Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/20/2001 01:34 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                  SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         February 20, 2001                                                                                      
                             1:34 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator John Cowdery, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 79                                                                                                              
"An Act naming the Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge."                                                                               
     MOVED SB 79 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 79                                                                                                               
"An Act designating a portion of the Eagle River Loop Road as the                                                               
Eagle River Veterans' Memorial Highway."                                                                                        
     MOVED SCS HB 79 (TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 59                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to awards of federal funds to municipalities for                                                               
road projects; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 88                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to  metropolitan  planning organizations  and  to                                                            
establishment  of  a  metropolitan  planning  organization  for  the                                                            
Anchorage metropolitan  area; and providing for an  effective date."                                                            
     MOVED SB 88 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 79                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dennis Poshard, Legislative Liaison                                                                                         
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK   99801-7898                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 79, SB 59 and SB 88                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Roger Wortman                                                                                                               
Staff to Representative Pete Kott                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 79 for the sponsor                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mary Jackson                                                                                                                
Staff to Senator John Torgerson                                                                                                 
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 59                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Thomas B. Brigham, Director                                                                                                 
Division of Statewide Planning                                                                                                  
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK   99801-7898                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 59 and SB 88                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Randy  Phillips                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 88                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. William Cummings, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK   99811-0300                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 88                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-4, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  JOHN COWDERY called  the Senate  Transportation  Committee                                                          
meeting to  order at 1:34 p.m.  Present  were Senator Ward,  Senator                                                            
Wilken, Senator Elton and  Chairman Cowdery.  Senator Taylor arrived                                                            
at  1:46  p.m.   Chairman  Cowdery  announced  the  first  order  of                                                            
business would be SB 79.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                SB 79-FRED ZHAROFF MEMORIAL BRIDGE                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ALAN AUSTERMAN,  sponsor  of  SB 79,  introduced  SB 79  by                                                            
saying that  Fred Zharoff  had been in the  Senate for twelve  years                                                            
and  in  the House  of  Representatives  for  six  years.    Senator                                                            
Zharoff's efforts  helped bring about the "Bridge  to Nowhere" [Near                                                            
Island Bridge].   The completion of  the bridge has led to  a number                                                            
of  changes  on  Near   Island,  such  as  the  Fishery   Industrial                                                            
Technology  Center,  a new  boat harbor,  and the  Kodiak  Fisheries                                                            
Research Center.   Senator Austerman  felt that renaming  the bridge                                                            
after  Senator  Zharoff  would  give  him  the  public  exposure  he                                                            
deserves.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DENNIS  POSHARD,   Department  of  Transportation   and  Public                                                            
Facilities (DOTPF),  said DOTPF supports SB 79.  The  department has                                                            
a maintenance  budget for installing signs, but the  budget has been                                                            
cut the last  six out of seven years  and there will be another  cut                                                            
this year.  A zero fiscal note has been submitted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD  said  he hoped  the  committee  would  privatize  the                                                            
maintenance  department   because  it  is  not  spending  the  money                                                            
properly.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON moved  SB 79  from  committee with  the accompanying                                                             
fiscal note.  There being  no objection, SB 79 moved from committee.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 448                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
           HB 79-EAGLE RIVER VETERANS' MEMORIAL HIGHWAY                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGER WORTMAN, staff  to Representative Pete Kott, said HB 79 is                                                            
just one  way to honor and  recognize the  men and women who  served                                                            
and died for  our country. Representative  Kott's constituents  have                                                            
requested  an extension of  the Eagle River  Loop Road.   Therefore,                                                            
Representative  Kott is recommending  the Old Glenn Highway  through                                                            
Eagle Road and  to the Anchorage Regional Landfill  be designated as                                                            
the Eagle River Veterans' Memorial Highway.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD moved  HB 79 (TRA)  out of committee  with  individual                                                            
recommendations  and  the accompanying  fiscal  note  and asked  for                                                            
unanimous  consent.   There being  no objection,  HB 79 (TRA)  moved                                                            
from committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 581                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          SB 59-FEDERAL FUNDS TO MUNICIPALITIES FOR ROADS                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MARY  JACKSON,  staff  to  Senator  John  Torgerson,  said  the                                                            
Transportation  Equity  Act for  the 21st  Century  (TEA-21) is  the                                                            
federal  program  that  provides  transportation  funds  to  states.                                                            
Alaska receives  a great deal of this money and has  never given any                                                            
of it  as a  direct pass-through  to  municipalities.   SB 59  would                                                            
directly award  municipalities, with  $20 million being the  initial                                                            
amount.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON  said SB  59 establishes  a new  Municipal Road  Project                                                            
Program   (MRPP).     The   bill  authorizes   the   Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public Facilities  (DOTPF) to develop  a project                                                            
application  for municipalities.   Municipalities would be  required                                                            
to come up with a match  for the federal funds.  DOTPF is to develop                                                            
priorities on  how the funds would be dispersed, with  the exception                                                            
that a  higher priority would  be assigned  if a municipality  comes                                                            
forward with an application  to take over the maintenance of a state                                                            
road, reducing maintenance costs for the state.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON noted  that boroughs and municipalities  have many roads                                                            
under their jurisdiction,  and SB 59 proposes that  federal funds be                                                            
provided to  the municipalities.   Ms. Jackson commented  that DOTPF                                                            
is concerned  that municipalities  would not  be able to  administer                                                            
the program appropriately.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked what the administration fees might be.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 767                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   JACKSON   replied   DOTPF  would   take   a   percentage   for                                                            
administration costs but she does not know the amount.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN asked  if money  from the federal  government  comes                                                            
tagged for certain communities.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  JACKSON   said  DOTPF  would   have  to  amend  the   Statewide                                                            
Transportation  Improvement Program  (STIP) and put into  it the $20                                                            
million that would  go to the local municipalities.   Municipalities                                                            
would know the  money is there and apply for it.   If municipalities                                                            
are able to  match the funds and comply  with the federal  reporting                                                            
requirements, they will receive the funds.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked who will decide where the money goes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   JACKSON   said   DOTPF   would   establish   a   process   for                                                            
prioritization.   If a municipality is willing to  take over a state                                                            
road and maintain it, that municipality would have top priority.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 949                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked where the $20 million comes from.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON  replied that the money  comes from the TEA-21  program.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked if the money comes from a component  of TEA-21,                                                            
such as  community transportation,  or  would it be  up to DOTPF  to                                                            
make that determination.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said it would come from DOTPF.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked who  would have  liability -  the state  or the                                                            
municipality.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said the local  municipality would but this has not been                                                            
tested.    The  local  government  would  have  to  ascribe  to  the                                                            
regulations  DOTPF develops.  The  caveat is that if DOTPF  develops                                                            
regulations  saying it  would do  the paperwork  and certification,                                                             
then it would be responsible.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON gave an example  of a Community Transportation Program                                                            
(CTP)  and  wondered  why  this  project,  in  the  STIP,  would  be                                                            
different from a TEA-21 project.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said a TEA-21  project gives funds to municipalities for                                                            
building roads.   CTP projects are  rated and DOTPF would  build the                                                            
road.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked if  the priorities created in SB 59 would affect                                                            
the existing STIP.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said she did  not think it would affect the STIP because                                                            
the STIP is not in statute.   The STIP is an internal mechanism that                                                            
DOTPF  uses  to rate  communities  depending  on  whether  or not  a                                                            
community would  take over maintenance  of a road.  SB 59  just puts                                                            
in a new program for municipalities.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1140                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  said he  would like to  give municipalities  control                                                            
over the money they receive.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1240                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON  said  writing this  type of  priority  into statute  is                                                            
difficult - regulations will administer the program.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if  it would be possible,  within the  federal                                                            
funding  mechanism,  to establish  an  entity  other than  DOTPF  to                                                            
prioritize projects.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said her sense  is there is a lot of discretion with the                                                            
funds.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR said  it is important  to him  that the communities                                                             
themselves build the projects.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1337                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMAS  BRIGHAM,   Director  for  the  Division   of  Statewide                                                            
