Legislature(2013 - 2014)BARNES 124

03/11/2014 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 11, 2014                                                                                         
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Peggy Wilson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Doug Isaacson, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Eric Feige                                                                                                       
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 371                                                                                                              
"An  Act  providing  for the  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities  to hold  the surface  estate of  certain state                                                               
land;  relating  to  the  transfer  of  certain  state  land  and                                                               
materials  from  the  Department  of  Natural  Resources  to  the                                                               
Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities  for  the                                                               
construction or  maintenance of the  state highway  system, state                                                               
airports, and state public buildings  and facilities; relating to                                                               
the  lease  or  sale  of certain  marine  or  harbor  facilities;                                                               
relating  to  the   lease  or  disposal  by   the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities of  rights-of-way, property                                                               
interests, or improvements that  are no longer required; relating                                                               
to the  grant of certain  easements over submerged state  land to                                                               
the  federal  government; relating  to  the  transfer of  certain                                                               
maintenance  stations   on  the  James  Dalton   Highway  to  the                                                               
Department of  Transportation and Public Facilities;  relating to                                                               
the conveyance of land for  right-of-way purposes from the Alaska                                                               
Railroad  Corporation to  the  Department  of Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SPONSOR SUBSTITUE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 194                                                                                        
"An Act vacating  a portion of the Copper Center  - Valdez right-                                                               
of-way;  relating  to  rights-of-way  acquired  under  former  43                                                               
U.S.C.  932 that  cross land  owned by  a private  landowner; and                                                               
relating to the use of eminent domain to realign a right-of-                                                                    
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 371                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE LAND AND MATERIALS                                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): TRANSPORTATION BY REQUEST                                                                                           
03/10/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/10/14       (H)       TRA, RES                                                                                               
03/11/14       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB 194                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RIGHTS-OF-WAY                                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): FOSTER                                                                                                              
04/01/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/01/13       (H)       TRA, RES                                                                                               
02/26/14       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                                                                          
02/26/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/26/14       (H)       TRA, RES                                                                                               
03/11/14       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REBECCA ROONEY, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the sponsor of HB
371, the House Transportation Standing Committee, Representative                                                                
Peggy Wilson, Chair.                                                                                                            
JOHN BENNETT, Right-of-Way Chief                                                                                                
Northern Region                                                                                                                 
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the discussion of HB 371.                                                               
SEAN LYNCH, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                          
Transportation Section                                                                                                          
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the discussion of                                                              
HB 371.                                                                                                                         
ED FOGELS, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and  answered questions during the                                                             
discussion of HB 371.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE NEAL FOSTER                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as prime sponsor of HB 194.                                                                    
PAUL LABOLLE, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented a section-by-section  analysis on                                                             
behalf of the sponsor of HB 194, Representative Neal Foster.                                                                    
JOE BOVEE, Vice-President                                                                                                       
Land and Resources                                                                                                              
Ahtna, Incorporated                                                                                                             
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented a  PowerPoint  presentation  on                                                             
[revised statutes] R.S. 2477  rights-of-way during the discussion                                                               
of HB 194.                                                                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:05:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  PEGGY  WILSON  called the  House  Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:05  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Isaacson,  Kreiss-Tomkins, Feige,  Lynn,  Gattis,  and P.  Wilson                                                               
were  present  at the  call  to  order.   Representative  Johnson                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                HB 371-STATE LAND AND MATERIALS                                                                             
1:06:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 371, "An  Act providing for the  Department of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities to hold  the surface estate                                                               
of certain state land; relating  to the transfer of certain state                                                               
land and  materials from the  Department of Natural  Resources to                                                               
the Department  of Transportation  and Public Facilities  for the                                                               
construction or  maintenance of the  state highway  system, state                                                               
airports, and state public buildings  and facilities; relating to                                                               
the  lease  or  sale  of certain  marine  or  harbor  facilities;                                                               
relating  to  the   lease  or  disposal  by   the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities of  rights-of-way, property                                                               
interests, or improvements that  are no longer required; relating                                                               
to the  grant of certain  easements over submerged state  land to                                                               
the  federal  government; relating  to  the  transfer of  certain                                                               
maintenance  stations   on  the  James  Dalton   Highway  to  the                                                               
Department of  Transportation and Public Facilities;  relating to                                                               
the conveyance of land for  right-of-way purposes from the Alaska                                                               
Railroad  Corporation to  the  Department  of Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
1:06:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  moved  to adopt  a  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   371,  labeled  28-LS1545\N,  Bullock,                                                               
3/10/14  as the  working  document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version N was before the committee.                                                                                             
1:07:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA ROONEY, Staff, Representative  Peggy Wilson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on behalf  of the  House Transportation  Committee,                                                               
Representative  P. Wilson,  Chair, explained  the changes  in the                                                               
proposed CS,  Version N.  She  reported that a companion  bill is                                                               
in  the other  body and  the changes  in Version  N were  made to                                                               
conform  to the  other  bill.   She related  that  the title  was                                                               
shortened and  she characterized  the changes as  being technical                                                               
or cosmetic changes.                                                                                                            
MS. ROONEY  described HB  371 as  a collaborative  effort between                                                               
the  Department of  Transportation &  Public Facilities  (DOT&PF)                                                               
and the Department  of Natural Resources (DNR).   The purpose was                                                               
to reduce  ambiguity and  streamline the  rights-of-way processes                                                               
between the  two departments.   This bill  represents a  "no cost                                                               
solution" that  will save time  and resources  for transportation                                                               
projects.  Additionally, it  will reduce contracting requirements                                                               
between  DOT&PF  and  DNR  when   accessing  road  materials  for                                                               
transportation projects.   She noted a reciprocal  removal of the                                                               
55-year  limit  on  U.S.  Forest  Service  (USFS)  transportation                                                               
easements and  DNR's log transfer  priority easements.   Finally,                                                               
under the  bill, DNR would transfer  two DNR sites to  DOT&PF for                                                               
use as  maintenance stations and airstrips  to accommodate recent                                                               
resource  development.   She  identified  the  sites as  Franklin                                                               
Bluffs and Happy Valley on the Dalton Highway.                                                                                  
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  reiterated  that this  bill  is  an  agreement                                                               
between  the two  aforementioned  departments  to streamline  the                                                               
process when a right-of-way exchange is necessary.                                                                              
1:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN BENNETT, Right-of-Way Chief,  Northern Region, Department of                                                               
Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF), stated  that HB 371                                                               
