Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

04/02/2019 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:02:45 PM Start
01:03:27 PM HJR12
01:24:31 PM Presentation(s): United States Coast Guard
01:52:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HJR 12 NORTHERN RAIL EXTENSION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Presentation: United States Coast Guard TELECONFERENCED
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 2, 2019                                                                                          
                           1:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Adam Wool, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 12                                                                                                   
Supporting  the  completion  of   the  Northern  Rail  Extension;                                                               
supporting  the  increase  in   defensive  capabilities  at  Fort                                                               
Greely,  Alaska;  and  encouraging the  development  of  critical                                                               
Arctic infrastructure.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S): UNITED STATES COAST GUARD                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 12                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NORTHERN RAIL EXTENSION                                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TALERICO                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/13/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/19       (H)       MLV, TRA                                                                                               
03/19/19       (H)       MLV AT 2:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/19/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/19/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/21/19       (H)       MLV AT 2:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/21/19       (H)       Moved HJR 12 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/21/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/22/19       (H)       MLV RPT 4DP                                                                                            
03/22/19       (H)       DP: RAUSCHER, JACKSON, TARR, LEDOUX                                                                    
04/02/19       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAVE TALERICO                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HJR 12.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS STUDLER, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered a  question during the  hearing on                                                             
HJR 12, on behalf of Representative Talerico, prime sponsor.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VIKKI JO KENNEDY                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 12.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL MATTHEW BELL, JR.                                                                                                  
Seventeenth Coast Guard District                                                                                                
U.S. Coast Guard                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Gave a  PowerPoint presentation  regarding                                                             
the  activities of  the U.S.  Coast  Guard (USCG)  in Alaska,  as                                                               
related to the Alaska Marine Highway System.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ADAM  WOOL  called the  House  Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:02  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Drummond, Claman, Talerico, Story,  Stutes, and Wool were present                                                               
at the call to order.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                 HJR 12-NORTHERN RAIL EXTENSION                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:03:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO.  12, Supporting the  completion of                                                               
the Northern Rail Extension; supporting the increase in                                                                         
defensive capabilities at Fort Greely, Alaska; and encouraging                                                                  
the development of critical Arctic infrastructure.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:03:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAVE TALERICO, Alaska State Legislature, as prime                                                                
sponsor, presented HJR 12.  He offered his sponsor statement,                                                                   
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Completing the  Northern Rail Extension to  Fort Greely                                                                    
     and Delta  Junction would support  Military operations,                                                                    
     mining, and agricultural in the Interior of Alaska.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     In  the  Act  of   1914,  the  United  States  Congress                                                                    
     authorized the  construction of  a railroad  in Alaska.                                                                    
     The railroad  was to connect  one or more  open harbors                                                                    
     in  Alaska, with  the Interior  of  Alaska, to  develop                                                                    
     agricultural and  mineral resources of Alaska,  and the                                                                    
     settlement  of  people  on  public  lands  therein,  to                                                                    
     provide  transportation  of  fuels  for  the  Military,                                                                    
     transporting  troops, arms,  munitions,  the mail,  and                                                                    
     other  governmental  and  public  uses.  Unfortunately,                                                                    
     that dream was never realized.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska  Railroad Transfer Act  (ARTA) of  1983, the                                                                    
     U.S. Congress  again recognized  the importance  of the                                                                    
     railroad  in  providing   freight  and  passenger  rail                                                                    
     service   to   Alaska.   Congress   also   found   that                                                                    
     continuation  of services  and the  expansion of  those                                                                    
     services are  necessary to achieve Federal,  State, and                                                                    
     private  objectives.  The State's  continued  operation                                                                    
     together with expansion of  the railroad constitutes an                                                                    
     appropriate public use of the  rail system. Once again,                                                                    
     the dream of expansion was unrealized.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Finally, in  2013, almost one hundred  years later, the                                                                    
     Northern   rail  expansion   was  proposed   by  Alaska                                                                    
     Railroad   in  conjunction   with  the   Department  of                                                                    