Planning, DOTPF,  said DOTPF's concern with SB 59  is of a practical                                                            
nature based  on its experience  with locally  administered  federal                                                            
projects.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  addressed earlier concerns  that DOTPF is only  funding                                                            
state or federal  projects.  According  to Mr. Brigham, this  is not                                                            
the case.   In 1999  the department  funded $49.5  million on  roads                                                            
owned by local  governments.  DOTPF  also funded $45 million  in the                                                            
year 2000  and about the  same amount for  2001.  DOTPF also  has an                                                            
Improve  and  Transfer  Program whereby  if  local  governments  are                                                            
willing to take  over a local road owned by the state,  that road is                                                            
then  owned and  operated by  the local  government.   This  program                                                            
averages $2.5 to $4.0 million per year.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said DOTPF  is working  on regulations  for STIP.   The                                                            
final draft should be available in early March.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM noted  in the  past DOTPF  has  passed-through  federal                                                            
funds to boroughs  and cities giving  them the responsibility  to do                                                            
the project.    DOTPF does  not have  a philosophical  problem  with                                                            
local governments  doing their own projects, but DOTPF's  experience                                                            
is that  the strings attached  to the federal  funds cause  problems                                                            
for  local  governments.   A  Code  of  Federal  Regulations,  which                                                            
governs how highway projects  are to be done, comes with the federal                                                            
money - it is complicated  and hard to administer.  Because of this,                                                            
most local governments,  especially the small ones, will have a hard                                                            
time  administering  federal  projects.    Overhead  would  also  be                                                            
substantially  greater  because  there would  be overhead  for  both                                                            
local and  state government.   Even  the projects  earmarked  by the                                                            
federal government have to go through DOTPF.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1776                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY  asked how  DOTPF  determines  the administrative                                                             
charges.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  replied that  direct, onsite  administration is  called                                                            
construction  engineering  and  is  capped  at  15 percent.    As  a                                                            
percentage  of the project,  big jobs  are less  and small jobs  are                                                            
more.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1810                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD  asked if DOTPF took  a percentage of the pass-through                                                             
money for the port project in Wasilla.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said he did not know  but he assumed DOTPF had  because                                                            
one of its employees works full time on the project.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD asked if the  percentage is taken at the beginning of a                                                            
project and if it is always 15 percent.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said if it  is a local project, DOTPF does not charge 15                                                            
percent.   If it is  DOTPF's project,  15 percent  is the limit  for                                                            
construction engineering.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said what is  possibly being referred to is the Indirect                                                            
Cost Allocation  Program (ICAP).   ICAP is  an arrangement  with the                                                            
Federal Highway  Administration (FHA).  There is a  two percent cost                                                            
on every  project that DOTPF  takes for ICAP,  rather than  charging                                                            
for  specific   projects.    The   two  percent  pays  for   DOTPF's                                                            
participation  and administration  of a project.  Even though  local                                                            
governments  do the actual  work, DOTPF does  all of the  paperwork,                                                            
reimbursements, and things of this nature.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD  said he would provide  the committee with a  memorandum                                                            
from the FHA, which outlines the ICAP program.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1953                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON said  that under  the program  envisioned  by SB  59,                                                            
several  things  happen:   1)  municipalities  will have  to  assume                                                            
liability  either for project  failure or  regulation violation;  2)                                                            
municipalities  will  have  to  pay  a  match;  3)  in  some  cases,                                                            
municipalities   would  have  to  take  over  maintenance;   and  4)                                                            
municipalities  would have  to deal  with the  Code of Regulations.                                                             
Given this, Senator Elton  asked if DOTPF anticipated municipalities                                                            
taking advantage of this type of program.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said there might be a  rush in the beginning,  but then                                                            
it would be  a case of "once bitten,  twice shy."  Dealing  with the                                                            
Code of Federal  Regulations has not been a pleasant  experience for                                                            
local governments.   A state grant  is a much different process  and                                                            
much less  burdensome, which  local governments  can handle  without                                                            
much trouble.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POSHARD   added  that  it  is   difficult  to  determine   what                                                            
difficulties   municipalities   would   be  willing   to  take   on.                                                            
Municipalities  that already  have projects in  the CTP, in  this or                                                            
the  next fiscal  year,  would  likely  not take  advantage  of  the                                                            
program  because their  project is  already scheduled  for  funding.                                                            