will change  the relationship between  the DOT&PF & the  DNR with                                                               
respect  to the  acquisition, management,  and disposal  of lands                                                               
necessary  for airports,  highways,  and public  facilities.   He                                                               
pointed out  that 30 percent  of the land  in Alaska is  owned by                                                               
the state  and managed  by DNR.   Thus, the  DOT&PF's interaction                                                               
with  DNR  for  lands  and  materials is  extensive.    The  bill                                                               
sections repeat language for each  of the DOT&PF's three areas of                                                               
1:11:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENNETT said  the bill clarifies that DOT&PF  has the primary                                                               
authority to manage the surface estates for the highway rights-                                                                 
of-way, airport  properties and public facilities.   That primary                                                               
authority relates  to existing rights-of-way and  existing lands.                                                               
First, this  bill would help  clarify the  management authorities                                                               
and roles  of each  department.  Second,  the bill  would provide                                                               
uniform language across  all of the authorities  for the disposal                                                               
of  land interests  that  the  DOT&PF has  deemed  excess to  its                                                               
needs.   This combination  would work to  solve some  issues that                                                               
adjoining landowners  have when  encroaching into  the rights-of-                                                               
way.   Under  the  bill,  the DOT&PF  would  have the  unilateral                                                               
authority  to  dispose  of  lands, which  can  help  solve  these                                                               
landowner issues.   Third, this bill  would set up a  new process                                                               
for transferring  land and  land interests  from the  DNR managed                                                               
public  domain  into the  DOT&PF.    Essentially, this  bill  was                                                               
modeled  after a  federal process  the department  uses with  the                                                               
Federal Highways  Administration (FHWA)  to assist the  DOT&PF in                                                               
appropriating land from  the Bureau of Land  Management (BLM) and                                                               
the  U.S.  Forest Service.    For  example, when  the  department                                                               
determines  it   needs  right-of-way  properties,   the  affected                                                               
parties can go to the agency  and tell them they have four months                                                               
to comment or the FHWA will  appropriate it directly.  He pointed                                                               
out the  FHWA will actually  issue the deed  to the state.   This                                                               
bill  would set  up a  similar process  that will  streamline the                                                               
process of acquiring DNR managed  lands.  Furthermore, the DOT&PF                                                               
would like to  streamline and create a new  process for acquiring                                                               
sand and  gravel materials for  its projects.  Under  the current                                                               
process  one state  [department] contracts  with [another]  state                                                               
[department].  The  DOT&PF enters into a  material sales contract                                                               
with Department of Natural Resources  (DNR) that includes payment                                                               
for materials.   Typically  these contracts  have a  limited term                                                               
and a limited quantity of  material.  However, the authorizations                                                               
often   lapse  and   the  department   must  request   additional                                                               
authorization to expand  the quantity or the term.   This process                                                               
has   created  an   administrative  burden   for  both   agencies                                                               
especially since  the state  is requesting  state-owned materials                                                               
to construct  state-owned infrastructure.  The  process under the                                                               
bill would result in a more efficient process.                                                                                  
1:14:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENNETT identified  additional provisions  that relieve  the                                                               
Alaska Railroad  Corporation (ARRC) from the  necessity to obtain                                                               
legislative approval when the DOT&PF  requires fee title from the                                                               
ARRC.  Currently, the DOT&PF  can negotiate and appraise property                                                               
just  as it  would  with any  private owner,  but  the ARRC  must                                                               
subsequently  seek legislative  approval.   This requirement  for                                                               
additional legislative approval  can add one to two  years to the                                                               
project delivery  process, which the department  believes results                                                               
in unintended  consequences.  Additionally,  one provision  of HB
371 would  transfer the Happy  Valley and Franklin  Bluffs Trans-                                                               
Alaska Pipeline System  (TAPS) campsites from the  DNR to DOT&PF.                                                               
Mr.  Bennett  pointed  out  that the  DOT&PF  applied  for  these                                                               
properties twenty  years ago.   Although  these camps  provide an                                                               
efficient delivery  of maintenance services,  additional resource                                                               
development along  the corridor and  the potential for  a natural                                                               
gas line  makes it  important for DOT&PF  to acquire  these sites                                                               
now.    However,  these  camp transfers  have  been  hampered  by                                                               
competing  municipal entitlement  selections by  the North  Slope                                                               
Borough (NSB).   He deferred  to the  Department of Law  (DOL) to                                                               
discuss the issues related to these reciprocal easements.                                                                       
1:15:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SEAN LYNCH,  Assistant Attorney General,  Transportation Section,                                                               
Department  of  Law  (DOL),  stated  that  the  Congress  granted                                                               
easements across the Tongass National  Forest connecting towns in                                                               
Southeast  Alaska in  exchange for  the state  granting the  U.S.                                                               
Forest Service  easements across the state's  submerged lands for                                                               
log transfer facilities, access  to USFS cabins, and recreational                                                               
facilities.   The easements were  prepared and  exchanged between                                                               
the  state  and  the  federal   government  but  because  of  the                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR)'s  regulations the  state                                                               
easements to the federal government are  limited to 55 years.  In                                                               
the reciprocal  exchange, the USFS  has limited the  states' road                                                               
and utility  easements to the same  55 years.  Section  16 [of HB
371]  would  allow the  DNR's  commissioner  in a  best  interest                                                               
finding to remove the 55-year  limitation.  Further, the USFS has                                                               
assured  the state  that it  will give  an equal  term of  years,                                                               
which would allow  the extension of the  state's easements across                                                               
USFS lands.                                                                                                                     
1:17:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON recalled that  Section 16 was disputed by                                                               
municipal  governments.   He  asked  whether  the department  has                                                               
resolved the municipal disputes.                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT answered yes; he  is correct that competing interests                                                               
exist.  The  department applied for this authority  20 years ago,                                                               
based  on the  assertion that  the existing  state land  was more                                                               
appropriately  used  for  public   purposes  rather  than  to  be                                                               
allocated under the municipal entitlement  program.  He estimated                                                               
between one-third  and one-half of  the land selected  will still                                                               
be available after  the department has "carved  out" lands needed                                                               
to enclose  airstrips, material sites, and  the existing building                                                               
plants.   He  related this  is  based on  a review  of a  graphic                                                               
representation  of the  lands previously  selected  by the  North                                                               
Slope Borough (NSB).   One reason this matter  has not progressed                                                               
is  due to  the competing  interests.   He maintained  the DOT&PF                                                               
believes  the  public's interest  and  use  of this  property  is                                                               
greater and more significant than municipal interests.                                                                          
1:19:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON said  he understood  that this  could be                                                               
construed  as  another  method  of  obtaining  municipal  revenue                                                               
sharing  since the  Dalton Highway  serves a  statewide interest,                                                               
although  one  municipality  obtains  an extra  advantage.    For                                                               
example, it would  be similar to the City of  North Pole claiming                                                               
some  facilities along  the  Richardson Highway  to  tax or  gain                                                               
revenue from  the activities.  He  asked whether this is  part of                                                               
the consideration and to identify any disadvantages.                                                                            
1:20:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENNETT  agreed the North  Slope Borough's intent  is revenue                                                               
generation.   These sites would  be very sought after  since they                                                               
were selected as TAPS sites for  a good reason.  He suggested the                                                               
