continue west  across  National  Park                                                                    
     land.    The  borough and  private  Kantishna  holdings                                                                    
     would  then  work to  identify  and  survey a  railroad                                                                    
     route across  this land and  then in 2006,  the borough                                                                    
     conveys the  excess land back  to the  state, estimated                                                                    
     to be  about 42,500  acres and  the borough  would keep                                                                    
     3,500 acres.                                                                                                               
     DNR  recommends  that  a  more  efficient  and  equally                                                                    
     approach  would  be  for   the  borough  and  Kantishna                                                                    
     Holdings  corporation to  first identify  the corridor,                                                                    
     then ask  DNR to  transfer the land  or even  to simply                                                                    
     apply  for  a  right-of-way.     The  current  proposal                                                                    
     requires DNR to convey to  the borough a large block of                                                                    
     land only  to have the  borough convey most of  it back                                                                    
     in five  years.   This results  in unnecessary  work at                                                                    
     the expense of both the sate and the borough.                                                                              
     In  addition, because  the railroad  route is  unknown,                                                                    
     the route  could include  land outside  of the  area in                                                                    
     the  bill.    For  example, portions  of  the  existing                                                                    
     Stampede  Trail which  is probably  built along  one of                                                                    
     the easiest  ways to get to  this chunk of land  is not                                                                    
     included in  the land that  closed for transfer  to the                                                                    
     borough.   In addition,  the National Park  Service has                                                                    
     invited  the state  to participate  in a  comprehensive                                                                    
     study  as noticed  by access  issues and  alternatives,                                                                    
     because much  the route of  this railroad  crosses Park                                                                    
     Service  land.   This  railroad  can't  be built  until                                                                    
     there's  Park Service  concurrence with  the (indisc.).                                                                    
     Until  the  efforts  to  study  north  side  access  is                                                                    
     completed  ...  (indisc.)   designate  and  transfer  a                                                                    
     railroad   corridor  to   the  borough   and  Kantishna                                                                    
     DNR  has four  specific concerns  regarding this  bill.                                                                    
     Some of  these could be dealt  with through amendments.                                                                    
     The  first  one  is  that  the  bill  causes  confusion                                                                    
     regarding  how  DNR  should  treat  existing  municipal                                                                    
     selections   (indisc.)  by   the   borough  under   its                                                                    
     municipal entitlement under Alaska  Statute 29.65.  The                                                                    
     legislation  actually could  preclude the  borough from                                                                    
     receiving  some  of  this land  under  its  entitlement                                                                    
     because   the  bill   limits  the   borough's  eventual                                                                    
     ownership  from  this   3,000-3,500  acres,  where  the                                                                    
     borough   has  under   its  previous   selections,  has                                                                    
     selected  more than  3,500 acres.   We  do not  believe                                                                    
     that this is the  legislature's intent or the sponsor's                                                                    
     intent.  But it is not  clear in the bill.  Further, it                                                                    
     is unclear  whether or not  the 3,500  acres ultimately                                                                    
     conveyed  to  the borough  is  supposed  to be  charged                                                                    
     against the borough's remaining existing entitlement.                                                                      
     My second concern is that  since DNR assumes that since                                                                    
     the bill directs  DNR to take action and  gives us only                                                                    
     two  months to  transfer the  land, I  believe that  it                                                                    
     isn't  the intent  of  the sponsor  that  DNR would  be                                                                    
     excluded  or   exempted  from  the   state's  (indisc.)                                                                    
     finding requirement.  However, we'd  like to be able to                                                                    
     make  this   clear  so  that  DNR   is[n't]  explicitly                                                                    
     excluded from  the requirements  of AS  [38.05.035] and                                                                    
     [38.04.065] simply  because ...   we've got  two months                                                                    
     ... to transfer the land.                                                                                                  
     We  can't  (indisc.)  public  decision-making  process.                                                                    
     ...   We'd like the  legislature to make that  clear in                                                                    
     the bill.  It is  also unclear what property rights the                                                                    
     bill  or the  borough would  grant against  it being  a                                                                    
     holding  corporation.    ...    Once  the  corridor  is                                                                    
     identified,  the  implication  in   the  bill  is  that                                                                    
     Kantishna Holdings, Incorporated,  would have the right                                                                    
     to build a railroad within  the corridor.  DNR believes                                                                    
     that the  legislation must ensure that  the citizens of                                                                    
     the  state receive  some  compensation  for granting  a                                                                    
     private  exclusive  (indisc.)  thousands  of  acres  of                                                                    
     state land.                                                                                                                
     Finally, our fourth  concern is that the  bill needs to                                                                    
     clarify how  DNR should deal  with the  existing hours,                                                                    
     (indisc.)  which follows  the Stampede  Trial.   Is the                                                                    
     intent that  this will  be conveyed  to the  borough or                                                                    
     excluded?  Current Alaska Statute  [does] not allow DNR                                                                    
     to transport RS  (indisc.) to the borough.  We can only                                                                    
     transfer them  to DOT.   Finally,  DNR has  submitted a                                                                    
     fiscal note  on this  bill.  We  would need  funding in                                                                    
     order to identify and reserve  existing rights that are                                                                    
     on the (indisc.).   We would need to  do public notice.                                                                    
     We  would  need  to  do  title  check  (indisc.).    In                                                                    
     addition,  you'll notice  on our  fiscal  note that  we                                                                    
     have funding requested in 2006,  which is when the land                                                                    
     would be returned  to the state.  And at  that point we                                                                    
     would also  (indisc.) to do  ... research to  make sure                                                                    
     the  borough hasn't  created any  third party  interest                                                                    
     and that  we could take them  back.  We'd also  need to                                                                    
     do an  environmental audit  to make  sure the  land was                                                                    
     still in  the condition it was  when we gave it  to the                                                                    
     borough.    The  state isn't  receiving  any  liability                                                                    
     (indisc.) along with the land.   ...  That concludes my                                                                    
     testimony and I'm available for any questions.                                                                             
TAPE 01-28 SIDE B                                                                                                               
Number 2506                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  stated  that  since  "we"  have  to  start                                                               
somewhere,  "we thought  it  best  to start  with  state land  as                                                               
opposed to  park land."   She mentioned U.S.  Senator Murkowski's                                                               