     Defense,  the four  phased  plan  was completed.  Phase                                                                    
     one,  Crossing the  Tanana  River,  was completed.  The                                                                    
     remaining three  phases need to be  accomplished before                                                                    
     we  can   realize  completion  of  the   Northern  rail                                                                    
     expansion.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     With the  expansion of the Fort  Greely missile complex                                                                    
     and expanded training  ranges, increased agriculture in                                                                    
     Delta Junction, and increased  mining operations in the                                                                    
     area. This resolution  supports critical infrastructure                                                                    
     development,  national security,  economic development,                                                                    
     and  natural  resource  development  in  the  State  of                                                                    
     Alaska.  The  Northern  Rail  Extension  project  would                                                                    
     provide  essential  freight  and passenger  service  to                                                                    
     support  transportation  and   mobility  needs  of  the                                                                    
     region.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This is  a project  long overdue for  Alaska and  I ask                                                                    
     for your support for this resolution.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO cited AS 42.40.550, which read as                                                                       
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.  42.40.550.      Extension  of  railroad  to  Fort                                                                    
     Greely.                                                                                                                    
     The corporation  may acquire a  transportation corridor                                                                    
     between  the   existing  railroad  corridor   and  Fort                                                                    
     Greely, Alaska,  and construct a  rail line  within the                                                                    
     corridor  to provide  rail service  to the  Fort Greely                                                                    
     area  and points  between. The  transportation corridor                                                                    
     may  be  designated  for  a  use  identified  under  AS                                                                    
     42.40.350(b)  and  other   transportation  and  utility                                                                    
     uses. The  corporation may also acquire  land along the                                                                    
     corridor for  use as  rail land  that can  be developed                                                                    
     for  terminal,  station,  and  maintenance  facilities,                                                                    
     switching  yards,  and  any other  purposes  associated                                                                    
     with the railroad utility corridor.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:07:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  stated that  the Act of  1914 authorized                                                               
the U.S.  President to construct  a thousand miles of  rail line.                                                               
He estimated  that Alaska currently  has 467 miles of  rail line.                                                               
He  stated that  his  request  "has a  lot  to  do with  national                                                               
security."  He  said that the expansion of  infrastructure in Ft.                                                               
Greely is significant.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:08:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES asked what the distance is between Ft. Greely                                                                   
and the railway's current end.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:08:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO answered  that it is about 70  miles.  He                                                               
said the  railway extends all the  way to Eielson Air  Force Base                                                               
from  Fairbanks.   A bridge  was  built across  the Tanana  River                                                               
about four  years ago,  at an approximate  cost of  $184 million.                                                               
In response  to a  follow-up question,  he said  an environmental                                                               
impact statement  (EIS) process  has been done,  and a  route has                                                               
been  identified.   Phase one  is complete,  which leaves  phases                                                               
two-four.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:10:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked  how   much  the  railroad  between                                                               
Fairbanks and Eielson Air Force Base is being used currently.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  offered  his  understanding  that  coal                                                               
trains  travel  the route  twice  a  week.    Also, jet  fuel  is                                                               
transported to Eielson Air Force  Base.  In response to follow-up                                                               
questions from Representative Claman,  he said the estimated cost                                                               
per  mile  to lay  tracks  can  range  from  $3-$8 million.    He                                                               
affirmed that  the state currently  does not have the  funds; HJR                                                               
12  is  request to  the  federal  government, particular  to  the                                                               
Department  of  Defense (DoD).    In  regard  to a  proposed  $17                                                               
billion  project to  lay rail  from the  tar sands  in Canada  to                                                               
Alaska, he  said he believes that  would just be a  connection to                                                               
wherever the  railway [in Alaska] stopped  in Delta.  He  said he                                                               
thinks the $17 billion estimate may  be to run the tracks all the                                                               
way to Eielson  Air Force Base; therefore, "if  this was actually                                                               
put in there," that amount may be less.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:13:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  stated that  she traveled to  Delta last                                                               
summer  with Representatives  Talerico,  Tarr,  and Rauscher  and                                                               