NSB would  seek to select  and receive  title to these  sites and                                                               
lease them  back to the  state on  an as-needed basis.   However,                                                               
the DOT&PF  seeks to  avoid these  situations since  it maintains                                                               
that retaining the properties is in the public's best interest.                                                                 
1:21:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked whether the provisions  in Section                                                               
16 will resolve the issue.                                                                                                      
MR.  BENNETT  answered  this  language  will  declare  that  this                                                               
property has  been transferred to  DOT&PF and is  not immediately                                                               
available  for municipal  entitlements.   However, he  envisioned                                                               
that over time  the use of the sites will  no longer be necessary                                                               
and the sites might be  available for NSB selection or conveyance                                                               
at a later date.                                                                                                                
1:22:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that this bill  was read                                                               
across the floor  yesterday so he has not yet  had an opportunity                                                               
to review  this somewhat  complex bill.   He hoped  the committee                                                               
will have more opportunity to ask questions beyond today.                                                                       
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  acknowledged  that  HB 371  is  a  simple  yet                                                               
complicated bill that  will allow land transfers  between the two                                                               
departments.     In   further   response  to   a  question,   she                                                               
acknowledged the committee member's request for additional time.                                                                
1:23:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON recalled  some  railroad  acts allow  the                                                               
ability  to transfer  rights-of-way  lands back  to the  adjacent                                                               
landowners.   He  remarked he  is never  opposed to  transferring                                                               
lands to  private landowners.   He asked whether the  land should                                                               
be transferred to private landowners instead of to the state.                                                                   
MR. BENNETT  answered that [Section  16] is narrowly  tailored to                                                               
only relate to  the relationship between the ARRC  and the DOT&PF                                                               
to allow the  department to obtain fee title  on certain railroad                                                               
lands.   He  understood  the rights-of-way  being re-conveyed  to                                                               
adjoining landowners.   However, he  did not believe this  is the                                                               
situation being  addressed today.  This  provision relates solely                                                               
to properties the railroad owns or intends to own.                                                                              
1:24:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  remarked that at some  point the railroad                                                               
must  not  want  the  land  or they  wouldn't  be  interested  in                                                               
transferring it.                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT  answered that it is  not a question with  respect to                                                               
the  railroad wanting  to dispose  of  land but  rather that  the                                                               
DOT&PF  requires  the  ARRC's  land for  an  airport  or  highway                                                               
project.  He  clarified that the department  identifies the need,                                                               
appraises, and  negotiates the land  transfer, but the  ARRC does                                                               
not volunteer to sell it to the DOT&PF until that point.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  suggested  the  ARRC  is  not  in  great                                                               
financial shape right now so it  may be in the ARRC's interest to                                                               
lease  the  land instead  of  transferring  it  by a  fee  simple                                                               
MR.  BENNETT acknowledged  the  point, but  the  DOT&PF tends  to                                                               
avoid  leases since  the  term of  the lease  will  end, yet  the                                                               
public funds for a new project may  not be in place yet.  This is                                                               
the reason  the DOT&PF seeks  to purchase  permanent right-of-way                                                               
or  land interests,  whether  it is  through  easements or  fees.                                                               
This provides  the basis for  future knowledge of when  funds are                                                               
1:26:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  suggested that either the  ARRC will seek                                                               
funds or  else the  DOT&PF will  seek more  funds to  lease lands                                                               
from the ARRC.   He was unsure  whether it would be  best for the                                                               
legislature to  [appropriate funds  to] the  ARRC or  the DOT&PF.                                                               
He  questioned  whether  the DOT&PF  has  more  opportunities  to                                                               
obtain federal funds.   He said he has questions  on the best way                                                               
to ensure the future of the ARRC and the DOT&PF.                                                                                
1:27:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON  asked for further clarification  that this isn't                                                               
a  special  case since  this  is  the  process DOT&PF  uses  with                                                               
respect to right-of-way acquisitions.                                                                                           
MR.   BENNETT  answered   that   the  best   public  policy   for                                                               
acquisition, maintenance,  and operations  of public  projects is                                                               
to avoid  recurring costs, which  having a permanent  interest in                                                               
the  rights-of-way accomplishes.   He  related his  understanding                                                               
that the ARRC supports this language.                                                                                           
1:28:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON related  her understanding  that under  the bill                                                               
the DOT&PF would purchase land from the ARRC.                                                                                   
MR.  BENNETT agreed.   He  summarized that  this provision  would                                                               
advance project  delivery by  not requiring  legislative approval                                                               
of the land transfer [between the ARRC and the DOT&PF].                                                                         
1:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  understood this would  expedite projects                                                               
in order to develop the state,  but the bill does not extend rail                                                               
lines or  reconvey properties.   For example, under the  bill, if                                                               
the  state decided  to build  the railroad  to Delta  Junction or                                                               
some other  location the legislature  would authorize  the DOT&PF                                                               
to negotiate the land needed  for right-of-way acquisition.  This                                                               
could help speed up projects  if the legislature has approved the                                                               
right-of-way acquisition in advance.                                                                                            
MR.  BENNETT related  an  example  in which  the  DOT&PF need  to                                                               
acquire substantial  property on  the Illinois Street  project in                                                               
Fairbanks.     Since   the  rights-of-way   acquisition  required                                                               
legislative  approval it  took  one or  two  additional years  to                                                               
secure legislative permission.   Although the DOT&PF can appraise                                                               
property,  and  negotiate  prices, the  railroad  cannot  execute                                                               
deeds for fee simple title without legislative approval.                                                                        
1:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  understood  that the  bill  would  help                                                               
contain development  costs and this  bill also represents  one of                                                               
the best ways to save the railroad money.                                                                                       
MR. BENNETT  acknowledged that  one of the  benefits would  be to                                                               
advance projects.                                                                                                               
1:30:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  asked  whether the  bill  might  create                                                               
unintended consequences and for any downsides.                                                                                  
MR. BENNETT  answered that  he considered  this provision  of the                                                               
bill to be the  most benign.  He offered his  belief that this is                                                               
essentially an  unintended consequence  of the  enabling statutes                                                               
for the railroad.  He  felt certain the legislature couldn't have                                                               
intended  to delay  projects between  one state-owned  entity and                                                               
the DOT&PF.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  P. WILSON  remarked  that the  projects  in question  have                                                               
already  received legislative  approval, but  the way  the ARRC's                                                               
statutes  were written  requires  the railroad  [or DOT&PF]  must                                                               
seek additional legislative approval.                                                                                           
MR.  BENNETT agreed,  noting typically  these projects  are major                                                               
capital improvement projects.                                                                                                   
1:32:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS  remarked  that this  bill  affects  state                                                               
property  and does  not  relate to  the  state acquiring  private                                                               
MR. BENNETT  agreed.   He said  the portions  that relate  to the                                                               
transfer of  properties from  DNR's public  domain to  the DOT&PF                                                               
would  be  considered  transfer of  "state  property"  to  "state                                                               
property."    The  railroad  was  established  as  a  state-owned                                                               