interest in  this issue, and  that he  has been working  with the                                                               
National Park Service on it.   She noted that the markings on the                                                               
map are not necessarily where the  railroad would go, and that in                                                               
order for  it to be built,  many "things" would have  to be done.                                                               
The  federal government  has appropriated  $1.2 million  to do  a                                                               
study for  this project.   She referred to Mr.  Field's testimony                                                               
and  said  he talked  about  Don  Lowell  (ph), a  former  DOT&PF                                                               
engineer,  who has  been hired  by the  Denali Borough  to be  an                                                               
advisor  on this  project.   She said  SB 3  includes a  $300,000                                                               
appropriation that  the state will  match, "on that  money that's                                                               
been sitting" there for about four years.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  remarked that most  of the pictures  of Mt.                                                               
Denali [Mt.  McKinley] that one  sees, such as a  Sydney Lawrence                                                               
painting, shows  the mountain from  Wonder Lake.  She  noted that                                                               
areas such  as Talkeetna and  Ferry also have beautiful  views of                                                               
Mt. Denali.   She said, "we  would expect that they  would have a                                                               
pretty controlled access to that area."   She went on to say that                                                               
a hotel and  visitor's center would probably be  built along with                                                               
the  railroad,  as  a  way  of  getting  customers  there.    She                                                               
concurred with earlier testimony that  much work would need to be                                                               
done in order for this project to be complete.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  declared  that  she is  still  opposed  to                                                               
putting more roads into the  parks, even though many people would                                                               
rather have  one, "because they like  to drive their cars."   She                                                               
believes that  there should  be some  controlled access  into the                                                               
parks, which the railroad would do.   She reiterated that she has                                                               
been  working on  these ideas  for  nine years,  and nothing  has                                                               
happened. She noted that people  in the Denali Borough would hire                                                               
people who can do the job.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  referred  to  Mr.  Mylius'  testimony  and                                                               
expressed agreement  with the  suggestion that  if a  railroad is                                                               
never built  after land is set  aside for one, there  should be a                                                               
date  in which  the land  goes back  to the  state. However,  she                                                               
disagrees with DNR that money needs  to be given to the state for                                                               
the disposition of  land.  She remarked that  people having money                                                               
and jobs  is what  benefits Alaskans.   She went  on to  say that                                                               
Alaska's long-term  plan would probably include  statewide income                                                               
taxes in which  the state would get money from  jobs created from                                                               
this issue to create services for everyone.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated  that the train would  run on natural                                                               
liquid gas, which is a very clean  fuel.  She also noted that the                                                               
train would  not be a speed  train, it would be  a tourist train.                                                               
She mentioned that  there are many types of  excursion trains and                                                               
that  British  Columbia  has  ones   that  go  through  "all  the                                                               
beautiful areas in short periods  of time, charging lots of money                                                               
for  riding on  this train,"  and having  the train  trip be  the                                                               
destination.    This  bill  provides the  opportunity  to  put  a                                                               
facility like this  in Denali National Park, which  is the "pride                                                               
of all  of Alaska  and all of  North America."   She said  that a                                                               
park like this has to be  accessible to everyone who wants to see                                                               
it.    And  this  project  opens this  "door"  in  a  "clean  and                                                               
environmentally sound way."                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that last  year while working on a                                                               
re-write  for the  250,000 acres  for the  university, which  the                                                               
governor vetoed last  year, one of the prime  parcels included in                                                               
that  list  of  land  was  a  90,000  acre  parcel,  named  "Wolf                                                               
Township."  This  would "kill" the access or  railroad going into                                                               
the park.   She said  this is "on hold."   She remarked  that she                                                               
isn't  aware of  what the  disposition of  the township  would be                                                               
once we  take this out there,  since there are mixed  feelings in                                                               
the Denali  Borough about  this issue.   She mentioned  that many                                                               
people  have  cabins  out  there  and that  it's  a  hunting  and                                                               
recreation area.   She said, "If you live by  any state land, you                                                               
hear people  say they don't  want anybody  else to have  it, they                                                               
want to  have it for  their own and  that's what the  people feel                                                               
like  about  this   Wolf  Township.    She   said,  Alaska  needs                                                               
development and  "sometimes it just  takes local  people grabbing                                                               
the bull by the horn."                                                                                                          
Number 2131                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH  commented that  he is  uncomfortable with                                                               
taking  46,000 acres  when only  3,500 acres  are needed  for the                                                               
actual  right-of-way.   He  asked  if  the [Denali]  Borough  was                                                               
initially entitled  to 3,500 acres,  how a 46,000  entitlement is                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES   indicated  that   she  would   like  [the                                                               
entitlement]  to be  done by  DNR,  but they  won't be  involved.                                                               
However,  Denali  Borough has  agreed  to  do  it, along  with  a                                                               
$20,000 fiscal note, which is reasonable.   She noted that if DNR                                                               
did it, the  fiscal note would have been much  larger.  She asked                                                               
Mr.  Mylius  how many  of  the  entitlements Denali  Borough  has                                                               
MR.  MYLIUS   replied  that  the   Denali  Borough   received  an                                                               
entitlement of  more than  49,000 acres based  on the  formula in                                                               
state statute.   To date,  20,000 acres have been  transferred to                                                               
Denali Borough, and the remaining  29,000 acres is still pending.                                                               
It requires  DNR to go through  an amendment of its  (indisc.) in                                                               
order to get those lands to the borough.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  commented that  in this particular  case, a                                                               
"large parcel" is temporarily going  back to Denali Borough until                                                               
2006.   All  but  3,500  acres will  be  transferred  back.   She                                                               
indicated that  she did not  know the  details of this,  and that                                                               
the Denali Borough would have to answer.                                                                                        
Number 1965                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOHRING asked if it  was still Representative James' intent                                                               
to provide a sponsor statement for this bill.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  stated that  she  does  not think  one  is                                                               
needed, however  she wants to include  a date that land  would be                                                               
transferred back to the state if  the project is not completed by                                                               
the deadline.   She indicated  that she  also wanted to  find out                                                               
more  information on  the  3,500 acres  that  the Denali  Borough                                                               
would  receive.     She  noted   that  she  could   provide  this                                                               
information in a sponsor statement at the next meeting.                                                                         
Number 1895                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  KOHRING announced  that HB  244 would  be held  over until                                                               
