Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/23/2005 02:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Note Time Change --
*+ HB 279 OUTDOOR ADVERTISING; ENCROACHMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 279(TRA) Out of Committee
*+ HJR 18 FEDERAL MARINE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ACT TELECONFERENCED
Tabled
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 259 TRUCK LOAD REQUIREMENTS
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 23, 2005                                                                                         
                           2:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jim Elkins, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Carl Gatto, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Thomas                                                                                                      
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Woodie Salmon                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 259                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to covered or enclosed loads."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 279                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to encroachments in the right-of-way of a                                                                      
highway."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 279(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18                                                                                                   
Relating to the federal Maritime Transportation Security Act of                                                                 
2002 and the state's right to tax commercial passenger vessels.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - TABLED                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 259                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TRUCK LOAD REQUIREMENTS                                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
04/07/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/07/05       (H)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
04/12/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/12/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/19/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/19/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 259(TRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/19/05       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/23/05       (H)       TRA AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 279                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OUTDOOR ADVERTISING; ENCROACHMENTS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
04/19/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/19/05       (H)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
04/23/05       (H)       TRA AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 18                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FEDERAL MARINE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ACT                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GATTO                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
04/15/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/15/05       (H)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
04/23/05       (H)       TRA AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
NONA WILSON, Legislative Liaison                                                                                                
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments and responded to                                                                         
questions during discussion of HB 259.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments during discussion of HB
279.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MACKINNON, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                             
Highways & Public Facilities                                                                                                    
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments and responded to                                                                         
questions during discussion of HB 279.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
LINDA KOVAC, Secretary/Treasure                                                                                                 
Board of Directors                                                                                                              
Chugiak Community Council                                                                                                       
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA)                                                                                                 
Chugiak, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided comments  during discussion  of HB
279 and expressed her hope that the bill will pass.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE BARTLEY, Chief                                                                                                            
Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, Inc.                                                                                 
Anchorage Fire Department                                                                                                       
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA)                                                                                                 
Chugiak, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided comments  during discussion  of HB
279, urged  the committee to adopt  the bill, and responded  to a                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE OSSIANDER, Member                                                                                                        
Anchorage Assembly                                                                                                              
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA)                                                                                                 
Chugiak, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 279.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CODY RICE, Staff                                                                                                                
to Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HJR 18 on behalf  of the sponsor,                                                               
Representative Gatto, and responded to questions.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  CARL GATTO  called  the  House Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  2:05:33  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Gatto, Elkins,  Neuman, and Kohring  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.    Representatives  Thomas  and  Kapsner  arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 259 - TRUCK LOAD REQUIREMENTS                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 259  "An Act  relating to covered  or enclosed                                                               
loads."    [A proposed  committee  substitute  (CS) for  HB  259,                                                               
Version 24-LS0833\Y -  although never formally adopted  as a work                                                               
draft - had  been treated as amended and  reported from committee                                                               
on 4/19/05.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO,  because of  the lack of  a formal  motion during                                                               
the meeting on  4/19/05 regarding the adoption of Version  Y as a                                                               