corporation so it is treated a little differently.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  asked for further clarification  that this                                                               
is not affecting individual property rights.                                                                                    
MR.  BENNETT  agreed  it  does  not  affect  individual  property                                                               
1:33:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON recalled  that at  the time  the railroad                                                               
was  transferred,   the  legislature  wanted  control   over  the                                                               
transfer of any  railroad land.  He surmised this  body still has                                                               
an unwillingness to  give up control.  He  remarked that "nothing                                                               
is simple" with respect to the railroad.                                                                                        
CHAIR  P.   WILSON  reminded  members  that   this  bill  relates                                                               
specifically to the DOT&PF and not with any private entity.                                                                     
MR. BENNETT agreed.                                                                                                             
1:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
ED FOGELS,  Deputy Commissioner, Department of  Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR), stated that DNR has worked  with DOT&PF for many months on                                                               
the bill  and DNR does  not have any issues  with the bill.   The                                                               
fundamental concept  embodied in HB  371 is similar to  the DNR's                                                               
efforts  to improve  its permitting  processes  and to  eliminate                                                               
duplicative bureaucracy and unnecessary  processes.  He asked why                                                               
the state  should have to  contract with itself for  materials if                                                               
the DOT&PF  needs to  use materials  within the  right-of-way for                                                               
its road  projects.  Under the  bill, the DNR would  still manage                                                               
the  subsurface  rights and  lands  within  the right-of-way  for                                                               
other uses  while prioritizing by  keeping DOT&PF's needs  at the                                                               
top.   He suggested  that HB  371 is  one mechanism  to eliminate                                                               
repetitive work for both agencies.                                                                                              
1:36:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON asked whether HB 371 will save the state money.                                                                 
MR. FOGELS answered yes.                                                                                                        
1:36:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS  remarked  that  time  is  money  and  she                                                               
understood this bill will save time.                                                                                            
MR. FOGELS answered yes; that HB 371 will save staff time.                                                                      
1:36:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON  asked for an estimate of the  average staff time                                                               
that will be saved.                                                                                                             
MR.  FOGELS  answered  that  the time  savings  is  difficult  to                                                               
quantify.   However, the DNR  spends significant energy  and time                                                               
within the  department to adjudicate  material sales  relating to                                                               
roads  or highway  projects.   He  estimated  that several  staff                                                               
spends most of their time on  these issues which could be used to                                                               
reduce the DNR's backlog somewhere else.                                                                                        
1:37:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON   asked  whether  this  staff   could  work  on                                                               
permitting in some other area.                                                                                                  
MR. FOGELS agreed.                                                                                                              
1:37:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON  asked   whether  the   materials  would                                                               
primarily be gravel.                                                                                                            
MR. FOGELS  answered that  the materials  would be  gravel, rock,                                                               
and sand.                                                                                                                       
1:38:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked  whether private companies primarily                                                               
hold these leases.                                                                                                              
MR. FOGELS  answered that  DNR has  material sales  contracts for                                                               
materials  sites  with  multiple contracts  between  the  private                                                               
sector and DOT&PF on some sites.   He agreed the department would                                                               
need to  sort this out  but new sites  would be under  the DOT&PF                                                               
and  the  DNR would  work  with  the  DOT&PF on  any  preexisting                                                               
1:39:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON emphasized  that he'd  like to  avoid the                                                               
situation with a  private company bidding on a state  job but the                                                               
state has  a "sweetheart deal"  for the materials.   He suggested                                                               
it has  been proven  that the private  sector projects  cost less                                                               
than the state  to accomplish.  He summarized that  he would like                                                               
to avoid the state taking away  private jobs due to a "sweetheart                                                               
deal" on material costs.                                                                                                        
MR. FOGELS  said DNR views  it that third party  contractors will                                                               
work on the projects regardless.   This bill would only eliminate                                                               
the DNR  component from the  chain.  The DOT&PF  would administer                                                               
third-party  contracts  to  perform  road  construction  and  use                                                               
1:40:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  maintained his  goal to ensure  that this                                                               
bill doesn't  establish a DOT&PF bureaucracy  that can overcharge                                                               
a  private contractor  for materials  so  the contractor  doesn't                                                               
have any chance to win the bid.   He would further like to ensure                                                               
that  everyone  is on  equal  footing.   Currently,  the  private                                                               
sector performs quite adequately so  he doesn't want to sacrifice                                                               
private industry jobs, he said.                                                                                                 
MR. FOGELS  offered to review  the materials process  with DOT&PF                                                               
and report back to the committee.                                                                                               
1:42:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS referred to  Sections 2, 4, and 10,                                                               
specifically in Section 4, lines  15-17 of the bill, which allows                                                               
the department the ability to dispose  of land.  He asked whether                                                               
that means the DOT&PF will receive revenue for the land sale.                                                                   
MR. FOGELS answered  that Section 4 refers  to DOT&PF's statutes.                                                               
He related  that DNR has  mechanisms for land sales,  including a                                                               
land  disposal  income fund.    He  was  unsure of  the  DOT&PF's                                                               
mechanisms, but speculated  that the funds may go to  back to the                                                               
general fund.                                                                                                                   
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  he   is  interested  in  an                                                               
established protocol to  ensure that DOT&PF will not  need to set                                                               
up a process that DNR already does well.                                                                                        
MR. FOGELS  answered that  DNR's authority is  for land  sales to                                                               
the public.   This provision  relates to little remnants  of land                                                               
leftover from  projects such  as highway  realignment, such  as a                                                               
sliver  of right-of-way  land  is not  used.   Currently,  DOT&PF                                                               
can't dispose  of the aforementioned  sliver of land so  the land                                                               
reverts back  to DNR who  must then dispose  of it.   The current                                                               
process adds unnecessary  time and bureaucracy.   It's clear that                                                               
this bill  would eliminate the  bureaucracy and allow  the DOT&PF                                                               
to directly handle the remnants, he said.                                                                                       
1:45:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  referred to Section  4 of HB 371  and asked                                                               
whether  any implied  priority exists.   He  read paragraph  (1),                                                               
which read, in  part, "transfer the land,  property interests, or                                                               
improvements  to   the  Department   of  Natural   Resources,  if                                                               
requested by the commissioner of  natural resources; or ...."  He                                                               
asked  whether this  language  implies that  DNR  would have  the                                                               
first right  of refusal or if  DOT&PF can dispose of  the land as                                                               
it sees fit without any priority.                                                                                               
MR.  FOGELS   answered  that   the  intent   is  for   the  DNR's                                                               
commissioner to  agree to take the  land back before the  land is                                                               
transferred.  The DNR wants to  be part of the decision to ensure                                                               
the department agrees to the land transfer.                                                                                     
1:46:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON  pointed out this language is also  in Section 2,                                                               
4, and 10.                                                                                                                      
MR. FOGELS agreed.                                                                                                              
1:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE suggested  that  an instance  may arise  in                                                               
which the DNR  might want the land, but the  DOT&PF may decide to                                                               
sell it  to someone else.   He asked whether this  section should                                                               
be structured with a clear priority  to allow DNR the first right                                                               
of refusal on land transfers.                                                                                                   
1:46:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON read subsection (b)  [, which read, in part, "...                                                               
shall  notify  the  commissioner  of natural  resources"  on  any                                                               
transfer  of land  or  disposal  of land  so  she envisioned  the                                                               
commissioner would know in advance.                                                                                             
MR. FOGELS  agreed, but  the provision also  requires the  DNR to                                                               
"request" the land.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE questioned  whether  the DNR  automatically                                                               
would receive any requested land or  if it is still up to DOT&PF.                                                               
He asked  whether the first  right of refusal language  should be                                                               
MR. FOGELS deferred to the bill  drafter or the Department of Law                                                               
to respond.                                                                                                                     
1:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE asked  whether the DNR would  want the first                                                               
right of refusal.                                                                                                               
MR. FOGELS answered  that he did not think it  would be an issue.                                                               
Again, the  lands in question  are lands used  for transportation                                                               
purposes  and typically  the remaining  land  would entail  small                                                               
remnants.  He envisioned that  the department would offer to sell                                                               
the land to an adjacent landowner.                                                                                              
1:48:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  related  an   instance  in  which  the  DOT&PF                                                               
straightened a road  and removed a curve, which left  a sliver of                                                               
land it  didn't need for  the road  project.  She  didn't imagine                                                               
anyone would want the piece, but  she recalled the land was given                                                               
to  the borough.    She read  subsection (b),  in  part, "If  the                                                               
department   determines  that   land,   property  interests,   or                                                               
improvements  are  no  longer  necessary,  the  department  shall                                                               
notify   the   commissioner   of   natural   resources   of   the                                                               
determination and  may ...."   At that  point the  department may                                                               
transfer or dispose of the land  yet the DOT&PF must still notify                                                               
the DNR, she said.                                                                                                              
1:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  acknowledged the  bill's intention  is to                                                               
give the  DNR first  right of  refusal, but  he pointed  out some                                                               
instances in  which condemnation has  occurred.  Under  the bill,                                                               
land that had  been condemned would revert to  the DOT&PF instead                                                               
of to the original property owner.                                                                                              
MR. FOGELS thought  that it would be best to  have the Department                                                               
of Law present.   Still, as he reads subsection  (b), it requires                                                               
the DOT&PF  to notify  the commissioner  of natural  resources of                                                               
the determination  and the  department may  transfer the  land to                                                               
DNR  or  dispose  of  the  land  by  sale,  lease,  vacation,  or                                                               
exchange.  Therefore, the DOT&PF has the choice, he said.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON  suggested   that   if  the   department                                                               
condemned the land, the DOT&PF should  not have any choice if the                                                               
land  is  not  used.    Instead,  he  maintained  that  in  those                                                               
instances the land should be offered to the private party.                                                                      
1:51:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   FEIGE  interpreted   Section  1   to  give   the                                                               
department the choice.  The  language requires the DNR to request                                                               
the land if the department wants it, but it is up to the DOT&PF.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON   disagreed.       Regardless   of   the                                                               
interpretation,   if  land   is  condemned   and  not   used  the                                                               
commissioner should  not have a  choice to decide.   Instead, the                                                               
private owner  should have the  choice to  buy the land  back, he                                                               
1:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON  suggested there are circumstances  in which land                                                               
is condemned  since the  private party  did not  want to  pay the                                                               
taxes.   Thus,  instances  occur  in which  the  party no  longer                                                               
wishes to continue to make payments [and doesn't want the land.]                                                                
1:53:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  agreed.     However,  an  agreed  buyout                                                               
represents  different situation  than  a condemnation  procedure.                                                               
He maintained that the private  party should have the first right                                                               
of refusal and not a commissioner.                                                                                              
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  agreed.    She offered  her  belief  that  the                                                               
department  probably  already  has  rules  it  follows  but  it's                                                               
important to find out.                                                                                                          
1:54:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE referred again  to [Section 4] paragraph (1)                                                               
[on  page  3,  lines  12-14],  which  indicates  the  DOT&PF  may                                                               
transfer the  land, but the  department cannot arbitrarily  do so                                                               
since the DNR  must first request the land.   Paragraph (2) would                                                               
allow for the  disposal of the land.  He  maintained his question                                                               
on whether  DNR should  have an automatic  preference and  if the                                                               
language implies a preference.   For example, if DNR requests the                                                               
land,  should the  land  automatically be  transferred  or is  it                                                               
still up to the DOT&PF commissioner to decide.                                                                                  
[HB 371 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                      HB 194-RIGHTS-OF-WAY                                                                                  
1:56:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the final order of business would                                                               
be  the  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR  HOUSE  BILL  NO. 194,  "An  Act                                                               
vacating a  portion of the  Copper Center -  Valdez right-of-way;                                                               
relating  to rights-of-way  acquired under  former 43  U.S.C. 932                                                               
that cross  land owned  by a private  landowner; and  relating to                                                               
the use of eminent domain to realign a right-of-way."                                                                           
1:57:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEAL FOSTER,  Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, as  prime sponsor, stated that  the goal of HB  194 is to                                                               
preserve public access  via the [Revised Statute] R.S.  2477.  He                                                               
explained that  the bill would  minimize the negative  effects on                                                               
private landowners with  respect to R.S. 2477  rights-of-way.  He                                                               
related R.S. 2477s are rights-of-way  that include public trails,                                                               
roads, and highways.  He  emphasized that this bill won't prevent                                                               
the  public from  using public  transportation  routes to  travel                                                               
from points "A"  to "B" but will limit usage  to "point to point"                                                               
transportation and  emergency stopping.   Many  of the  R.S. 2477                                                               
trails go through  private lands, he said.   He expressed concern                                                               
that  if rest  stops, pullouts,  and campgrounds  are constructed                                                               
along these  routes, it would open  public access and use  of the                                                               
surrounding private lands.                                                                                                      
1:59:11 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  LABOLLE, Staff,  Representative Neal  Foster, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, provided  a section-by-section  analysis of  HB 194.                                                               
Section 2, subsection  (a) would reduce the  R.S. 2477 rights-of-                                                               
way  from 100  feet  to  60 feet  to  balance landowner  property                                                               
rights  with the  access rights  of  the state.   Subsection  (b)                                                               
would limit the use of R.S.  2477 to transportation purposes.  He                                                               
briefly discussed  the history,  such that  R.S. 2477s  stem from                                                               
the Mining  Act of 1866.   Section 8 of that  act would establish                                                               
that  rights-of-way are  for construction  of  highways.   Alaska                                                               
statutes  related  to  the  state  highway  system  identify  the                                                               
purpose  as for  vehicular  transportation.   This section  would                                                               
clarify how R.S.  2477 should be used.  Subsection  (c) would set                                                               