SB  88-METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS                                                                                    
CHAIR KOHRING announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
SENATE BILL  NO. 88,  "An Act  relating to  metropolitan planning                                                               
organizations  and to  establishment of  a metropolitan  planning                                                               
organization for  the Anchorage metropolitan area;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
Number 1863                                                                                                                     
SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS, sponsor of  the bill, stated that  SB 88                                                               
passed  out of  the  Senate last  week.   He  explained that  the                                                               
purpose of SB 88 is  to assist AMATS (Anchorage Metropolitan Area                                                               
Transportation  Study), which  only Anchorage  qualifies for,  by                                                               
adding one Senate member and  one House member from the Anchorage                                                               
area  to the  AMATS committee.   Currently,  the AMATS  committee                                                               
consists of  five members:   the mayor, two assembly  people, and                                                               
one  appointed  position  from the  Department  of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC) and one from  the Department of Transportation                                                               
& Public Facilities (DOT&PF).                                                                                                   
SENATOR  PHILLIPS commented  that more  direct representation  is                                                               
needed from  the legislature in  the roads and  projects process,                                                               
because they  are delayed.   He went  on to say  that two  of the                                                               
five  appointed  committee  members  are  not  "held  accountable                                                               
directly to the people," which  he does not think is appropriate.                                                               
This has led to a lot of frustration over the past ten years.                                                                   
SENATOR PHILLIPS mentioned  a project that was  supposed to occur                                                               
in Eagle River  and Muldoon last year, but that  got "bumped down                                                               
or sideways" on  the list, which upset a lot  of constituents who                                                               
were  counting  on   it  happening  at  a  certain   time.    The                                                               
constituents  then contacted  their legislators  who couldn't  do                                                               
anything about the  situation, because of the way  the process is                                                               
set up.  He said:                                                                                                               
      So, in order for constituents to have a more direct                                                                       
     say in what's going on, I propose this bill to simply                                                                      
     add one senator, [and] one house member, and increase                                                                      
     the policy committee from five to seven.                                                                                   
SENATOR PHILLIPS  acknowledged that  those outside  the Anchorage                                                               
area might view  this issue as an Anchorage fight.   However, "It                                                               
will be coming to your neighborhood,  maybe sometime soon.  And I                                                               
do not wish this on anybody," he said.                                                                                          
SENATOR PHILLIPS  pointed out  a letter  in the  committee packet                                                               
from the Federal Highway Administration  dated February 22, which                                                               
says there are no problems  with having legislators on the policy                                                               
committee.    However,  he  noted  that  the  administration  has                                                               
opposed  this legislation  on  a  couple of  points.   The  first                                                               
concern  of the  administration  was the  issue  of dual  office-                                                               
holding.   However, Hawaii  has legislators  on their  version of                                                               
AMATS.   He said Hawaii  has "virtually the same  constitution as                                                               
we do  when it comes to  dual officeship."  He  stated his belief                                                               
that  the Division  of Legal  and Research  Services [Legislative                                                               
Affairs Agency]  has provided a  legal opinion that this  bill is                                                               
"OK" while the  Office of the Attorney General has  said it can't                                                               
be done.  However, he said "it's pretty straightforward."                                                                       
Number 1710                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  related her  experience with some  of the                                                               
roads in  the Dillingham  area.  She  said her  understanding was                                                               
that legislators get a directive  from the local municipality, so                                                               
"it's  not top  down."   She asked  why this  was not  working in                                                               
Senator Phillip's area.                                                                                                         
SENATOR PHILLIPS replied that it  was not working because elected                                                               
state officials  are not  directly involved in  the process.   He                                                               
reiterated  that the  committee  consists of  the  mayor and  two                                                               
assembly members representing the municipal side, and two non-                                                                  
elected people,  from DEC  and DOT&PF, who  are appointed  by the                                                               
SENATOR PHILLIPS  commented that  the Glenn Highway  situation is                                                               
very frustrating.  The Glenn Highway  needs to be repaved, but it                                                               
won't be  [until] a  couple of  years from  now.   At the  end of                                                               
session, "the only  thing we get is ... a  list [that says] gives                                                               
us your  money and we'll  just do what we  have to do  without no                                                               
say."  Legislators have no direct  say other then to send letters                                                               
to  the technical  or policy  committee.   This is  just "another                                                               
layer  that  makes  it  real   difficult  to  get  your  projects                                                               
through," he said.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   KAPSNER  stated   that   having  three   elected                                                               
officials on a  five person committee means that  they would have                                                               
the  majority   vote,  and  be  held   accountable  by  municipal                                                               
election.  She inquired if "that's still not working."                                                                          
SENATOR PHILLIPS said no because  "generally speaking" there is a                                                               
"90-10  split," 90  percent federal  funds and  10 percent  state                                                               
funds.    He believes  as  a  legislator representing  30,000  to                                                               
40,000 people, [he]  should have a "little say"  over where these                                                               
priorities go.  He went on to say:                                                                                              
     We're  paying part  of the  bill and  I don't  mind the                                                                    
     process.    It's  just that  when  you're  elected  and                                                                    
     people come to  you and say why isn't  this being done,                                                                    
     [and]  I   say  its   because  of  AMATS,   they  don't                                                                    
     understand it.   I'm  the guy  who's getting  the flak,                                                                    
     because  I'm the  most  visible.   I'm  elected [so]  I                                                                    
     should be held  accountable for my actions  and all I'm                                                                    
     asking is to  make me accountable for my  actions.  Let                                                                    
     me be part of the  decision process in setting up these                                                                    
     priorities.   You'll hear from DOT[&PF].   They've come                                                                    
     up  with  another ...  excuse  why  they don't  support                                                                    
     [this bill].   I  just wish they  would say  they don't                                                                    
     support it  and leave  it as  is.   But anyway,  I just                                                                    
     think it's  very difficult as a  legislator, explaining                                                                    
     ... to a constituent, why isn't your road being paved.                                                                     
Number 1553                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER remarked  that  she  empathizes with  his                                                               
situation because  she has  the same  problem in  Dillingham with                                                               
the Wood Tik  Chik (ph) Road.   However, she would not  ask to be                                                               
on  the Dillingham  City Council.   She  stated that  one of  the                                                               