Senator Shower  on the  first legislative  farm tour  since 1984.                                                               
She said that experience showed her  that "they could sure use an                                                               
alternative  form of  transportation."   She said  she would  not                                                               
wish driving to Southcentral Alaska  on the Richardson Highway on                                                               
a regular basis on anyone.   She said, "I absolutely saw the need                                                               
... for  this."   She expressed disbelief  regarding the  cost of                                                               
the Canada rail proposed, and she  asked if 80 miles would be the                                                               
total through all phases of  the proposed northern rail extension                                                               
and at a cost of about $600 million.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said it would  be about $640 million.  He                                                               
mentioned  a  map [included  in  the  committee packet],  and  he                                                               
offered his  understanding that the location  of the right-of-way                                                               
was  moved to  the  other  side of  the  Tanana  River [to  avoid                                                               
mountains].                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  observed that the route  through Canada,                                                               
the "A to A"  line, would have 200 of its  1,700 miles in Alaska;                                                               
therefore,  she  concluded  that [the  northern  rail  extension]                                                               
would take care of about 80 miles of those 200 miles.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO confirmed that is correct.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND stated, "I can be supportive of this."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:16:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  inquired as to the  extent of communication                                                               
with property owners of the land and other interested parties.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  responded that most of  the extension is                                                               
on  a military  reserve  in  Tanana Flats;  one  area of  private                                                               
property  is  near   Delta  Junction  and  is   owned  by  Ahtna,                                                               
Incorporated;  and  most  of  the  rest of  the  property  is  on                                                               
government-owned land.   In response to a  follow-up question, he                                                               
said   the   Alaska   Railroad   has   spoken   previously   with                                                               
representatives  of Ahtna,  Incorporated,  and those  discussions                                                               
will continue.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:18:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked  a series of questions  about water crossing.                                                               
He  remarked that  if the  federal  government wanted  to put  in                                                               
"structural  money," it  would  "tie  in nicely  to  the  A to  A                                                               
project."   He also asked  how missile components are  brought to                                                               
Ft. Greely.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO confirmed  that the  tracks go  over the                                                               
newly  constructed bridge.   He  offered  his understanding  that                                                               
"the bridge would cross the Delta River."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:19:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  STUDLER,  Staff,  Representative David  Talerico,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Talerico, prime                                                               
sponsor  of HJR  12, explained  that missiles  are brought  up by                                                               
barge, then taken to Fairbanks by  rail, then shipped by truck to                                                               
Ft.  Greely, where  they are  reassembled.   The addition  of the                                                               
northern extension of  the rail would shave off a  couple days in                                                               
that shipping process.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:20:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony on HJR 12.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:20:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 1:20 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:20:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VIKKI  JO KENNEDY  opined that  because the  sole purpose  of the                                                               
northern  extension of  the train  will be  for federal  use, the                                                               
federal government - not Alaska -  should pay the full cost.  She                                                               
said  Alaska  is broke.    She  said  the federal  government  is                                                               
militarizing Alaska  and owns 65  percent of the land  in Alaska.                                                               
She reemphasized  that the  federal government  needs to  pay for                                                               
all of it, and she stated, "I'm  not happy about any of it."  She                                                               
questioned when the EIS was done.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:24:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL closed public testimony on HJR 12.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL noted  that HJR  12 had  a zero  fiscal note.   He                                                               
said, "It is all federal money, as proposed."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:24:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that HJR 12 was held over.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S): United States Coast Guard                                                                                     
           PRESENTATION(S): United States Coast Guard                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:24:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the final order of business would                                                                  
be a presentation by the United States Coast Guard.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:24:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:24 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:25:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL MATTHEW  BELL, JR.,  U.S. Coast  Guard, said  he is                                                               
commander  of the  Seventeenth Coast  Guard District;  therefore,                                                               
all U.S.  Coast Guard  (USCG) resources in  Alaska are  under his                                                               
purview.  He said he would  talk about USCG activities in Alaska,                                                               