up  the conditions  for secondary  easements to  inspect, repair,                                                               
maintain,  and improve  a right-of-way.    It would  also set  up                                                               
guidelines for  dispute resolution.   Subsection (d)  would allow                                                               
realignment of rights-of-way through  the existing eminent domain                                                               
statutes  and  subsection  (e) defines  routine  maintenance  and                                                               
2:01:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LABOLLE said that Section 1  will vacate a specific R.S. 2477                                                               
right-of-way  which  is  overlapped  by  a  [43  U.S.C.  1616(b)]                                                               
easement created  during the Alaska Native  Claims Settlement Act                                                               
(ANCSA), which is similar to R.S. 2477 rights-of-way easements.                                                                 
2:02:22 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:02 p.m. to 2:04 p.m.                                                                       
2:04:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER commented  that  this issue  is a  private                                                               
landowner issue and is not limited to Native corporations.                                                                      
2:05:02 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE   BOVEE,   Vice-President,   Land   and   Resources,   Ahtna,                                                               
Incorporated (Ahtna),  began his presentation by  explaining R.S.                                                               
2477 is an  obscure civil war mining statute  that grants rights-                                                               
of-way across unreserved federal  lands, primarily in the Western                                                               
states  and territories  and Alaska.   The  map shows  the public                                                               
lands in Alaska prior to 1971 [slide 1].                                                                                        
2:05:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked whether  all lands in  Alaska were                                                               
either state or federal lands prior to 1971.                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE answered that 99 percent  of the land was under federal                                                               
or state ownership.                                                                                                             
2:06:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON   pointed  out   it  was   difficult  to                                                               
distinguish lines on the map in members' packets.                                                                               
CHAIR P. WILSON agreed.                                                                                                         
MR. BOVEE turned  to legal definitions obtained  from the state's                                                               
website.   He said that  R.S. 2477  was a congressional  grant of                                                               
rights  of  way  which  provided,  "The  right  of  way  for  the                                                               
construction  of highways  over  public lands,  not reserved  for                                                               
public  uses, is  hereby  granted."   The  Department of  Natural                                                               
Resource's  website   indicates  that  the  word   "highway"  was                                                               
historically used to refer to  foot trails, pack trails, sled dog                                                               
trails,  crudely  built  wagon  roads, and  other  corridors  for                                                               
transportation.  The term "highway"  is defined in state statutes                                                               
AS 19.59.018 (8), as follows:                                                                                                   
     "highway"  includes  a  highway  (whether  included  in                                                                    
     primary  or secondary  systems),  road, street,  trail,                                                                    
     walk,  bridge, tunnel,  drainage  [structure and  other                                                                    
      similar or related structure or facility, and right-                                                                      
     of-way thereof,  and further  includes a  ferry system,                                                                    
     whether operated solely inside  the state or to connect                                                                    
     with  a   Canadian  highway,   and  any   such  related                                                                    
MR. BOVEE  explained that the process  to assert an R.S.  2477 is                                                               
far  from  consistent and  has  been  the subject  of  litigation                                                               
between  the  state  and  private   landowners  and  the  federal                                                               
government in  North America.   In  1998, the  Alaska legislature                                                               
instructed that  while providing  for the  public's right  to use                                                               
these historic access easements, "every  effort should be made to                                                               
minimize the effect on private property owners."                                                                                
2:07:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE stated that DNR has  identified 669 R.S. 2477 trails in                                                               
in Alaska.   For  example, DeBarr Road  in Anchorage  and Farmers                                                               
Loop Road in Fairbanks began  as R.S. 2477 trails.  Additionally,                                                               
numerous foot trails are R.S. 2477  trials, many of which may not                                                               
be visibly  identifiable on  the ground.   He reported  that over                                                               
142 R.S. 2477s are located on Ahtna land alone.                                                                                 
MR. BOVEE pointed out the Ahtna  lands overlaid on an Alaska map.                                                               
The next  slide, entitled "Private  Lands Present"  shows private                                                               
and  public  lands, with  private  land  ownership in  blue,  and                                                               
federal or  state ownership  depicted in yellow.   The  R.S. 2477                                                               
trails are shown by black lines.                                                                                                
2:08:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON asked  for further  clarification that  the R.S.                                                               
2477 were old trails.                                                                                                           
MR. BOVEE answered  yes; noting most were adopted  or used during                                                               
mining in the late 1800s or early 1900s.                                                                                        
2:09:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE  highlighted Ahtna  lands include  402 linear  miles of                                                               
R.S. 2477  trails, which would  encompass 9,406 acres.   The next                                                               
slide  entitled,  "Ahtna  Lands Regional  Location"  shows  Ahtna                                                               
owned lands in red.                                                                                                             
2:10:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE turned  to  the slide  entitled  "R.S. 2477  Landowner                                                               
Problems, Icy Roads Caused by  Incised Roads "across Ahtna lands.                                                               
This  slide identifies  [in  black lines]  the  R.S. 2477  trails                                                               
located on Ahtna  lands.  In response to a  question, he answered                                                               
that the  402 linear miles on  Ahtna land with a  100-foot right-                                                               
of-way would consume 9,406 acres.                                                                                               
MR. BOVEE continued.   Ahtna, Inc. lands contain  over 221 linear                                                               
miles 17 (b) easements.   As the sponsor identified earlier, part                                                               
17  (b)  ANCSA  defines  a  trail or  public  use  across  Native                                                               
Corporation lands.   He pointed  out some trails overlap  with an                                                               
existing easement totaling 529 miles.                                                                                           
2:11:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON asked for  further clarification on the duplicate                                                               
MR. BOVEE answered  that two easements cross  private property on                                                               
Native  Corporation  land  and  on  some  non-ANCSA  lands.    He                                                               
explained the  width and  range from 25-60  feet whereas  an R.S.                                                               
2477 is  typically 100  feet wide.   The R.S.  2477 rights-of-way                                                               
often fall on the 17 (b) trails so they are duplicative.                                                                        
CHAIR P.  WILSON clarified  that the 17  (b) trails  are narrower                                                               
ones than the R.S. 2477 trails.                                                                                                 
MR. BOVEE answered yes.                                                                                                         
2:12:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE said  that approximately  98  linear miles  of 17  (b)                                                               
easements are duplicative of R.S. 2477 roads.                                                                                   
2:13:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   BOVEE  explained   that  R.S.   2477  trails   represent  a                                                               
significant burden on the landowner.   In response to a question,                                                               
Mr.  Bovee answered  that the  R.S. 2477  easements were  federal                                                               
rules  originating  from  the  1866   mining  law.    He  further                                                               
clarified that  the federal government has  recognized only three                                                               
or  four necessary  trails of  the aforementioned  669 R.S.  2477                                                               
2:14:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON asked  whether the  state or  federal government                                                               
has authority over the trails.                                                                                                  
MR. BOVEE answered that the state has authority.                                                                                
2:14:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE turned to the  next slide entitled "R.S. 2477 Landowner                                                               
Problems Icy Roads Caused by  Incised Roads."  This trail located                                                               
near Cantwell  is called the  Windy Creek  Trail and was  the old                                                               
access to the Denali National Park  until the 1960s.  He said the                                                               
100-foot wide trail doesn't have  any restrictions on vehicle use                                                               
depending on  the time  of year.   The next  slide shows  a trail                                                               
into Bear Valley that is overlaid  with a 17 (b) easement without                                                               
any restriction on  use.  In response to a  question, he answered                                                               