concerns with  this bill is  the dual office  holding prohibition                                                               
in the  Alaska State Constitution.   She asked if this  should be                                                               
waived for this situation.                                                                                                      
Number 1524                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  reiterated his  belief  that  the Division  of                                                               
Legal and  Research Services  has said  SB 88  is not  a problem,                                                               
while  the Department  of  Law has  said  it is  a  problem.   He                                                               
reiterated   that  Hawaii,   which  has   practically  the   same                                                               
constitution   as  far   as   dual   office-holding,  has   state                                                               
legislators serving on  its version of AMATS.   He described this                                                               
situation as a  struggle that has been going on  for eight to ten                                                               
years.   He  has  reached  a point  of  frustration  in which  he                                                               
believes "we  got to step  in and have  some say in  this process                                                               
and be held accountable for your actions."                                                                                      
SENATOR PHILLIPS suggested that  legislators outside of Anchorage                                                               
imagine the following:                                                                                                          
     Your constituents  are telling you this,  this and this                                                                    
     ... for their roads, or  harbors, or whatever and [you]                                                                    
     really  can't reach  in and  try to  make it  right for                                                                    
     them and  still get  virtually beat  up because  of it.                                                                    
     ...  Somebody  else is making the decision  for you and                                                                    
     the  only  thing  you're doing  is  approving  a  list,                                                                    
     handing a check  and then they go and  do whatever they                                                                    
     have to do.                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS explained  that the President of  the Senate and                                                               
the Speaker  of the House  would appoint the  legislative members                                                               
of this committee.   He imagined that the  Anchorage caucus would                                                               
understand that  these legislative members would  be representing                                                               
Anchorage as  a whole, not their  "own corner" of Anchorage.   He                                                               
said  there would  be "some  understanding between  the presiding                                                               
officer and that member and the  caucus as a whole."  He believes                                                               
this  would "add  a little  bit more  credibility to  the public,                                                               
despite negative feelings towards legislators."                                                                                 
Number 1430                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  remarked that  she has strong  empathy for                                                               
his situation because she feels it as  well.  She asked if he was                                                               
proposing that all areas do this.                                                                                               
SENATOR  PHILLIPS answered  no, an  area  is forced  to have  the                                                               
AMATS process when  the population reaches 50,000.   He said none                                                               
of "your" communities  will ever qualify, however  it is possible                                                               
that the Wasilla and Fairbanks areas would.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  questioned if  this bill leaves  out areas                                                               
such as Southeast, where the population is small.                                                                               
Number 1355                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  PHILLIPS pointed  out that  Representative Wilson  has a                                                               
direct  link to  DOT&PF in  dealing with  projects, while  he has                                                               
"another layer to  work through."  For example,  when projects in                                                               
Muldoon and  Eagle River  were delayed  last October,  many angry                                                               
people called  him.  In  turn, he called  DOT&PF who told  him to                                                               
talk to  AMATS.  If AMATS  did not exist, he  could deal directly                                                               
with the  commissioner or regional  officer for  the Southcentral                                                               
SENATOR PHILLIPS  informed the committee that  AMATS meetings are                                                               
not consistent  and have been  canceled and moved.   He indicated                                                               
that having  a legislator at  these policy committees  would help                                                               
ensure that a meeting isn't canceled.   He also stated that AMATS                                                               
has lost "a lot of credibility with every folks in our area."                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON remarked  that although  she doesn't  have                                                               
this  "middle"   problem,  she  still   has  the   same  problem.                                                               
Therefore, she  is not  sure if  this legislation  is the  way to                                                               
resolve the issue.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  responded  to  these remarks  by  saying  that                                                               
before  AMATS,  when there  were  projects,  one would  call  the                                                               
DOT&PF central office and the  commissioner who would work on the                                                               
project list.   He stated that since AMATS was  started, 10 to 12                                                               
years ago,  "you have to go  through another maze to  get through                                                               
where  you  should  be."    He  reiterated  that  areas  such  as                                                               
Representative Wilson's  district do not  have to deal  with this                                                               
other part.                                                                                                                     
Number 1223                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  asked if  Hawaii  has  a prohibition  on                                                               
legislators serving in multiple positions.                                                                                      
SENATOR PHILLIPS  interjected that  Hawaii has no  prohibition on                                                               
legislators  serving   on  its   version  of  the   AMATS  policy                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI wondered  whether  Senator Phillips  would                                                               
rather get rid of AMATS.                                                                                                        
SENATOR PHILLIPS said that he  has talked about that possibility.                                                               
However, AMATS is  an executive order agreed  between the federal                                                               
and state governments.  He said, "I  would love to get rid of it,                                                               
frankly, and just deal with DOT[&PF] directly on a daily basis."                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI asked if there  has been any benefit to the                                                               
AMATS board.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  replied  that   he  is  "one  very  frustrated                                                               
individual."   However, if he had  to put a "positive  spring" on                                                               
it,  he would  say  the AMATS  committee has  probably  led to  a                                                               
"little bit better planning" than before.   But it's getting to a                                                               
point where  they are  planning things  "literally to  death" and                                                               
they are  not getting the project  done.  For example,  the Glenn                                                               
Highway is  in bad  shape, and  it won't  be repaved  for another                                                               
couple of years.                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS reiterated  to the committee that  he knows this                                                               
is an  Anchorage fight.   However, it's possible that  the Mat-Su                                                               
Valley and Fairbanks areas are  close to getting this mandated as                                                               
well.   He believes "we"  should have  more say in  what happens.                                                               
He noted  that he would  not want to  be on the  policy committee                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI pondered  whether  this  board is  somehow                                                               
delaying or  causing a  delay of  projects to happen  or is  it a                                                               
lack of  funding.  However, if  AMATS is a board  that recommends                                                               
projects, a lot of things may be out of their hands.                                                                            
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  concurred,  but   said  that  there  are  many                                                               
projects that occur  in his area that the community  does not ask                                                               
for.   He  referred  to one  project  in which  no  one from  his                                                               