Municipalities  that have projects further down the  list might want                                                            
to participate,  trying  to move  their  project up.   In  addition,                                                            
there are only  a handful of municipalities that have  the financial                                                            
ability to match federal funds.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked if  the $20  million would  be coming from  the                                                            
Community Transportation Program (CTP).                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2070                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM replied  yes,  this type  of  project is  in  community                                                            
transportation  or  Trails  and  Recreational  Access  for  Alaskans                                                            
(TRAAK) program.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked how large the CTP program is now.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said it is about $120 million.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked what  SB 59 does that  DOTPF does not  now have                                                            
the capability of doing, or is it just the magnitude of money.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said  that now under the CTP program,  if a municipality                                                            
puts up a local match,  additional points are added for a project in                                                            
the scoring  and ranking  system,  allowing the  project to move  up                                                            
higher in  the funding  process.   SB 59 requires  a local match  to                                                            
participate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON  said  SB  59  creates  a program  that  only  a  few                                                            
municipalities  could take  advantage of, allowing  them to  move up                                                            
the STIP, causing other municipalities to drop down in the STIP.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said this is  accurate.  SB 59 also takes a piece of the                                                            
community transportation  program and says a certain amount of money                                                            
has  to go  to local  government  for administration   of their  own                                                            
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON said before  moving SB  59 he would  like to  know if                                                            
Juneau has the  ability to move up the STIP process  thereby forcing                                                            
other communities  down.   He sees this as  a real problem  - giving                                                            
large communities the ability to push smaller communities down.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2182                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD asked if DOTPF's  new regulations would accomplish what                                                            
the sponsor of SB 59 is trying to accomplish.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said  the new regulations would not accomplish  the same                                                            
thing.  The  regulations would take  the existing system  and put it                                                            
into regulation.   This is  something a number  of legislators  have                                                            
wanted.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD   said  the  sponsor   is  also  concerned   with  how                                                            
municipalities  would  get on  the list  and stay  on without  being                                                            
passed over.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said projects that score  with middle or low  scores do                                                            
not move up very  fast or they stay where they are.   Higher scoring                                                            
projects are built.   New projects that score well  go in line ahead                                                            
of other projects.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD  asked if  there  had  ever been  a  discussion  about                                                            
creating a road commission that would be independent of DOTPF.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said  a bill was introduced three or four  years ago but                                                            
it did  not move forward  because it created  more problems  than it                                                            
would have solved.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2289                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said there  are states that use commissions to run their                                                            
programs  and this works  fine.   A commissioner,  director,  or CEO                                                            
runs other state programs and this also works well.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2340                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if DOTPF had a position on SB 59.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said DOTPF is concerned about how it would function.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked who does the ranking in the STIP process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM replied there  are three regional directors - Southeast,                                                            
Southcentral    and   Northern,   Mr.   Boyd   Brownfield,    Deputy                                                            
Commissioner,  DOTPF, Mr. Brigham,  Director, Division of  Statewide                                                            
Planning,  DOTPF  and Mr.  Michael Downing,  Director,  Division  of                                                            
Statewide Design and Engineering Services, DOTPF.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SIDE B                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked what is done  with excess funds and  who makes                                                            
the decision where a project is placed on the STIP.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2288                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  noted the gross amount  of money, over the course  of a                                                            
year  that   is  created  by  projects   coming  in  under   bid  is                                                            
"deobligated"  from one project to another.  The number  is exceeded                                                            
by the total amount  of projects that come in over-bid  and projects                                                            
whose  estimates  change in  the STIP.    Mr. Brigham  said  DOTPF's                                                            
"overages consistently exceed our underages."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD  said  DOTPF has a  problem with  underestimations,  not                                                            
over-estimations.    When bids  come in  higher than  projects  were                                                            
estimated DOTPF has to  ask for additional legislative authority, or                                                            
the project  has  to be put  further down  the STIP.   DOTPF  cannot                                                            
spend money on  anything it does not have legislative  authority on.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2090                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked if DOTPF had a fiscal note for SB 59.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD  noted  that DOTPF  is in  the process  of developing  a                                                            