no; that  the land  is not  DNR land,  but is  Ahtna land  with a                                                               
public easement.                                                                                                                
2:15:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE showed  several photographs of other  R.S. 2477 trails,                                                               
not in  members' packets.   Since these trails used  the shortest                                                               
route many  of them,  such as  the one  near Copper  Center, R.S.                                                               
2477 T  633, did not  consider erosion, flooding events,  or best                                                               
locations.  He  explained that Ahtna has made  a concerted effort                                                               
to work with various agencies  on the issues surrounding the R.S.                                                               
2477 trails.   The  state agencies refer  to the  federal statute                                                               
and  basically respond  that their  "hands  are basically  tied."                                                               
The trails can be relocated  if natural conditions make the route                                                               
impassable or  unsafe.  The  state can enter property  to perform                                                               
maintenance   and  repair   work   such   as  paving,   leveling,                                                               
installation  of  culverts  and  other duties  such  as  clearing                                                               
vegetation or  realigning roads.   The  state maintains  that the                                                               
public  has extensive  use rights  within  the right-of-way  that                                                               
include not  only transportation  but also rest  stops, pullouts,                                                               
boat launches, fishing access, and campgrounds.                                                                                 
2:18:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE  explained  the  Klutina   Lake  Road  starts  on  the                                                               
Richardson  Highway  and  goes  to  the  head  of  Klutina  Lake,                                                               
crossing 18 private landowners,  non-ANCSA landowners and crosses                                                               
driveways.  In  response to a question, Mr.  Bovee explained that                                                               
the private landowners did not  even know the trail existed until                                                               
about five  or six years ago  when the state asserted  its rights                                                               
over the R.S.  2477s.  Thus, the issue has  arisen since the R.S.                                                               
2477  trail with  its  100-foot wide  easement  will consume  the                                                               
private landowner's acreage.                                                                                                    
2:19:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON related her  understanding that Ahtna didn't know                                                               
their land allotments fell on R.S. 2477 trails.                                                                                 
MR. BOVEE  answered yes.  He  explained the 18 landowners  in the                                                               
aforementioned area own  the land, which was  previously a Native                                                               
allotment.   The land was  subdivided and the  private landowners                                                               
didn't know R.S. 2477 would cross their front yards.                                                                            
2:20:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON asked for clarification on the state's position.                                                                
MR.  BOVEE  answered  that  the  state asserts  it  is  a  public                                                               
easement and the  public can use the  roads indiscriminately, any                                                               
time  of the  year,  using any  kind of  equipment.   In  further                                                               
response to  a question, Mr.  Bovee agreed access is  without any                                                               
rules or regulations.                                                                                                           
MR. LABOLLE, in  response to a question, clarified  that the bill                                                               
has  an  additional  referral to  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                               
2:21:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE  identified  potential  solutions.    One  alternative                                                               
proposes  limiting the  scope of  use of  R.S. 2477  trails.   He                                                               
emphasized  that  Ahtna  is  not   opposed  to  limiting  access.                                                               
Although  Ahtna  encourages  resource development,  the  100-foot                                                               
right-of-way and  unregulated use  within the  right-of-way opens                                                               
access.  One issue is who  will perform road maintenance once the                                                               
roads are public roads during times of budget constraints.                                                                      
MR. BOVEE turned  to a slide entitled "Well  Maintained R.S. 2477                                                               
Road"  that encompasses  a hunting  area north  of Cantwell.   He                                                               
advised  that Ahtna  has  been  working with  DOT&PF  and DNR  to                                                               
realign the  trail around  a gravel pit  near the  Parks Highway.                                                               
He  offered  his belief  that  the  department will  reroute  the                                                               
trail.   In  further response  to  a question,  he answered  that                                                               
Ahtna owns the material site.                                                                                                   
2:23:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE stated that Ahtna  signed a Memorandum of Understanding                                                               
with  DNR, Alaska  Department  of  Fish &  Game  and DOT&PF  last                                                               
summer.   This  agreement  requires quarterly  meetings with  the                                                               
state  agencies to  try to  resolve issues  and to  pool and  use                                                               
resources  more wisely.   This  bill  would require  consultation                                                               
with  the  private landowner  prior  to  engaging in  other  than                                                               
routine maintenance and represents a  "good neighbor" policy.  It                                                               
would also require the state to  consult with the landowner if an                                                               
R.S. 2477 right-of-way  has been damaged beyond repair  and is to                                                               
be realigned.   He mentioned  several trails have  been realigned                                                               
several times.                                                                                                                  
2:25:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOVEE would specifically vacate  portions of R.S. 2477 right-                                                               
of-way along the Klutina Lake  road effectively ending litigation                                                               
with the state.  He thanked members.                                                                                            
2:25:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER  offered  to  provide a  chart  to  better                                                               
describe the  R.S. 2477  right-of-way as compared  to the  17 (b)                                                               
provisions.   The goal of the  bill is to minimize  the impact to                                                               
the landowner.   He related a  scenario in which he  owned a farm                                                               
at  Kenny  Lake with  an  R.S.  2477 crossing  his  land.   As  a                                                               
landowner he  would want  to minimize the  impact on  his private                                                               
land.    He would  not  want  a  right-of-way with  a  campground                                                               
located on his land, but would  prefer a point to point access so                                                               
people aren't stopping on his land.                                                                                             
2:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON asked for the status of the current lawsuit.                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE reported  that  the case  started  mediation but  must                                                               
follow state law so the process hit a "brick wall."                                                                             
2:28:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON asked  whether  this  bill  would amend  it  to                                                               
satisfy Ahtna.                                                                                                                  
MR. BOVEE  answered that  it would not  restrict access  to state                                                               
land  but would  limit  easements  and define  the  width of  the                                                               
2:28:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  asked whether  plat maps exist  for Klutina                                                               
Lake.    He  understood  interest exists  with  respect  to  lake                                                               
access.  He  further understood that the federal  17 (b) easement                                                               
but  not  the R.S.  2477  continues  through the  private  lands.                                                               
Since it  doesn't appear  to be overlapping  this bill  would not                                                               
vacate the R.S. 2477 easements.                                                                                                 
MR. BOVEE offered to provide a detailed plat map of the area.                                                                   
2:30:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON referred  to  page 2,  line 9;  paragraph                                                               
(1), which  read, "...  routine maintenance  and repair  may only                                                               
preserve  the condition  of  the right-of-way  as  it existed  on                                                               
October  21,  1976;  ...."     He  asked  whether  the  state  is                                                               
advocating all  the R.S.  2477 lands  if the  trail has  not been                                                               
maintained.  He understood that  the state is still in litigation                                                               
with  the  federal  government  and  the  trails  have  not  been                                                               
resolved.   He  asked whether  the state  would be  giving up  on                                                               
those lands.   For  example, if  a trail  went from  Fairbanks to                                                               
Nome and it  crosses private land, this language  would not allow                                                               
the trail to  be maintained any differently than it  was in 1976.                                                               
He  asked whether  that  means these  rights-of-way  will not  be                                                               
2:31:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOVEE answered  that  he  was not  aware  of  all R.S.  2477                                                               
easements   in  the   state;  however,   he   is  familiar   with                                                               
approximately 90  percent of ones in  the Ahtna region.   He said                                                               