community requested.   It was discovered that  "someplace deep in                                                               
DOT[&PF] in the Anchorage area made the request."                                                                               
An  at-ease was  called at  2:42 p.m.   The  House Transportation                                                               
Standing Committee meeting was called back to order at 2:44 p.m.                                                                
TAPE 01-29 SIDE A                                                                                                               
Number 0054                                                                                                                     
CHERYL CLEMENSEN, Assembly Member,  East Anchorage, testified via                                                               
     I've been  on the [Anchorage] Assembly  for about eight                                                                    
     years, AMATS  for two  years, and I  was on  AMATS when                                                                    
     similar  legislation for  this first  came up  three or                                                                    
     four years  ago.   This kind  of legislation  has never                                                                    
     been  requested by  the  local governing  body.   As  a                                                                    
     matter of  fact, the local  governing body has  gone on                                                                    
     record every year  as opposing the change  to the AMATS                                                                    
     or  to the  Metropolitan planning  office which  is the                                                                    
     (indisc.)  of  the Metropolitan  Planning  Organization                                                                    
     [MPO].    It  came  up  the first  year,  and  I  can't                                                                    
     remember  if  it  was  three or  four  years  ago,  the                                                                    
     Anchorage Assembly  held a public hearing  of the issue                                                                    
     and  the  House   Transportation  [Standing]  Committee                                                                    
     participated via  teleconference.  Several  people from                                                                    
     the community  participated and  testified.   There was                                                                    
     not one person who testified in favor of this.                                                                             
     We  have  never,  at  the  local  level,  received  any                                                                    
     letter, e-mail, [or] telephone calls  that I'm aware of                                                                    
     or  testimony  asking  that we  increase  the  size  of                                                                    
     AMATS,  that  we  add another  layer  of  participation                                                                    
     level  of government....    While  people are  somewhat                                                                    
     frustrated  with  AMATS  as they  are  with  any  other                                                                    
     process  that involves  public money,  no one  has ever                                                                    
     suggested  that this  would  be a  proper  fix for  it,                                                                    
     except  the   members  of  the  legislature.     And  I                                                                    
     understand  that frustration.   But,  we are  extremely                                                                    
     frustrated at this end [because]  year after year after                                                                    
     year   [we]  have   to  be   going  through   the  same                                                                    
     To  be  honest  with  you, legislators  have  the  same                                                                    
     opportunity that members of the  public have to comment                                                                    
     on the  plans and the  things that  come before us.   I                                                                    
     know Senator  Donley has routinely sent  in letters and                                                                    
     comments on  the plans.   And he has been  effective in                                                                    
     getting some changes or getting  things moved up on the                                                                    
     list....  When  AMATS took up 15th Avenue,  a couple of                                                                    
     years ago, I  was on AMATS ...  and several legislators                                                                    
     from  the area  did fly  in  from Juneau  so that  they                                                                    
     could  testify and  be present  at that  meeting.   But                                                                    
     other than  that meeting, I  have not  seen legislators                                                                    
     participate even when they are in town.                                                                                    
     AMATS  meets  every month.    They  meet on  a  regular                                                                    
     basis.   They  take public  testimony.   It's important                                                                    
     for people  to be  able to  be here  in advance,  to be                                                                    
     able  to attend  work  sessions  or to  be  able to  be                                                                    
     (indisc.).   We have a  very excellent staff.   We have                                                                    
     an AMATS Coordinator  and that's all he  does; works on                                                                    
     AMATS  projects, AMATS  funding, AMATS  prioritization,                                                                    
     all those  sort of things.   He's part of  our planning                                                                    
     department.    He  coordinates with  the  comprehensive                                                                    
     plan  and the  other  (indisc.) that  are taking  place                                                                    
     here in town.                                                                                                              
     I think the bottom line of  what I'm trying to tell you                                                                    
     is that  the system is  not broken.   No one  is asking                                                                    
     for it  to be fixed.   I also  would like to  point out                                                                    
     that  I  believe  that this  action  does  violate  the                                                                    
     intent  of Congress  when they  said that  metropolitan                                                                    
     planning organizations  are intended for  local control                                                                    
     and for local decision.                                                                                                    
     This  [bill] is  not  local control  and  with all  due                                                                    
     respect to  Senator Phillips, when  I hear  him testify                                                                    
     about  the frustration  about this  particular project,                                                                    
     [what]  he  doesn't  understand  ...  [is  that]  we're                                                                    
     dealing with  a thick  pot of  money and  project lists                                                                    
     ...  every single  year. Sometimes  things that  were a                                                                    
     priority one  year, move over  a bit  because something                                                                    
     else [that] is a higher priority comes up.                                                                                 
     For  example, we  have now  built an  elementary school                                                                    
     along Abbot  Road, and we're  trying to figure  out how                                                                    
     to fund  the upgraded  road whereas  before that  was a                                                                    
     project  that wouldn't  of received  so much  attention                                                                    
     because it  didn't have the  amount of traffic  that it                                                                    
     is now.  I'm very concerned  about this and I would ask                                                                    
     you  to please  understand  that (indisc.)  are a  step                                                                    
     forward  for local  governing body,  for local  control                                                                    
     and that  the local governing body  continues to oppose                                                                    
     these types  of legislation.   And  then you  would ...                                                                    
     be out  of compliance  with the  United States  Code 23                                                                    
     USE 134.  And I have a lot of concerns about that.                                                                         
Number 0372                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI stated  that  he  supports local  control.                                                               
However, he asked  her to respond to  Senator Phillips's concerns                                                               
or  frustrations regarding  "disgruntled  individuals who  didn't                                                               
get  their  way or  projects  that  appear  not  [to be]  on  the                                                               
horizon,  that   are  getting  funded".     He  said   that  when                                                               
[legislators] are  in Juneau, they  get a "different  story" than                                                               
when they're home.                                                                                                              
MS.  CLEMENSEN  replied that  the  project  list goes  through  a                                                               
public  process  in  which  the  projects  are  ranked,  and  the                                                               
[Anchorage]  Assembly  as  a  whole  votes  on  the  list.    She                                                               
explained that  AMATS representatives  are required  to represent                                                               
the vote  of the entire body  on the prioritization of  the list.                                                               