work  draft,  relayed  his  intention  of  having  the  committee                                                               
rescind  its action  in reporting  [Version Y,  as amended]  from                                                               
committee,  and then  rescind it's  actions in  amending [Version                                                               
Y], thus allowing the committee to  adopt, as a work draft, a new                                                               
proposed CS  for HB 259, Version  24-LS0833\S, which incorporates                                                               
the amendments made to Version Y.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  moved that  the committee  rescind its  action in                                                               
reporting [Version  Y, as amended]  from committee.   There being                                                               
no objection, the committee's action was rescinded.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  moved that the  committee rescind its  actions in                                                               
adopting amendments to [Version Y].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN asked what those amendments entailed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO said:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Those amendments  had to  do with  "a gross  to remove"                                                                    
     pickup trucks  from this requirement,  and we  did that                                                                    
     by  saying  that vehicles  with  a  gvw [gross  vehicle                                                                    
     weight]  ...   of  less  than  9,200   pounds  wouldn't                                                                    
     qualify.   And we  did this  because we  called various                                                                    
     organizations to  see what pickup trucks  entailed, and                                                                    
     if you  talk about the  gross vehicle weight,  then you                                                                    
     pretty  much  know  that you've  got  all  the  pickups                                                                    
     included, and  we did  not want  to include  pickups in                                                                    
     this, so they're excluded.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     We  dealt ...  also with  giving exclusions  to certain                                                                    
     communities,  and Representative  Thomas  wanted us  to                                                                    
     exclude   communities  that   are   not  connected   to                                                                    
     Anchorage by a continuous  state road such [as] passing                                                                    
     through  the country  of Canada;  [such]  would not  be                                                                    
     under the ...  requirements of this bill.   And also if                                                                    
     the  communities were  less than  5,000 in  population.                                                                    
     Basically the  bill was intended to  do something about                                                                    
     the heavy  truck traffic  in Anchorage  and [Matanuska-                                                                    
     Susitna  ("MAT-SU")], and  we  wanted to,  essentially,                                                                    
     define  what  these  words meant  in  legislation  that                                                                    
     already  exists, so  that it's  clear  to [the  DOT&PF]                                                                    
     what our intent was in this original language.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO   announced  that  the  committee's   actions  in                                                               
adopting the amendments [to Version Y] were rescinded.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  made a motion  to adopt  the proposed CS  for HB
259, Version 24-LS0833\S, as the work draft.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO   announced  that   Version  S  was   before  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  reiterated  that   Version  S  incorporates  the                                                               
amendments adopted during the  4/19/05 meeting, and characterized                                                               
Version  S as  perfect because  it  deals with  the pickup  truck                                                               
exemption and  the issue  of snow,  it exempts  communities under                                                               
5,000 and any  community not connected to Anchorage  by road, and                                                               
it changes "contained or confined" to "covered or enclosed."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  said he  has problems with  the bill.   He                                                               
said a lot of road  construction involves one- or two-mile trips,                                                               
and so covering each and every  one of the loads of material used                                                               
is going  to add a  tremendous amount of  "time and cost"  to all                                                               
Alaska's road  projects.  He  said the  gravel on the  roads does                                                               
not all  come from  dump trucks,  and there  are already  laws to                                                               
help people  replace windshields from  rock damage due  to [dump]                                                               
trucks.  He  indicated that he didn't think that  HB 259 will fix                                                               
the current enforcement  problem, and detailed the  steps he took                                                               
when he  [hauled loads of material].   He said he  cannot support                                                               
the  bill,  and  mentioned  the  possible  increase  in  cost  to                                                               
businesses.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO asked how much time  it takes to cover a load with                                                               
an "automatic" cover.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
NONA  WILSON, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
mentioning both swing arm style  automatic covers and track style                                                               
automatic covers, said  she didn't know how much  time covering a                                                               
load would take,  adding that private truck drivers  might not be                                                               
able to afford fully automatic covers.   In response to a further                                                               
question, she indicated that she  was unfamiliar with exactly how                                                               
the "automatic" systems work.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  indicated that  if  using  the automatic  covers                                                               