approximately 95 percent are not  developed, but are foot trails,                                                               
pack trails, or sled trails.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON remarked  that is  his point.   The  bill                                                               
would  mean the  trails  would  never be  more  than the  current                                                               
MR. BOVEE answered  that is the point  of the bill.   If the R.S.                                                               
2477  right-of-way  is  currently an  all-terrain  vehicle  (ATV)                                                               
trail or a  foot trail, that it  should be left as  such and have                                                               
room to develop it later.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON maintained  the  language would  restrict                                                               
further development.   If  the road  is a  walking trail  then it                                                               
cannot be more  than a walking trail even if  gold is discovered.                                                               
He expressed  concern about the  restriction.  He  discussed some                                                               
of the  history of the R.S.  2477 trails such that  the state has                                                               
had to litigate each trail.   He did not want to advocate limited                                                               
access  across federal  lands.   Secondly, if  an R.S.  2477 runs                                                               
along a river  and a boat launch is not  permitted, wouldn't that                                                               
limit  access to  a publically-owned  resource based  on Alaska's                                                               
Constitution.    He  expressed   concern  about  limiting  future                                                               
development.   He suggested there  might be a way  to compromise;                                                               
however, he maintained his concern  about limiting access that is                                                               
provided by  Alaska's Constitution.   He did  not want to  send a                                                               
message to the federal government  that Alaska has limited access                                                               
by freezing the R.S. 2477 right-of-way to 1976 condition.                                                                       
2:34:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  offered his  belief that this  bill goes                                                               
too  far since  the state  is developing.   One  way would  be to                                                               
recognize  that  some   right-of-way  will  not  be   used.    He                                                               
acknowledged that  there isn't a  management plan and  that seems                                                               
to be the biggest issue.   He agreed that managing the rights-of-                                                               
way is important and to ensure  that property owners are aware of                                                               
the use.  He pointed out that  Farmers Loop Road was an R.S. 2477                                                               
right-of-way  and  currently  in   many  places  is  a  four-lane                                                               
highway.   He  noted  several  other roads  in  Alaska that  were                                                               
developed on  R.S. 2477  trails.   He cautioned  against impeding                                                               
development.  He acknowledged that  a R.S. 2477 right-of-way will                                                               
likely become  a road and  development occurs along the  road and                                                               
Ahtna, Incorporated will  likely need those roads  in the future.                                                               
He asked  whether Ahtna has  a bill  before the Congress  on this                                                               
same subject.                                                                                                                   
MR. BOVEE answered yes; but it  does not have anything to do with                                                               
R.S. 2477s.                                                                                                                     
2:38:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked how  the federal bill  will affect                                                               
this bill.  He suggested  the federal bill asserted groups within                                                               
the state as having more  rights to the transportation corridors.                                                               
He asked whether this was related.                                                                                              
MR.  BOVEE  answered  that  he  was  not  aware  of  the  federal                                                               
transportation bill.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON said he would further research it.                                                                      
2:39:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON said he would  be interested in solving a                                                               
specific issue  rather than  "locking up"  the lands  globally in                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON   referred  to  the  fiscal   note  which                                                               
identifies 20,000 linear miles of  R.S. 2477 rights-of-way, which                                                               
could  increase to  26,600 once  settled.   He expressed  concern                                                               
that the  bill could  jeopardize 26,000 miles  of access  for 400                                                               
miles  of Ahtna  trail.   He  agreed the  R.S. 2477  right-of-way                                                               
issue is not  just an Ahtna issue, but is  a statewide issue that                                                               
could affect Alaska's  future.  He said he would  hate to give up                                                               
this access.                                                                                                                    
MR. LABOLLE  referred to  the fiscal note  and clarified  that of                                                               
the 20,000  linear miles, 50 percent  is on private land,  and so                                                               
about 10,000  miles applies to  R.S. 2477s that  cross privately-                                                               
owned land.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  pointed out  the checkerboard  of private                                                               
lands, noting one acre in the middle could impede development.                                                                  
2:42:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P. WILSON,  referring to  the DNR  fiscal note  of 3/8/14,                                                               
noted that diminishing  the right-of-way to 40  feet would equate                                                               
to 48,500 acres.                                                                                                                
2:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON suggested  this issue  goes back  to the                                                               
municipal model,  noting it  is the  state's policy  to encourage                                                               
the  settlement of  the land  based on  maximum use  and benefit.                                                               
Although the cities have private land  until the land is used for                                                               
public interest, the advantage for  the historical trails is that                                                               
they provides access  to private lands and that  will continue to                                                               
evolve over time.  He  expressed concern about restricting access                                                               
to a time  certain.  He said  he could not get  past that hurdle,                                                               
particularly since the state is required  to settle the land.  He                                                               
suggested that  Ahtna try  to find  a way  to solve  the specific                                                               
problem  without  unintentionally restricting  access  throughout                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
2:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON remarked  that  she  has not  seen  improvement                                                               
during the time  she has served in the legislature.   At the time                                                               
she was initially elected the state  was in a deficit.  Since the                                                               
state's  population is  so  low  a sales  tax  or  an income  tax                                                               
doesn't  solve the  financial  issues.   She  concluded that  the                                                               
state needs more population in order to grow.                                                                                   
2:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE referred  to  a Bureau  of Land  Management                                                               
(BLM)  document  in  members' packets  entitled,  "Public  Access                                                               
Information."   He asked whether  the Klutina Lake  Road referred                                                               
to  as the  Brenwick-Craig  Road  and the  Klutina  Trail in  the                                                               
document are  different or are  these easements part of  the same                                                               
access to Klutina Lake.                                                                                                         
MR. BOVEE answered that the  Brenwick-Craig Road is more commonly                                                               
referred to as the Klutina Lake  road.  The ANCSA 17 (b) easement                                                               
stops at private property at the  mouth of the lake.  The Klutina                                                               
Trail turns  into an R.S. 2477  trail because it is  not an ANCSA                                                               
17 (b) easement.                                                                                                                
2:46:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  related his understanding that  the Klutina                                                               
Lake road  goes to  the outlet  of Klutina  Lake and  the Klutina                                                               
trail continues beyond that point.                                                                                              
MR. BOVEE answered that the  Klutina trail wraps around the north                                                               
side of Klutina Lake and continues to Valdez.                                                                                   
[HB 194 was held over.]                                                                                                         
2:48:21 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Transportation Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:48                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB0371A.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB 371 Sponsor Stmt .pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB371-DNR-MLW-3-10-14.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB371-DOT-SDES-3-11-14.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB 371 Elements of the Bill.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB 371 Glenn MP 118 N ROW Plans.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
HB 371 Old Glenn Hwy.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371
SSHB 194 ver N.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194-Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194 Sectional Summary.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB194SS-DOT-NDAES-3-11-14.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB194SS-DNR-MLW-3-8-14.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194-Letters of Support.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194 Supporting Documents-Applicable Statutes.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194 Applicable Statutes.docx HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
HB 194 Ahnta Presentation 3-11-14.pptx HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 194
CSHB 371 ver N draft.pdf HTRA 3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 371