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  referred back to a  statement that Mr. Poshard  made                                                            
in reference to SB 79 concerning  cuts in DOTPF's maintenance budget                                                            
over the  last seven  years.   He referred  to a  chart that  showed                                                            
DOTPF's maintenance  budget had not been cut as much  as Mr. Poshard                                                            
had indicated.   He asked Mr. Poshard  to look at that and  get back                                                            
to the committee on the discrepancy.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD said he does  not believe that "maintenance hasn't been                                                            
cut to the bone, it's not being done properly."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked what  the design  problem  was  on the  Third                                                            
Avenue bypass in Ketchikan.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAN  said a portion  of the Third  Avenue route was  in very                                                            
steep  terrain.   This area  was intended  to be  bulwarked with  an                                                            
earth retaining  wall but it was determined  that this would  not be                                                            
successful,  from an engineering standpoint,  and that a  bridge was                                                            
needed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1877                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD  said  it  was  amazing   that  a  designer  would  be                                                            
instructed  to design a structure  for an airport in Alaska  without                                                            
taking  into  consideration   that  there  might  be  an  earthquake                                                            
someday.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM   said  the   bypass  retaining   wall  design   was  a                                                            
professional  embarrassment  but in  the case  of  the airport,  the                                                            
contract  engineer  did take  into account  seismic  concerns.   The                                                            
issue  was simply  an  argument  between  the municipalities  as  to                                                            
whether the extent  to which those concerns were taken  into account                                                            
was adequate.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1815                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD said  the municipality felt the state  was incompetent.                                                            
He asked Mr.  Brigham to speak with  the municipality on  this issue                                                            
and get back to the committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY said  it was  his understanding  the municipality                                                             
felt it was getting closer to a solution.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY said  SB 59  would be  held in  committee until  a                                                            
fiscal note was furnished.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1725                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
             SB 88-METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS, sponsor of SB 88, said SB  88 just adds two                                                            
voting members  to the  Anchorage Metropolitan  Area Transportation                                                             
Study (AMATS).   One  of the new  members would  be a member  of the                                                            
senate who resides  in Anchorage and the other would  be a member of                                                            
the house of representatives who also resides in Anchorage.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  said there  was  a two-tier  step  for the  AMATS                                                            
process.   AMATS  consists of  a policy  committee  and a  technical                                                            
committee.   The technical  committee goes  to the community,  takes                                                            
input,  and then  makes  recommendations  to the  policy  committee.                                                            
There are  five members on  the policy committee.   Two members  are                                                            
appointed  by  the  governor  -  commissioner  or  designee  of  the                                                            
Department  of Environmental Conservation  (DEC), and designee  from                                                            
the Department  of  Transportation  and Public  Facilities  (DOTPF),                                                            
there are two  elected officials who  are assembly members,  and the                                                            
Anchorage mayor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  said the legislature  was expected to put  five to                                                            
ten percent  of  the monies  into AMATS  without any  say about  the                                                            
process.  He  said it was frustrating  to have a project  make it up                                                            
the AMATS process  and the next year see the project  go back to the                                                            
bottom.   Senator  Phillips felt  that having  elected officials  on                                                            
AMATS would give the legislature  some say in how the priorities are                                                            
set and how the money is spent.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1545                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON said it may  be easier for people to "grab the sleeves                                                            
of their local  government person rather than to grab  the sleeve of                                                            
a state legislator."   He said it also seems that  a system is being                                                            
created  whereby a legislator  from  the house and  from the  senate                                                            
have "two bites  at the apple."  They have the legislative  bite and                                                            
then they have the local government bite.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1443                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  said the legislature  does approve AMATS  projects                                                            
but it has  no say in the priorities.   AMATS is a federal  program,                                                            
through regulation,  that was set  up between the state and  federal                                                            
government,  but legislators are the  ones who get beat up  by their                                                            
constituents if a project  is not there.  The AMATS policy committee                                                            
prioritizes the projects without accountability.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1321                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON said this  was not a unique problem, other legislators                                                            
have  the  same  frustration   with  the  Statewide  Transportation                                                             