added an hour in the course of  a day, he would be concerned, but                                                               
if using them adds "40 seconds," such would be acceptable.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN said  dump trucks get dirty,  and the cover                                                               
tracks would  always be full  of gravel,  thus one would  have to                                                               
"be up there  cleaning them constantly."  He  postulated that the                                                               
cost of  installation and maintenance  would be  astronomical and                                                               
should be included in the cost estimates.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  reiterated that she  didn't know  whether [automatic]                                                               
covers would be on swing arms or on an actual tracks.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:17:15 PM                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO restated the intent  of the bill, and posited that                                                               
the  [Alaska State]  Troopers would  be  understanding for  short                                                               
hauls.    He  expressed  concern about  trucks  on  long-distance                                                               
highway trips "blowing" gravel all over the highway.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON said the DOT&PF  can assist vehicle owners with claims                                                               
of rock damage from department trucks.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  said it  is difficult  to chase  a truck  that is                                                               
responsible for spewing rocks.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:19:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON posited  that usually when there is  debris flying off                                                               
of  a truck,  it  is  because it  is  overloaded.   She  pondered                                                               
whether drivers might tend to overload a truck with a cover.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO suggested that that is a separate issue.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  said he would like  to defer the issue  in order                                                               
to see  the minutes from  the previous meeting, adding,  "I would                                                               
like  to know  what  the  testimony was  that  convinced us  last                                                               
meeting to pass this bill."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON  referred   to  the  fiscal  note,   which  had  been                                                               
characterized as high,  and indicated that the  estimate has been                                                               
lowered as a  result of the amendments offered  during the bill's                                                               
last hearing.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:21:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN said he would  like input from the trucking                                                               
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  moved to [set aside]  HB 259 for the  purpose of                                                               
reviewing the minutes from the bill's prior meeting.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO relayed  that HB  259 [Version  S] would  be held                                                               
over.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:22 p.m. to 2:23 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 279 - OUTDOOR ADVERTISING; ENCROACHMENTS                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 279 "An  Act relating to encroachments  in the                                                               
right-of-way of a highway."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL  STOLTZE, Alaska  State Legislature,  said he                                                               
lives in  a community with  a highway going  through it.   It was                                                               
once  more scenic,  he added,  opining that  easements have  been                                                               
given  out   by  the  Department   of  Transportation   &  Public                                                               
Facilities (DOT&PF) in  an antiquated way.  Some  easement are 50                                                               
feet and  some are 300  feet, and the  community is looking  at a                                                               
potential expansion.  Some landowners  have encroachments such as                                                               
lawns.   He  said HB  279 "grandfathers"  in those  encroachments                                                               
that  don't interfere  with possible  construction or  impede the                                                               
state's interests.  He said it is a huge issue in Chugiak.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  asked   if  the  bill  runs   afoul  of  federal                                                               
requirements, thus limiting Alaska's potential funding.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said he  has worked  with agencies  in an                                                               
effort to craft the legislation so as not to run into problems.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:29:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   MACKINNON,   Deputy   Commissioner,  Highways   &   Public                                                               
Facilities,   Office   of   the   Commissioner,   Department   of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities (DOT&PF),  said that  HB 279                                                               
provides clarification  and gives  the department the  ability to                                                               
permit  outdoor advertising  within the  right-of-way, which,  to                                                               
date, has been prohibited by  state statute.  "There are probably                                                               
somewhere in the  order of under 100 of these,  within the right-                                                               
of-way, throughout  the state, and  ... they've become  a problem                                                               
for us and they've been a problem  for years," he added.  He said                                                               
many of the signs that encroach  have been removed, but there are                                                               
many  still  remaining,  and  they should  be  permitted  as  the                                                               
encroachments occurred  in good  faith.  "When  you've got  a 300                                                               
foot right-of-way,  and the road  and its  improvements encompass                                                               
100 feet of it [with] the 200 feet  on the outboard side - or 100                                                               
on   each  outboard   side  -   what's  the   harm  in   allowing                                                               