particularly with regard  to the Alaska Marine Highway.   He said                                                               
the marine transportation  system in Alaska is  vital to national                                                               
security.   The  USCG stands  ready to  meet challenges,  because                                                               
national prosperity is closely liked to the maritime community.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL BELL  began a  PowerPoint  presentation [hard  copy                                                               
included  in the  committee packet],  entitled "U.S.  Coast Guard                                                               
Seventeenth  District  Brief."    As  shown on  slide  2  of  the                                                               
presentation,  he said  in Alaska  there are  approximately 2,500                                                               
active  duty, reserve,  civilian,  and auxiliary  members in  the                                                               
USCG; with dependents, that number  reaches about 3,500.  He said                                                               
limiting  Alaska  Marine  Highway  System  (AMHS)  options  would                                                               
affect USCG  members in Alaska,  many of whom are  in communities                                                               
with  limited  and  expensive  flight   options.    Referring  to                                                               
information on  slide 3,  he noted  that the  M/V Columbia  had a                                                               
fire  in June  2018,  which  impacted the  arrival  of some  USCG                                                               
members for up to two weeks.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL BELL,  pointing to slide 4, noted  that cruise ships                                                               
present the  highest risk for  mass rescue operations  in Alaska,                                                               
especially in  Southeast; a commercial airline  crash ranks next.                                                               
He said  1.36 million  passengers arrive in  Alaska on  34 cruise                                                               
ships calling to Alaska over 500  times this year alone.  He said                                                               
the  USCG  lacks  the  resources  to rescue  a  large  number  of                                                               
survivors in  a timely manner  and relies heavily on  "vessels of                                                               
opportunity"  to assist  with mass  rescue operations.   He  said                                                               
AMHS vessels provide  a valuable resource to the  USCG because of                                                               
their capacity  to hold a  large number  of survivors.   He named                                                               
recent incidents in Norway, Italy, and Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:29:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL referred  to  slide  5, which  addresses  the                                                               
Alaska  Shield  (AkS)  Exercise,  wherein  the  USCG  conducts  a                                                               
pelagic  strike counter-terrorism  exercise  in conjunction  with                                                               
Artic Shield 19 to meet  shared preparedness objectives.  He said                                                               
the  exercise tests  the USCG's  ability to  mobilize specialized                                                               
forces to Alaska, to respond  to a terrorism or Homeland Security                                                               
threat  on a  vessel.   He stated  that approximately  70 missile                                                               
site  radar (MSR)  Key West  personnel employed  small boats  and                                                               
other equipment  from their home  base in San  Diego, California,                                                               
via airlift  to Alaska provided  by Alaskan Command (ALCOM).   He                                                               
listed  other entities  integral to  planning  as:   the City  of                                                               
Cordova, the  State of Alaska  Division of Homeland  Security and                                                               
Emergency Management,  the Department of Transportation  & Public                                                               
Facilities, AMHS, and other state agencies.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  turned  to  slide 6  and  talked  about  the                                                               
Seventeenth  Coast Guard  District's Operation  Salmon Run  2018,                                                               
which was  requested by Governor  Mike Dunleavy.  The  purpose of                                                               
the  operation  was  to  "detect and  deter  elicit  activity  on                                                               
Alaska's  Marine   Transportation  System,   directly  supporting                                                               
Alaska's 2018 high  intensity drug threat area  designation."  He                                                               
said the  operation focuses on  the Alaska Marine  Highway System                                                               
and   interisland  ferry   traffic,  since   illegal  drugs   are                                                               
transported  into   and  throughout  Alaska  via   this  mode  of                                                               
transportation.  He said this  built on an operation that started                                                               
in  2014, and  it  was  done in  coordination  with District  13.                                                               
Operation  Salmon Runs  were conducted  in the  ports of  Kodiak,                                                               
Whitter,  Juneau,  Ketchikan,  and Bellingham.    The  operations                                                               
screened  30 ferry  port calls,  approximately 3,000  passengers,                                                               
over  500  crew members,  and  over  750 vehicles,  resulting  in                                                               
confiscations, which  included 56  grams of  heroin, an  ounce of                                                               
methamphetamines,   and   almost   2  pounds   of   noncommercial                                                               
marijuana.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:31:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  moved  on   to  slide  7,  regarding  marine                                                               
inspections.  He  stated, "The  Coast  Guard  is responsible  for                                                               
every  piece  of  the  ship,  from  plans,  to  installation,  to                                                               
operation."   He said  vessels get dry  docked annually  or twice                                                               
every five  years; most receive  a full-scale  annual inspection,                                                               
with   three   additional   quarterly   inspections   to   ensure                                                               
maintenance  and  operations  are  being kept  according  to  the                                                               