Improvement    Program   (STIP).      He   said   the   fundamental                                                             
misunderstanding might  be that the pressure Senator Phillips has to                                                            
not  make  changes  is coming  from  the  municipality  -  the  only                                                            
constraint  is that he might  not want to  go against the wishes  of                                                            
the municipality, although he has every right to do so.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PHILLIPS  said  wishes  could  be  conveyed  to  the  AMATS                                                            
committee but that does not mean they would be heard.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  said this  is also the case  with anything that  goes                                                            
before the finance committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  said he  would agree if  the legislature  were not                                                            
paying anything  into AMATS.   He said a park  and ride program  was                                                            
installed  next to the  landfill at  Eagle River.   No one from  his                                                            
community  requested this  program and  yet it  passed over  another                                                            
project that had been requested.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON  commented  that  the argument  being  used  to  have                                                            
legislative  representation  on  spending  could  also be  used  for                                                            
municipal  assistance   revenue  sharing  or  safe  community.    He                                                            
wondered why this would be different than other problems.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said no one else in the state has this problem.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON said other  communities felt the same frustration with                                                            
the STIP.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1156                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  said he applauds Senator Phillips  for trying to get                                                            
some rationality back into the process.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN COWDERY  asked if there had  been any thought of  replacing                                                            
the two non-elected members.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  said the two state  members could not be  replaced                                                            
because  of federal regulation.   He  said he liked  the make  up of                                                            
AMATS but believed it needs legislative representation.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 900                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DENNIS  POSHARD,   Department  Of  Transportation   and  Public                                                            
Facilities (DOTPF), noted  that DOTPF and the Anchorage municipality                                                            
realize  there  is  a high  sense  of  frustration  with  the  AMATS                                                            
planning   process,   and  DOTPF   understands   Senator   Phillips'                                                            
frustration.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said the Anchorage  municipality sought a grant from the                                                            
federal  government  specifically  for  the  purposes  of  reviewing                                                            
transportation  planning  in  the Anchorage  area  and recommending                                                             
changes to the  AMATS public and planning process.   Mr. Poshard had                                                            
just  received  a draft  of  this study  and  that the  study  would                                                            
recommend ways to change the AMATS process.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD commented that  it is by design that the legislature not                                                            
have  much say  on AMATS'  projects.   When the  Intermodal  Surface                                                            
Transportation  Efficiency  Act (ISTEA)  formed  municipal  planning                                                            
organizations  it was a negotiated  position on how to divvy  up the                                                            
federal funding.  Because  the federal government did not want to be                                                            
involved with  this process, it came up with the Municipal  Planning                                                            
Organization (MPO).   The MPO would be responsible  for planning and                                                            
devising a  process on how to spend  federal transportation  dollars                                                            
within a municipality.   The funds would still have  to flow through                                                            
the state for  programming in the  STIP, but there would  be control                                                            
on how the  funds were spent.   This is  why the legislature  is not                                                            
heavily  involved but  there  is nothing  preventing  it from  being                                                            
involved.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POCHARD  said in the past, staff  has dealt with changes  in the                                                            
program and this has been  cause for frustration.  New rules require                                                            
that changes  now go before  either the technical  committee  or the                                                            
policy committee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD  said the administration  does not support SB  88 mainly                                                            
because it feels this is  a local issue and should be solved at that                                                            
level.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 584                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD said  tax  dollars are  being  taken out  of  peoples'                                                            
pockets to  fund projects that are  not following a public  process.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 168                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON  asked if  the  study had  recommended  changing  the                                                            
membership of the AMATS board.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD  said he had  not had time to  read the study  in detail                                                            
but  it  did  not  appear  to  have  a  recommendation   for  adding                                                            
legislators.   The study  was focused on  communication efforts  and                                                            
the public and planning processes of AMATS.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON   said  SB  88  is  the  second  iteration   of  this                                                            
legislation,  and in the  past the municipality  has opposed  adding                                                            
legislators.  Senator Elton  asked if the new assembly and new mayor                                                            
had been asked for their position on this.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POSHARD   said   he  has   heard  nothing   from  the   current                                                            