public/private  use of  that  area,"  he said.    "We do  support                                                               
this," he  added, but the  DOT&PF is waiting for  a determination                                                               
from  the  [Federal   Highway  Administration  (FHWA)]  regarding                                                               
outdoor advertising.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  asked what would  happen if both the  bill passes                                                               
and the state wants to use the right-of-way.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MACKINNON  said that people  would be required to  remove the                                                               
encroachments, adding  that it's probably a  cleaner situation to                                                               
have  the  encroachments  identified  and permitted.    Any  such                                                               
permitting  agreement could  stipulate what  would happen  should                                                               
the state decide to use the right-of-way.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  referred  to   a  handout  in  members'  packets                                                               
containing  proposed  changes  to   HB  279;  that  handout  read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 2, following "right-of-way"                                                                                   
          Delete "who erected"                                                                                                  
          Insert "for"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 12, following "fee"                                                                                           
          Insert "not to exceed $100"                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  referred to the  proposed change to page  2, line                                                               
2, of  the bill as Amendment  1.  [Although no  formal motion had                                                               
been  made,]  he  asked  whether there  were  any  objections  to                                                               
adopting  Amendment  1.    There  being  none,  Amendment  1  was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  referred to the  proposed change to page  2, line                                                               
12, of the bill as Amendment 2.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[An  unidentified  speaker in  the  audience  made comments,  but                                                               
those comments were not picked up clearly by the microphones.]                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MACKINNON noted  that the DOT&PF's regulations  provide for a                                                               
$250 nonrefundable application fee for any encroachment permit.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  [although no formal  motion had been  made] asked                                                               
whether there  were any objections  to the adoption  of Amendment                                                               
2.  There being none, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked whether there was a fiscal note.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MACKINNON said  the DOT&PF is not sure at  this time what the                                                               
fiscal note  would be, but predicted  that it would not  be much,                                                               
since the  department would most  likely deal  with encroachments                                                               
on  a  project-by-project basis.    He  offered his  belief  that                                                               
Section 2  of the  bill stipulates  that the  burden of  proof of                                                               
"that three-part test" lies with the department.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  offered  a   hypothetical  example  wherein  one                                                               
applies for and receives an  encroachment permit and then chooses                                                               
to erect  a 12  by 24  foot advertising sign.   He  asked whether                                                               
such would be "grandfathered" in.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACKINNON explained  that the  bill  specifically says  that                                                               
only the encroachments  that existed on the  Act's effective date                                                               
would be  grandfathered in.   He  added, "We  are in  the process                                                               
this  year of  doing  a video  cataloging  of the  rights-of-way,                                                               
which   would   show   the    existing   encroachments   or   any                                                               
structure/improvement  located on  the  right-of-way; that  would                                                               
allow us to have a date at which the encroachment [existed]."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO ascertained that the  bill doesn't have a specific                                                               
effective date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:37:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA  KOVAC,  Secretary/Treasure,  Board of  Directors,  Chugiak                                                               
Community Council, Municipality of  Anchorage (MOA), relayed that                                                               
the Old Glenn Highway Rehabilitation  Project - Alaska Department                                                               
of Transportation & Public Facilities  (DOT&PF) State Project No.                                                               
52515  - is  an  upgrade to  the Old  Glenn  Highway, which  runs                                                               
through  Chugiak.    The  primary  scope  of  this  project,  she                                                               
continued, is to add shoulders, a  pathway, and turn lanes at the                                                               
major intersections.   Chugiak has been pushing  for this upgrade                                                               
to increase safety for over 10  years, and is pleased the work is                                                               
being addressed;  however, the history  of this  road's right-of-                                                               
way is complex, and many  costly encroachments have been built in                                                               
this  right-of-way over  the  last 50  years.   The  right-of-way                                                               
itself  varies between  60 and  300 feet,  with several  sections                                                               
that are 200 feet.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOVAC  relayed that  the  DOT&PF  has informed  the  Chugiak                                                               
Community Council that all encroachments  will have to be removed                                                               
due  to  federal  funding  requirements,   and  its  position  on                                                               