manual.   He  said emergency  drills  and crew  knowledge play  a                                                               
large  part  in  inspections.   Any  time  something  breaks,  or                                                               
someone is hurt,  the USCG investigate to find  out what happened                                                               
and  to ensure  it  does not  happen  again.   The  crews of  the                                                               
vessels all have USCG merchant mariner licenses.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  brought  attention   to  slide  8,  entitled                                                               
"Terminal   Safety   and  Security."      He   said  the   Marine                                                               
Transportation  Security  Act  of 2002  (MTSA)  put  considerable                                                               
responsibility for  the safe and  secure operations  of passenger                                                               
terminals on the operators, who  are required to ensure training,                                                               
operations,  plans,   communication,  and  access   control  that                                                               
provide safe operations of terminals.   He related that terminals                                                               
and ships  have "similar sets  of security rules that  overlap to                                                               
ensure  harmonized efforts"  to  protect both  the  ship and  the                                                               
terminal.   He said the USCG  ensures that all plans  and aspects                                                               
of  operations encompass  MTSA  in  its entirety.    The plan  is                                                               
reviewed and  must be approved  by the  captain of the  port, and                                                               
compliance  is  demonstrated  through an  annual  inspection  and                                                               
random spot checks throughout the year.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL BELL offered to take questions from the committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:33:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES stated that being  from Kodiak, Alaska, which has                                                               
the  largest USCG  base, as  well as  a huge  fishing fleet,  she                                                               
"doubly" appreciates what the USCG  does.  She asked Rear Admiral                                                               
Bell how large a part he  thinks the Alaska Marine Highway System                                                               
plays in bringing his staff to and from Kodiak.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  answered   that  approximately  1,500  [USCG                                                               
members] live on Kodiak Island,  and of those, roughly 600-800 of                                                               
them are rotating on or off the  island.  A good portion of those                                                               
will use  a commercial  shipping company  for their  vehicles and                                                               
will  fly in  themselves; a  smaller portion  will take  AMHS the                                                               
entire way;  and some will  drive to  Whittier or Homer  and then                                                               
take AMHS the rest of the way.   He said, "So, the actual numbers                                                               
vary  from year  to year.   Last  year I  think the  numbers were                                                               
300."   In response  to a follow-up  question, he  indicated that                                                               
folks  transferring to  USCG stations  in  Southeast Alaska  rely                                                               
more  on AMHS,  because it  is a  shorter route  from Bellingham,                                                               
Washington, to  Southeast Alaska  than it  is from  that starting                                                               
point to Kodiak,  Alaska.  In response to a  further question, he                                                               
confirmed that during  his presentation, he had  stated that AMHS                                                               
is integral to search and rescue missions.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:37:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY   asked  whether  Rear  Admiral   Bell  had                                                               
communicated to Governor  Dunleavy the importance of  AMHS to the                                                               
USCG's search and rescue efforts.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL BELL  answered that  he had  not.   In response  to                                                               
follow-up questions,  he said he  has made requests to  meet with                                                               
the governor.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STORY   indicated   that  her   question   about                                                               
communications would  include Commissioner John MacKinnon  of the                                                               
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:38:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked for  a  definition  of "PCS,"  as                                                               
shown on slide 2 of the presentation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  said  it stands  for  "permanent  change  in                                                               
station."  He noted that he  does not track those members who use                                                               
AMHS on a  day-to-day basis for personal travel.   In response to                                                               
follow-up   questions,  he   confirmed  that   the  USCG   spends                                                               
approximately $500,000  annually toward  PCS.  Regarding  the use                                                               
of the  phrase "organic  high capacity vessels,"  on slide  4, he                                                               
explained  that means  the USCG  does not  have any  vessels with                                                               
such high capacity [as the AMHS].                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  shared that the Norwegian  Bliss, with a                                                               
capacity of 6,000 guests and  crew, came to Southeast Alaska last                                                               
year.   She remarked  that even with  the largest  marine vessel,                                                               
that would take  many trips to load all the  passengers to safety                                                               
in an emergency.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL  BELL said he would  get back to the  committee with                                                               
the number of people that have  been rescued via the AMHS helping                                                               
out  the  USCG.    He  said,  "That  type  of  assistance  occurs                                                               