administration or the current assembly.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-5, Side A                                                                                                             
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked how much money is allocated to AMATS.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM said  about $30 million in the Community  Transportation                                                            
Program  (CTP)  and about  $6  million in  Trails  and Recreational                                                             
Access for Alaskans (TRAAK).                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  said that means $36 million is allocated  every year                                                            
by the legislature to the Anchorage area.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM  said  that  was correct  in  terms  of  the  community                                                            
transportation and TRAAK  projects.  There are also national highway                                                            
system projects  that go beyond that  amount.  Some years  there are                                                            
no projects and other years there are several.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if  the projects, when completed, belong to the                                                            
state or to Anchorage.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said it  depends on the  road.   There are state  roads                                                            
that  function as  local  roads, but  are state  owned.   There  are                                                            
national  highway system routes,  such as  the Seward Highway,  that                                                            
are state owned,  and there are municipal  roadways - all  three are                                                            
funded by the AMATS process.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  said that Anchorage  gets its local roads  paved and                                                            
rebuilt with federal money and the state pays the match.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM  said that  was  correct, but  this  is also  done  for                                                            
projects outside  of AMATS.  DOTPF  funds approximately $45  million                                                            
of locally  owned streets  and roads  each year.   It also pays  the                                                            
match unless  the local government  has proposed to pay some  of the                                                            
match as a way of getting its project elevated in the process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 248                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  said there are no "local, local"  roads that AMATS                                                            
has taken over.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if part of the  federally allocated  money was                                                            
for mass transit.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said that mass transit  could be funded as part  of the                                                            
service transportation program.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if the AMATS  money comes  from the  community                                                            
transportation program.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM responded yes, both CTP and TRAAK.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  said that  half of the CTP  funds are being  reserved                                                            
for AMATS projects or for very large municipalities.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 782                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said  SB 59  would not  require local  match, it  would                                                            
prioritize,  giving communities an  advantage in the scoring  if the                                                            
local government provided local match.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked if  the prioritization  could take $20  million                                                            
out of the CTP.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIGHAM  said that large municipalities  with the capability  to                                                            
do the engineering  would have an  advantage - Anchorage  could do a                                                            
federal  aid project.   SB 59 would  be a way  for Anchorage  to get                                                            
more of the CTP money.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 850                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAM CUMMINGS, Assistant  Attorney General, Department of Law                                                            
(DOL), noted  that DOL had  two observations  to make concerning  SB                                                            
88.  First,  SB 88 takes AMATS, which  is a municipal organization,                                                             
and turns it  into something more  akin to "Big Brother"  - with the                                                            
state taking  over a local  function.  This  is a policy call  to be                                                            
made, but  it is a profound  thing to do to  a local way of  dealing                                                            
with a  problem.  Second,  there are constitutional  concerns  about                                                            
the appointment  of  legislators to  this board.   There are  strong                                                            
provisions in the constitution  prohibiting dual office holding.  SB                                                            
88 very likely  would violate this provision, which  could result in                                                            
a member  of the legislature,  who took a  seat on the AMATS  board,                                                            
losing his or her seat in the legislature.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CUMMINGS  said  DOL cautions  the legislature  on  SB 88, and  a                                                            
review would certainly  say that these two provisions do violate the                                                            
state constitution.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD said  he would like to obtain a written  legal opinion.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR  moved  SB  88  out  of committee   with  individual                                                            
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  objected and  a roll call vote  was taken.   Senators                                                            
Taylor,  Wilken, Ward  and Chairman  Cowdery voted  "yea."   Senator                                                            
Elton voted  "nay."   The motion carried,  and SB  88 passed  out of                                                            
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY  noted  that there  was  an  error in  HB  79.   A                                                            
typographical  error was  brought to  his attention  so a  committee                                                            
substitute was drafted to correct it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR moved that  the committee rescind its previous action                                                            
in adopting HB 79 and supplement it with SCS HB 79(TRA), Utermohle,                                                             
22-LS0369\F as the new Senate Transportation Committee substitute.                                                              
There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
CHAIRMAN COWDERY adjourned the meeting at 3:27 p.m.                                                                             

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