encroachments is  that if a  person wants  to obtain a  permit to                                                               
have  an encroachment,  the application  will only  be considered                                                               
after  all  existing encroachments  have  been  removed from  the                                                               
entire right-of-way  and the project is  complete.  Additionally,                                                               
the list  of allowable  encroachments is  minimal.   For example,                                                               
some permitted  uses could  be grass, or  flowers, or  parking in                                                               
excess   of   what's   required  for   a   particular   property.                                                               
Furthermore, encroachments  for commercial  purposes will  not be                                                               
allowed.   She mentioned that  the DOT&PF has relayed  that since                                                               
the  Old   Glenn  Highway's  right-of-way  has   been  thoroughly                                                               
researched and  surveyed, the right-of-way  must be  enforced due                                                               
to  possible liability  issues.   She  offered her  understanding                                                               
that  this   means  that  all   encroachments  must   be  removed                                                               
regardless of whether the project continues.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOVAC predicted  that if the encroachments  are removed, this                                                               
will impact  residences and business adjacent  to "this five-mile                                                               
stretch of road."   Such an impact will cause  hardships and some                                                               
entities will  go out of business  due to a loss  of parking, and                                                               
some entities will have to find  new land on which to install new                                                               
septic  systems  or   water  wells.    "We   wonder  why  certain                                                               
encroachments  would  have   to  be  removed  if   they  are  not                                                               
obtrusive;   House  Bill   279  would   allow  some   unobtrusive                                                               
encroachments  to  remain,  perhaps like  wells,  lift  stations,                                                               
signs,  parking, and  others," she  remarked, adding,  "this bill                                                               
may   also  reduce   impacts  to   the  Chugiak   Volunteer  Fire                                                               
Department's  Latimer  Fire  Station."     Currently  the  DOT&PF                                                               
information  indicates  that  the right-of-way  line  goes  right                                                               
through the  station house;  additionally, the  station's parking                                                               
area will need to be removed.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOVAC  mentioned that HB 279  may also reduce the  impact [of                                                               
the project's encroachment requirements]  on the Chugiak Benefits                                                               
Association [Building]  - which  is a nonprofit  community center                                                               
managed by and belonging to  the communities of Chugiak and Eagle                                                               
River  - particularly  its parking  lots, basketball  courts, and                                                               
fenced-in play  areas.  She  said she  hopes that HB  279 passes,                                                               
and characterized [the bill] as "just common sense."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:40:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE BARTLEY, Chief, Chugiak Volunteer  Fire and Rescue Company,                                                               
Inc.,  Anchorage  Fire   Department,  Municipality  of  Anchorage                                                               
(MOA),  urged the  committee to  support HB  279.   He said  that                                                               
Latimer Fire Station 35 is located  on the Old Glenn Highway, and                                                               
that  depending  upon  which  map  one  looks  at,  the  DOT&PF's                                                               
proposed  right-of-way  is  either right  outside  the  station's                                                               
front door,  or runs  right through the  middle of  the building.                                                               
He relayed  that the  Chugiak Volunteer  Fire and  Rescue Company                                                               
has occupied the aforementioned building  for more than 50 years;                                                               
the land  the structure sits on  is leased by the  Bureau of Land                                                               
Management  (BLM)  to  the  Chugiak  Volunteer  Fire  and  Rescue                                                               
Company  in perpetuity  for as  long as  the structure  remains a                                                               
fire station,  and the structure sits  118 feet from the  edge of                                                               
the  existing   pavement.    In  conclusion,   he  described  the                                                               
structure's attributes and  some of the activities  that occur in                                                               
it, and urged the committee to adopt the legislation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  asked Mr.  Bartley whether the  loss of  100 feet                                                               
between the  station and  the road  would compromise  the Chugiak                                                               
Volunteer  Fire  and  Rescue Company's  ability  to  perform  its                                                               
duties.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARTLEY  replied that  the loss  of 100  feet might  create a                                                               
safety problem when pulling out onto the road.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  asked whether there  is a flashing  light located                                                               
at that station.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARTLEY  said there  is not,  but mentioned  that there  is a                                                               
DOT&PF  sign,  approximately 100  yards  down  the road,  warning                                                               
approaching traffic of the station's presence.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:43:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE  OSSIANDER, Member,  Anchorage  Assembly, Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage  (MOA),  relayed that  she  has  been hearing  concerns                                                               