Furthermore,  the  mayor follows  this  process  as well.    This                                                               
represents ultimate  control in  the most  basic form  other than                                                               
"community  by community  actually  having a  seat  on the  AMATS                                                               
policy committee."   Public hearings  are a part of  this process                                                               
and  thus  she doesn't  believe  it  is a  good  idea  to have  a                                                               
legislator as a  committee member when he or she  would be out of                                                               
town for four  months of the year and wouldn't  be "following the                                                               
same sort of input that we have."   She remarked that she did not                                                               
know which projects  Senator Phillips was referring  to that were                                                               
added by AMATS and that did not go through a public process.                                                                    
Number 0489                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   SCALZI  suggested   that  if   legislators  were                                                               
involved in the  process for the other eight months  of the year,                                                               
it  might eliminate  some  of  the frustration.    It would  also                                                               
enable legislators  to have a  better understanding  of projects.                                                               
He asked  Ms. Clemensen if she  thought there was any  benefit to                                                               
having  legislators on  the committee,  not to  dominate, but  to                                                               
understand the process.                                                                                                         
MS. CLEMENSEN replied:                                                                                                          
     I believe ... that would  be about as helpful as having                                                                    
     legislators  on the  school board  because they  fund a                                                                    
     large  part of  our  school district  budget, yet  they                                                                    
     have no direct  say in how that money is  spent or even                                                                    
     what school  capital construction projects  are funded.                                                                    
     ...   This is a  separation of powers issue.   Congress                                                                    
     clearly meant  for local governing bodies  to have this                                                                    
     control.   We  do  have  a control.    We  have a  very                                                                    
     detailed public  process.  We  are not asking  for help                                                                    
     in fixing it and I can't  think of a single time when a                                                                    
     bigger   government  body   made  a   better  (indisc.)                                                                    
     government body.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI  said he was  thinking of a  more "informed                                                               
decision rather than exercising a higher level of government."                                                                  
CHAIR KOHRING stated his intent to  entertain a motion for SB 88,                                                               
if a committee member cared to do so.                                                                                           
Number 0667                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH  objected to an  attempt to move  the bill                                                               
out  of committee  because  there were  still  people waiting  to                                                               
testify, and he wanted to hear  from DOT&PF.  He said, "Trying to                                                               
push it  because of  a deadline  is not fair  to anyone,"  and he                                                               
would like to hold the bill over to the next meeting                                                                            
CHAIR KOHRING  asked if  the will  of committee  was to  hear the                                                               
rest of the  testimony and take the bill up  for consideration at                                                               
the next meeting.  He apologized for rushing the process.                                                                       
Number 0727                                                                                                                     
THOMAS  BRIGHAM,   Director,  Division  of   Statewide  Planning,                                                               
Department of  Transportation & Public Facilities,  remarked that                                                               
he understood  Senator Phillip's frustration since  it is similar                                                               
to  anyone's frustration  when  wanting a  project  to begin  and                                                               
somehow "our  process or  in this  case, the  MPO's [Metropolitan                                                               
Planning Organization] process  is kind of standing  in the way."                                                               
However, SB 88  is not the mechanism, at least  for the Anchorage                                                               
area, to appropriately deal with this issue.                                                                                    
MR. BRIGHAM explained that federal  law established MPO more than                                                               
20 years  ago as a  congressional way  to deal with  the conflict                                                               
between  local   and  state  government  in   how  these  federal                                                               
transportation dollars  were spent.   He described  this conflict                                                               
as being:                                                                                                                       
     Big cities in particular who  were saying, "give us the                                                                    
     money, we  know how to  spend it, this a  local issue,"                                                                    
     ... and  the states  on the  other hand  were basically                                                                    
     saying "no,  give us the  money we see the  big picture                                                                    
     and we know where to go...."                                                                                               
MR. BRIGHAM remarked  that this conflict has not gone  away.  The                                                               
MPO process  applies to communities  in an urbanized area  with a                                                               
population of at  least 50,000.  He mentioned  the possibility of                                                               
Wasilla, Mat-Su Valley,  or Fairbanks becoming MPO's  as a result                                                               
of the 2000  census.  He noted that Anchorage  is "way beyond the                                                               
threshold and  the basic  idea is  that what the  MPO or  in this                                                               
case  AMATS is,  is  a joint  local/federal decision-making  body                                                               
that  together determines  where this  funding should  be spent."                                                               
He said it  is an additional layer, but one  that was established                                                               
by Congress;  all federal money has  to go through the  MPO to be                                                               
spent in the Anchorage urban area.                                                                                              
Number 0891                                                                                                                     
MR.  BRIGHAM  declared  that  [DOT&PF] does  not  support  SB  88                                                               
because  it  diminishes  local control;  it  upsets  the  balance                                                               
between state and  local roles in deciding how money  is spent in                                                               
the  Anchorage  urban  area.    He noted  that  since  AMATS  was                                                               
created, there  has always been  one more local than  state vote.                                                               
Originally it  was two local votes  to one state vote  and now it                                                               
is three local  votes to two state votes.   Although there aren't                                                               
many state-local divisions, the idea  behind this in voting is if                                                               
"it  comes down  to state  versus municipality,  the municipality                                                               
can outvote  the state."   This [bill]  would change  this, which                                                               
would result in having four state votes and three local votes.                                                                  
MR.  BRIGHAM  indicated  that  another  reason  DOT&PF  does  not                                                               
support this bill  is that MPO is the group  that needs to decide                                                               
what the  most important  projects are.   He noted  that [DOT&PF]                                                               
might  not agree  at times  with  what AMATS  decides.   However,                                                               
according to  the law, AMATS can  choose.  He also  mentioned the                                                               
attorney  general's   position  that   this  bill   violates  the                                                               
constitutional  prohibition  against  dual office  holding.    He                                                               
noted that  legislative council has  a different opinion  on this                                                               
matter.   However, he  said "it's a  cautionary light  at minimum                                                               
and urge your caution in this regard."                                                                                          
MR. BRIGHAM  referred to letters [included  in committee packets]                                                               
from the Federal Highway Administration.   The February 22, 2001,                                                               