routinely."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:42:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked whether  USCG  has  the ability  to                                                               
demand a  vessel come to  assistance, but  it does not  have that                                                               
authority with cruise ships.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL BELL  answered that  is  correct.   To a  follow-up                                                               
question, he  said he  would have  to get  back to  the committee                                                               
regarding  "actual authorities."   He  said USCG  runs a  program                                                               
called  "Amver,"  through  which  it  asks  for  assistance  from                                                               
industry on a volunteer basis.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:43:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  about USCG  requirements  for  crew                                                               
numbers aboard the AMHS.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL  BELL answered  that the  requirements are  based on                                                               
the length  of the vessel,  how many passengers will  be carried,                                                               
and what type  of cargo will be  on board.  He said  he could get                                                               
those numbers for Representative Story.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:44:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL noted  there was no mention in  the presentation of                                                               
the terminal in Valdez.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL  BELL confirmed the USCG  has a presence there.   He                                                               
pointed out that  the presentation today was focused  on the USCG                                                               
as it  relates to  AMHS.  He  offered some  information regarding                                                               
USCG's  involvement  in Valdez  and  Prince  William Sound.    He                                                               
confirmed there is  a ferry terminal in Valdez, but  there are no                                                               
cruise ships.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:46:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  shared that she had  witnessed the spill                                                               
cleanup  practice  drill  in Whittier  last  summer,  along  with                                                               
Representative Josephson.   The AMHS ferries  were not discussed,                                                               
but  she offered  her understanding  that the  M/V Kennicott  had                                                               
been designed to assist with spill cleanup.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL   BELL  responded  that  USCG   partners  with  the                                                               
Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  (DEC)   for  spill                                                               
response.   He said the USCG  has "staged equipment" in  a number                                                               
of communities,  and it would look  for commercial transportation                                                               
to bring  that equipment  out to  where it  was needed,  and that                                                               
could include the  AMHS vessels.  He said, "I  believe that's the                                                               
connection to  the Alaska  Marine Highway to  do that,  but you'd                                                               
need the  ability to get  it off the  ferry when it  gets there."                                                               
He said "vessels of opportunity" is  the term USCG uses for those                                                               
vessels it  would hire to  help with  spill cleanup.   That could                                                               
mean fishing vessels or AMHS vessels.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  offered  her understanding  that  there                                                               
were 400 to 500 vessels available for assistance.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REAR  ADMIRAL  BELL  added  that  [their  locations]  range  from                                                               
Valdez, to Cordova, to Kodiak.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:49:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  expressed her gratitude  for the members  of the                                                               
USCG.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL BELL  expressed his thanks and noted  that most USCG                                                               
members  love what  they do  and  appreciate getting  to live  in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:49:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY shared her appreciation for USCG.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:50:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL noted he had toured the bases in Kodiak last year                                                                 
with Representative Stutes.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL BELL briefly outlined the operations in Kodiak.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL noted his daughter's ski coach had spent 10 years                                                                 
with USCG, and he had a friend who also served.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:51:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY noted that many members of USCG are                                                                        
involved in the communities in which they are stationed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:52:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Transportation Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:52                                                                 
p.m.                                                                                                                            

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HJR 12 RR Northern Rail Extension Project Scope 3.21.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM
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HJR 12 Sponsor Statement 3.21.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
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HJR 12 Supporting Document ARCA_October_2012 3.21.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
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HJR 12 Supporting Document ARTA_2005 3.21.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
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HJR 12 Supporting Document HCR2 (2003).pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
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HJR012A 3.21.19.pdf HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM
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HJR12 Additional Documents Alaska Rail Act of 1914 3.21.19.pdf HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 12
HJR12 Fiscal Note 3.21.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
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HJR 12 Supporting Document - A2A News Report 4.1.19.pdf HMLV 3/21/2019 2:00:00 PM
HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 12
HJR 12 Supporting Document - A2A presentation 4.1.19.pdf HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 12
USCG HTRA Brief 4.2.19.pdf HTRA 4/2/2019 1:00:00 PM