regarding the  Old Glenn Highway  project, specifically  that the                                                               
right-of-way encroachment issue would  engender problems for many                                                               
groups  and residences  in her  community should  the project  go                                                               
through as  currently outlined.   After listing  various entities                                                               
that would be  affected by the project, she said  that there is a                                                               
need for flexibility  so as to make the project  workable for the                                                               
community.  She  characterized HB 279 as a  wonderful approach to                                                               
the potential problems surrounding  encroachments on both the Old                                                               
Glenn   Highway  and   the  Seward   Highway,  adding   that  she                                                               
wholeheartedly supports the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  mentioned that  members' packets  contain letters                                                               
of support for the legislation  from both the Chugiak-Eagle River                                                               
Chamber of Commerce and the Chugiak Community Council.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  moved to report  HB 279, as  amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB
279(TRA) was reported out of committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HJR 18 - FEDERAL MARINE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ACT                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.  18  Relating  to  the  federal                                                               
Maritime  Transportation Security  Act  of 2002  and the  state's                                                               
right to tax commercial passenger vessels.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:47:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CODY  RICE,  Staff to  Representative  Carl  Gatto, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, sponsor,  relayed on behalf of  Representative Gatto                                                               
that HJR  18 asks  Congress to  clarify or  repeal Section  445 -                                                               
proposed  33  U.S.C.  5(b)  -   of  the  Maritime  Transportation                                                               
Security  Act of  2002.    This provision  was  put  in place  to                                                               
prevent Yakutat from  taxing cruise ships that  sailed by Yakutat                                                               
and did not  stop at its port.  He  added that the aforementioned                                                               
provision essentially says that all taxes  must be no more than a                                                               
small burden  on interstate commerce  and must be used  either to                                                               
compensate [a community]  for services rendered to  the vessel or                                                               
to increase the efficiency and safety of interstate commerce.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICE  offered  his  belief  that  this  provision  has  been                                                               
interpreted  rather broadly  by  some groups,  thus resulting  in                                                               
disagreements  regarding  the  meaning  of  the  provision.    He                                                               
mentioned  that a  Fairbanks  Daily  News-Miner article  contains                                                             
comments [by spokespersons for U.S.  Senator Ted Stevens and U.S.                                                               
Congressman Don Young], and that a  copy of that article has been                                                               
included in members' packets.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:49:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  said he would  not characterize the  comments in                                                               
the  article  as   either  U.S.  Senator  Ted   Stevens  or  U.S.                                                               
Congressman Don  Young "weighing in" on  the issue.  He  said his                                                               
concern with  HJR 18 is  that the legislature didn't  really open                                                               
up  a  dialog  with  either  U.S. Senator  Ted  Stevens  or  U.S.                                                               
Congressman Don  Young before having  "gone public with it."   He                                                               
concluded by saying, "I don't care for it."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICE replied:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I don't know that that's necessarily entirely correct.                                                                     
        This [section] actually applies specifically to                                                                         
     several taxes  that may already be  existing throughout                                                                    
     the United States, and I,  myself, have been in contact                                                                    
     with both [U.S. Senator  Ted Stevens's] chief of staff,                                                                    
     [and  U.S.  Congressman   Don  Young's]  transportation                                                                    
     drafting  attorney   on  several  instances   and  have                                                                    
     discussed this particular provision  with them.  And in                                                                    
     fact,  last summer,  there was  some talk  of including                                                                    
     some kind of a clarification  in the "Coast Guard bill"                                                                    
     that passed.   It  didn't happen,  but it  is something                                                                    
     that  we've   ...  [had]  existing   conversations  ...                                                                    
     [about, though] it has been several months. ...                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMAS said  he didn't  like the  resolution, and                                                               
didn't want to  embarrass the Senator and Congressmen  with it by                                                               
using it tell those gentlemen that  they made a mistake.  He also                                                               
noted that no one raised  the issue when those gentlemen recently                                                               
addressed the legislature.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICE said  that nothing in the resolution claims  there was a                                                               
mistake  made  in the  drafting  of  the Maritime  Transportation                                                               
Security  Act of  2002, and  noted that  neither the  Senator nor                                                               