letter   says,  "Federal   regulations   do   not  preclude   the                                                               
participation  of state  legislators on  the AMATS  Policy Board.                                                               
He then pointed  to the April 5, 2001, letter  that discusses how                                                               
legislators get to the AMATS Policy  Board.  He agreed that there                                                               
is no  prohibition against having  legislators on the  MPO Policy                                                               
Board.   However, he said the  point of this letter  was that the                                                               
MPO  has  to vote  in  order  to add  new  members.   So  if  the                                                               
legislature were to  say "we want to put two  more members on the                                                               
MPO," it would be in violation of federal and state regulations.                                                                
Number 1136                                                                                                                     
MATT  KETCHUM,  Wilder  Construction   Company,  stated  that  he                                                               
supports Senator  Phillips' testimony.   He remarked that  he was                                                               
referring to  "financial responsibility and accountability."   He                                                               
believes that  Senator Phillips'  frustration is that  the people                                                               
making  the project  decisions concerning  where the  $70 million                                                               
will be spent, have the  financial responsibility to constituents                                                               
for direct money.                                                                                                               
MR. KETCHUM  commented that as  a contractor who bids  AMATS work                                                               
and has worked on AMATS projects,  he has seen many projects that                                                               
"don't make  sense" priority wise.   He  said, "It's work  to us,                                                               
and that's what  we do, we're contractors, we  sign contracts but                                                               
as citizens in  the town, [we see]  ... a lot of work  that we do                                                               
[that] does  not seem to  make sense."   He noted that  the AMATS                                                               
committee might have  prioritized the projects.   But, "we" don't                                                               
have the  time to attend  the meetings to "establish  these AMATS                                                               
priority  lists,"  he   said.    However,  if   there  were  some                                                               
legislative  influence,  projects  of  a  higher  priority  would                                                               
probably come  first, which  would be  "better for  the community                                                               
and   particularly   the   constituents  that   the   legislators                                                               
Number 1215                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  wondered how  he  determines  what is  a                                                               
priority [project] in the community.                                                                                            
MR. KETCHUM said, "I live there."                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked him to provide an example.                                                                         
MR.  KETCHUM described  a project  that consisted  of building  a                                                               
bike path  near Peter's Creek.   He  said that the  beginning and                                                               
end of  the path went nowhere;  it was not in  a relatively high-                                                               
density community.  He noted that  there was a school nearby, but                                                               
the  "access and  egress" of  this bike  path did  not make  much                                                               
sense.  One part  of the bike path was so steep,  it could not be                                                               
paved, and so  a gravel surface was put in,  which supposedly met                                                               
some AMATS standards.  This job  cost $1.7 million for a two-mile                                                               
bike path.  He commented that  those who lived there were saying,                                                               
"What in the world is this for?"                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  asked if that  would be the fault  of the                                                               
AMATS Board or an engineering fault.                                                                                            
MR. KETCHUM replied  that it was the fault of  the [AMATS] Board.                                                               
He said, "DOT is  marching to the beat of AMATS  and that's why I                                                               
think they're  more in favor of  not having the AMATS  control in                                                               
there  as well."   This  is the  frustration; "people  see things                                                               
like that  and then they see  a road in [Senator  Phillips'] area                                                               
that  very  much  needs  [work]   for  safety,  maintenance,  for                                                               
everything."   He  indicated that  if someone  wanted to  provide                                                               
input for  the list,  one had  to attend the  meetings.   But one                                                               
needs to call ahead to make  sure the meeting has not changed, he                                                               
MR.  KETCHUM stated  that he  supports  Senator Phillips  because                                                               
this bill  would add legislative  "interactment" to  the process.                                                               
He suggested that this would  make the legislators feel obligated                                                               
to attend  the meetings,  and this  would enable  higher priority                                                               
projects to  get completed  first.   He mentioned  that Anchorage                                                               
has  more  trail  miles  than  road  miles  and  DOT&PF  probably                                                               
realizes  this, but  it  "can hardly  maintain  trails much  less                                                               
build  more."   He  said  his comments  are  from a  contractor's                                                               
perspective and from a company  that consists of people living in                                                               
this area.                                                                                                                      
Number 1344                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH surmised that  as a contractor even though                                                               
Mr. Ketchum thought the aforementioned  [bike path] went nowhere,                                                               
he was still willing to take  the contract and accept state money                                                               
to build it.                                                                                                                    
MR.  KETCHUM replied,  "Without  a doubt,  that's  what we're  in                                                               
business for, is contracts."                                                                                                    
Number 1420                                                                                                                     
ANNA   FAIRCLOUGH,   Legislative   Chair,   Anchorage   Assembly;                                                               
Committee  Representative, AMATS;  testified via  teleconference.                                                               
She  pointed out  AR  No. 2001-44  that  announces the  Anchorage                                                               
Assembly's unanimous opposition to SB 88.                                                                                       
MS. FAIRCLOUGH gave the following testimony:                                                                                    
     Senator   Phillips  and   Senator   Donley  have   been                                                                    
     encouraged to participate and  attend our monthly AMATS                                                                    
     meetings.   I have  directed Lance Wilbur,  Director of                                                                    
     AMATS,  to personally  invite both  senators to  all of                                                                    
     our presentations.                                                                                                         
     Taking Senator  Phillips and Senator  Donley's concerns                                                                    
     very seriously,  the AMATS committee, the  AMATS policy                                                                    
     committee has been meeting bi-weekly  for close to four                                                                    
     months to address  the problem and change  the way that                                                                    
     AMATS ...  functions.   Today it  functions differently                                                                    
     and more  effectively.  I'd  like you to know  that the                                                                    
     federal  government  believes   that  the  Metropolitan                                                                    
     Planning Organization  in Anchorage, Alaska, is  one of                                                                    
     the  model programs.   To  that end,  we were  actually                                                                    
     asked to  go to Hawaii  and try to help  straighten out                                                                    
     their problem.  While  Senator Phillips has pointed out                                                                    
     that legislators and political  leaders are taking part                                                                    
     in  Hawaii's  AMATS  policy  program,  or  the  MPO  in                                                                    
     Hawaii,   they  felt   appropriate   to  actually   ask                                                                    
     Anchorage to  come over and  explain how we  were doing                                                                    
     it so some  of their projects might  move [through the]                                                                    