Congressman   have  corrected   the   comments   made  by   their                                                               
spokespersons.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:52:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMAS  pointed  out,  however,  that  the  first                                                               
portion  of the  resolution  claims that  the  Act's sponsor  has                                                               
stated  that the  Act  was  never meant  to  prevent Alaska  from                                                               
imposing a head  tax, but doesn't actually state  who the sponsor                                                               
is.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICE said  the sponsor  of that  specific provision  is U.S.                                                               
Congressman  Don Young,  and opined  that spokespersons  commonly                                                               
speak on behalf  of their employers.  He noted  that according to                                                               
the  newspaper  article,  comments   that  [Section  445  of  the                                                               
Maritime Transportation Security Act  of 2002] was never intended                                                               
to prevent  state or local  governments from imposing a  head tax                                                               
were made by Congressman Young's spokesperson.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS  asked why Congressman Young  sponsored the                                                               
language in that provision.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  offered his understanding that  Congressman Young                                                               
offered  that  language  in  response to  local  laws  passed  in                                                               
Yakutat.   He suggested  that the language  of the  provision has                                                               
resulted  in  unintended  consequences,   and  offered  that  the                                                               
resolution merely asks Congress to clarify the issue.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ELKINS   opined  that  there   is  an  easier   way  to                                                               
communicate with  U.S. Senator Ted  Stevens and  U.S. Congressman                                                               
Don  Young than  by passing  a resolution,  which, he  suggested,                                                               
could embarrass those  gentlemen.  He reiterated  his belief that                                                               
the legislature has  not yet made an effort to  discuss the issue                                                               
with the provision's sponsor.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:55:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  said that  she doesn't know  enough about                                                               
the  issue  to  agree  with  the statements  being  made  in  the                                                               
resolution.   She pointed  out that generally  when she  wants to                                                               
communicate  with or  deliver  a message  to  someone, she  sends                                                               
him/her a letter directly.   She asked Co-Chair Gatto whether his                                                               
intent  in sponsoring  the resolution  was to  get the  public on                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO said  that  he doesn't  know  whether the  public                                                               
knows about this  issue, and suggested that a  resolution of this                                                               
sort is  a logical follow-up to  the aforementioned conversations                                                               
his  staff has  had  with  U.S. Senator  Ted  Stevens's and  U.S.                                                               
Congressman Don Young's spokespersons.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:56:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  asked Mr. Rice and  Co-Chair Gatto whether                                                               
either  of them  had written  to U.S.  Senator Ted  Stevens, U.S.                                                               
Senator Lisa Murkowski, or U.S.  Congressman Don Young to request                                                               
that this issue be clarified at the federal level.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICE   reiterated  that  he   has  had  at  least   a  dozen                                                               
conversations with  [U.S. Senator  Ted Stevens's] chief  of staff                                                               
[and  U.S.  Congressman   Don  Young's]  transportation  drafting                                                               
attorney on this subject.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  asked  if   anything  has  been  put  in                                                               
writing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICE  said such has  not been done, that  phone conversations                                                               
were considered a more expedient  form of conversation.  He again                                                               
said  that the  resolution  merely asks  for  clarification on  a                                                               
contentious issue.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:57:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  asked  whether the  committee  wanted  to                                                               
request  that Co-Chair  Gatto write  to the  members of  Alaska's                                                               
congressional delegation  and ask  them to provide  the committee                                                               
with  a written  response on  this issue.   Such  a letter  might                                                               
appease members' concerns, he suggested.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ELKINS acknowledged  that such could be  done, but noted                                                               
that  the cruise  ship industry  was  present and  might wish  to                                                               
testify on the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:58:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS instead expressed  a preference for tabling                                                               
the  resolution  and  then contacting  the  members  of  Alaska's                                                               
congressional delegation in writing on this issue.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMAS made  a motion  to  table HJR  18.   There                                                               
being no objection, HJR 18 was tabled.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Transportation  Standing  Committee   meeting  was  adjourned  at                                                               
2:59:25 PM.                                                                                                                   

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