     system more efficiently.                                                                                                   
     So,  I  would   encourage  any  of  you   if  you  have                                                                    
     questions, to  contact Lance Wilbur and  talk about the                                                                    
     information  he shared  and the  challenges the  Hawaii                                                                    
     MPO is having.  One  of those challenges that were told                                                                    
     to  me  was,  because  of the  political  will  of  the                                                                    
     constituents,   that   projects  change   as   election                                                                    
     official changes.  So that's  been part of the problem.                                                                    
     A concern for me that  Tom mentioned was the separation                                                                    
     of powers.   The federal government, in  my reading and                                                                    
     certainly  that's a  laymen's  reading,  not a  council                                                                    
     point  of view,  was trying  to get  to the  point that                                                                    
     local leaders  would control  how local  dollars inside                                                                    
     the community and prioritize that.                                                                                         
     With that  thought in  mind, I'd  like you  to consider                                                                    
     that  Mr. [Dick]  Tremaine [Anchorage  Assembly member]                                                                    
     and  myself,  while  serving on  AMATS  and  collecting                                                                    
     information, really are not  voting for South Anchorage                                                                    
     or for Chugiak  Eagle River.  We're  required, bound to                                                                    
     take any requests  back to the entire body  so that the                                                                    
     entire  Anchorage  community  has  the  opportunity  to                                                                    
     weigh in on the decision  before we actually we go back                                                                    
     and vote  to appropriate  or designate a  priority list                                                                    
     of how we're going to send money.                                                                                          
     I was certainly as  frustrated as Senator Phillips last                                                                    
     October when I found  out that Business Boulevard again                                                                    
     had not  obligated for  money.  But  in defense  of the                                                                    
     process, Business  Boulevard went  from a  small safety                                                                    
     project  into  a  full  blown  renovation  of  Business                                                                    
     Boulevard with  a large  change in  the scope  for that                                                                    
     project and  that incredible amount of  increased funds                                                                    
     that  were required  through the  AMATS  process.   And                                                                    
     that will turn (indisc.) this summer.                                                                                      
     If the  legislature wants  to be  involved, we  are all                                                                    
     one city.  Senator Phillips  and Senator Donley, we all                                                                    
     live in  the same town.   We  all want the  same thing.                                                                    
     We  do not  want  this  to be  weighed  in a  political                                                                    
     direction  because of  who is  in office.   And  as Tom                                                                    
     pointed  out, shifting  powers from  three  votes at  a                                                                    
     local  level to  four at  a  state level.   The  GARVEE                                                                    
     bonds is  a solution that  if we could get  senator and                                                                    
     representative  support, would  help Anchorage  as well                                                                    
     as  many other  communities throughout  Anchorage. Just                                                                    
     to point  out, 20 percent  of AMATS money for  the last                                                                    
     decade has come to the  MPO in Anchorage, Alaska, while                                                                    
     we have  40 percent  of the population.   We  could use                                                                    
     legislative  help to  change that  breakdown.   And I'm                                                                    
     certainly not  saying that  we need  40 percent  of the                                                                    
     money.    I'm   just  pointing  out  that   we  take  a                                                                    
     considerably amount  less than  the population  that we                                                                    
     [I'm]   just  ask[ing]   you   to   consider  how   the                                                                    
     legislators would  actually add to the  process.  Their                                                                    
     availability    to   participate    in   meetings    is                                                                    
     questionable  per  the  Anchorage  legislative  caucus.                                                                    
     When I met  with them, they felt like the  time that we                                                                    
     met would  be inconvenient.   And that we would  now be                                                                    
     asking  the   constituents  of  Anchorage   to  contact                                                                    
     legislators  in Juneau  for  part of  the  year to  get                                                                    
     things done with  Anchorage.  With that,  I support all                                                                    
     of the  information, input,  and conversation  that any                                                                    
     legislature wants to  put in the process  and would ask                                                                    
     the committee  to not support  this legislation  and to                                                                    
     really take  a look at  how those MPO's are  working in                                                                    
     other areas.                                                                                                               
     Thank you                                                                                                                  
CHAIR   KOHRING  noted   that  Senator   Phillips  provided   the                                                               
resolution  [of   the  Anchorage   Municipal  Assembly]   in  the                                                               
committee packets.   He  asked what the  assembly's vote  on this                                                               
resolution was.                                                                                                                 
MS. FAIRCLOUGH said it was unanimous [against SB 88].                                                                           
Number 1693                                                                                                                     
DICK  TREMAINE, South  Anchorage Assembly  Member, testified  via                                                               
teleconference that  his district  consists of 52,000  people and                                                               
thus could separate from the  Municipality of Anchorage in regard                                                               
to  federal  highway funding.    So,  this  would be  the  second                                                               
metropolitan area in the state ahead of Fairbanks                                                                               
MR. TREMAINE  commented that Federal  Highway dollars  take about                                                               
seven years  to make a road,  a "miserably long time"  that leads                                                               
to the  perception of delay.   He remarked that there  are people                                                               
who want  local participation,  and "what  better than  the mayor                                                               
and two assembly  members that live in town,  rather than someone                                                               
who is spending their legislative  time elsewhere out of town and                                                               
actually  would have  to transport  themselves back  to Anchorage                                                               
for the bi-weekly meeting."                                                                                                     
MR.  TREMAINE indicated  that information  on  meetings could  be                                                               
obtained over  the Internet.   He noted that he  believes Senator                                                               
Phillip's office  receives it.   He referred to  earlier comments                                                               
regarding the delay of projects in  Eagle River and said that the                                                               
people delaying  the project were  those that owned  the property                                                               
and who  would not  sign a  right-of-way agreement,  because they                                                               
did not want  to sell their property.   The delay was  not due to                                                               
the  policy committee  or a  "technocrat."   He  asked the  House                                                               
Transportation Standing  Committee to respect the  vote unanimous                                                               
vote  of  the Anchorage  Assembly  and  not  pass  SB 88  out  of                                                               
CHAIR  KOHRING announced  that SB  88  would be  held over  until                                                               
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Transportation Standing  Committee meeting was adjourned  at 3:15                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects