Legislature(2007 - 2008)BUTROVICH 205

05/01/2007 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= SB 136 MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS
Heard & Held
HB 185 MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS
Heard & Held
* SJR 7 OPPOSE CHANGES IN FED AVIATION LAWS
Heard & Held
HJR 18 OPPOSE FED AVIATION FUEL TAX INCREASE
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                          May 1, 2007                                                                                           
                           1:33 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Albert Kookesh, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 136                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to certain  municipal service areas that provide                                                               
road services."                                                                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 185(CRA)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to certain  municipal service areas that provide                                                               
road services."                                                                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                   
Opposing the enactment  of the provisions in  the Next Generation                                                               
Air  Transportation  System Financing  Reform  Act  of 2007  that                                                               
impose air traffic control user  fees, increase aviation fuel and                                                               
aviation   gas  taxes,   reduce  airport   funding,  and   reduce                                                               
Congressional oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration.                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18(TRA)                                                                                       
Opposing the enactment  of the provisions in  the Next Generation                                                               
Air  Transportation  System Financing  Reform  Act  of 2007  that                                                               
impose air traffic control user  fees, increase aviation fuel and                                                               
aviation   gas  taxes,   reduce  airport   funding,  and   reduce                                                               
Congressional oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration.                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 136                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THOMAS                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
03/23/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/23/07       (S)       CRA, TRA                                                                                               
04/05/07       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/05/07       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/10/07       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/10/07       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/13/07       (S)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
04/13/07       (S)       CRA, TRA                                                                                               
04/17/07       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/17/07       (S)       Moved SSSB 136 Out of Committee                                                                        
04/17/07       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/18/07       (S)       CRA RPT   3DP 1NR                                                                                      
04/18/07       (S)       DP: OLSON, THOMAS, WAGONER                                                                             
04/18/07       (S)       NR: KOOKESH                                                                                            
04/24/07       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/24/07       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/24/07       (S)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
05/01/07       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 185                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) COGHILL                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/12/07       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/12/07       (H)       CRA, TRA                                                                                               
03/22/07       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/22/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/22/07       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
03/27/07       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/27/07       (H)       Moved CSHB 185(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/27/07       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
03/28/07       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) 2DP 4NR                                                                                
03/28/07       (H)       DP: DAHLSTROM, FAIRCLOUGH                                                                              
03/28/07       (H)       NR: NEUMAN, OLSON, SALMON, LEDOUX                                                                      
04/12/07       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/12/07       (H)       Moved CSHB 185(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/12/07       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/13/07       (H)       TRA RPT CS(CRA) 2DP 2NR                                                                                
04/13/07       (H)       DP: FAIRCLOUGH, JOHANSEN                                                                               
04/13/07       (H)       NR: DOOGAN, NEUMAN                                                                                     
04/24/07       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/24/07       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 185(CRA)                                                                                 
04/25/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/25/07       (S)       TRA                                                                                                    
05/01/07       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR  7                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSE CHANGES IN FED AVIATION LAWS                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) OLSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
04/25/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/25/07       (S)       TRA                                                                                                    
05/01/07       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 18                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSE FED AVIATION FUEL TAX INCREASE                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOHANSEN                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
04/05/07       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/05/07       (H)       TRA                                                                                                    
04/12/07       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/12/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/12/07       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/19/07       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/19/07       (H)       Moved CSHJR 18(TRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/19/07       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/20/07       (H)       TRA RPT CS(TRA) NT 5DP                                                                                 
04/20/07       (H)       DP:    FAIRCLOUGH,    DOOGAN,    NEUMAN,                                                               
                         KOHRING, JOHANSEN                                                                                      
04/24/07       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/24/07       (H)       VERSION: CSHJR 18(TRA)                                                                                 
04/25/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/25/07       (S)       TRA                                                                                                    
05/01/07       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
Grier Hopkins, staff to Senator Thomas                                                                                          
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 136.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Carol Beecher, staff to Representative Coghill                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 185.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Sandra Wilson, representing herself                                                                                             
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 185.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Renee Broker, attorney                                                                                                          
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Available for questions on HB 185.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Tammy Wilson, representing herself                                                                                              
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 185.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ginny Austerman, staff to Senator Olson                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SJR 7 and commented on HJR 18.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Sonia Christiansen, staff to Representative Johansen                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HJR 18.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Andrew Cebula, Executive Vice-President of Government Affairs                                                                   
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association                                                                                          
Washington, DC                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported of HJR 18                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Tom George, Alaska representative                                                                                               
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association                                                                                          
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported of HJR 18.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Wilfred Ryan, president                                                                                                         
Alaska Air Carriers Association                                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported of HJR 18                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DEE HANSON, Executive Director                                                                                                  
Alaska Airmen's Association                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 18.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ALBERT  KOOKESH called  the Senate  Transportation Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 1:33:17  PM. Present at the call to                                                             
order  were  Senators  Cowdery, Olson,  Wielechowski,  and  Chair                                                               
Kookesh.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
              SB 136-MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                           
           CSHB 185(CRA)-MUNICIPAL ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH announced the consideration of SB 136.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GRIER HOPKINS, staff  to Senator Thomas, sponsor of  SB 136, said                                                               
that the bill  would be substituted by its partner  bill from the                                                               
other body, HB 185.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KOOKESH   asked  if  a   committee  substitute   would  be                                                               
introduced to combine the two bills.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOPKINS said that he hadn't heard so.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH  announced the committee  would hear SB 136  and HB
185 simultaneously. He didn't intend to move either today.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY commented  that  the House  bill  would be  more                                                               
appropriately dealt with.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH agreed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL  BEECHER, staff  to Representative  Coghill, sponsor  of HB
185, said  the bill  provides boroughs with  a means  of altering                                                               
existing  road   service  area  boundaries  to   ensure  taxpayer                                                               
fairness among  residents of service  areas. A service area  is a                                                               
taxing jurisdiction  within a borough  that has  been established                                                               
to  provide special  services such  as road  maintenance or  fire                                                               
protection. These  services are requested and  approved by voters                                                               
residing  within  a  specific area.  State  law  permits  borough                                                               
residents  living outside  a  service area  to  use service  area                                                               
roads for their sole or  legally required access. These residents                                                               
derive a  direct benefit  equal to  residents within  the service                                                               
area,  yet  they  can  refuse  to  contribute  to  the  costs  of                                                               
construction or  maintenance of  these roads  by voting  down any                                                               
annexation  attempt.   These  state  mandated   annexation  votes                                                               
typically fail  as individuals  are reluctant  to join  a service                                                               
area when they  can instead use these maintained  roads for free.                                                               
HB  185 amends  state law  by allowing  a service  area to  annex                                                               
property that uses  its roads for their sole  or legally required                                                               
access without a  separate vote of the property to  be annexed. A                                                               
second  issue  arises  where  residents of  a  service  area  are                                                               
required  to pay  into a  service area  even though  they do  not                                                               
utilize  the service  area roads  for access  to their  property.                                                               
Service areas,  however, are  often reluctant  to vote  to remove                                                               
property  from the  service area  because  it effectively  raises                                                               
taxes on the  remaining property owners. HB 185  amends state law                                                               
by  allowing  a borough  assembly  to  exercise its  judgment  to                                                               
alter,  by  ordinance,  a  service area  boundary  to  exclude  a                                                               
property that  does not  use service  area roads  as its  sole or                                                               
legally required access.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:37:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if  the last paragraph  of the  bill means                                                               
that the borough can make a ruling on the issue.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. BEECHER replied  yes, and referenced a part of  the bill that                                                               
will allow a  property owner not using the service  area roads to                                                               
be removed from the  area so as to not pay  for a service they're                                                               
not using.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  replied that  the issue seems  to be  creating a                                                               
statewide law to address a local problem.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BEECHER   replied  that   Anchorage  has   reported  similar                                                               
problems.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:38:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON asked  if other  areas  of the  state were  having                                                               
similar problems with the service areas.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. BEECHER  replied that other  districts were having  issues of                                                               
the same sort.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON asked  for the  bill's effect  on commercial  road                                                               
users.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:39:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BEECHER  said that  if a  property is  not using  the service                                                               
area as  a sole or  legally required access, they  could petition                                                               
to be removed from the area.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH asked if there is any opposition to the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BEECHER  replied that there  was someone in the  audience who                                                               
wanted to testify.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:40:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SANDRA  WILSON,  representing  herself,  said that  the  bill  is                                                               
unfair; it  bases the amount  people pay for their  road services                                                               
on  the  worth  of  their   houses.  The  bill  was  written  for                                                               
Fairbanks,  and it's  not a  solution for  issues statewide.  She                                                               
gave  several  examples  of  ways  the  borough  might  abuse  or                                                               
improperly use the bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:42:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked for clarification  of a point made  by Ms.                                                               
Wilson.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON replied  that tax amounts should be set,  not based on                                                               
house worth.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked for her thoughts on vacant lots.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  said that currently  the tax  is based on  mill rates                                                               
for property value.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY said  that the public uses the  road whether they                                                               
live there or not.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON replied that was correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:43:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if  Ms. Wilson  was questioning  the                                                               
fairness of tax payments, and  said that the bill doesn't address                                                               
that issue.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON agreed, but said that  the bill doesn't make the issue                                                               
any fairer.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said that there  may be certain people using                                                               
an area without paying for it, and they should do so.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON said  that everyone  in the  district should  pay the                                                               
same amount.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said that the  bill has nothing to  do with                                                               
that  issue, and  clarified  that he  was  talking about  whether                                                               
people should pay or not.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:44:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON said  that  if  there's only  one  driver then  it                                                               
doesn't matter how many cars they own.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON explained that taxes  should depend on how many people                                                               
in a home drive.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON  said  that  that  logic  isn't  common  regarding                                                               
property taxes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON  said that  a  gallon  of  milk  costs the  same  for                                                               
everyone.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON replied that the logic isn't the same.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON   replied  that  all  boroughs   determine  taxes  in                                                               
different  ways, and  the bill  isn't  a solution  for the  whole                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:46:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked which  districts the bill doesn't work                                                               
for.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON replied  that a gentleman from Kenai  who testified in                                                               
a previous  meeting pointed  out how  it would  not work  for his                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  that in  his understanding  it worked                                                               
fine.  He asked if there's a  way the city of Fairbanks could fix                                                               
the issue without changing the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON said that the issue needs to be addressed locally.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how that could be done.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON replied that a local ordinance could be used.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  pointed out that  the issue is  governed by                                                               
state law.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON  said  that  road service  methods  change  for  each                                                               
borough.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  that   a  local  solution  would  be                                                               
preferable,  but it  appears that  state law  does not  allow for                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  said that  state  law  was  in place  when  the                                                               
original areas  were annexed. He  added that he  sympathizes with                                                               
the Fairbanks people, and the issue is local.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON asked for clarification on the issue.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:49:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI repeated  that  a local  solution would  be                                                               
ideal, but he's not convinced there is one available.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KOOKESH said  that  there was  a  representative from  the                                                               
Fairbanks North Star borough available for questions.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RENEE  BROKER, attorney  for the  Fairbanks  North Star  borough,                                                               
clarified that the  bill imposes a fair  standard making property                                                               
owners eligible for movement into or  out of a service area based                                                               
on road  use. The  bill is fully  supported by  Fairbanks service                                                               
areas because  a property  should belong to  the service  area in                                                               
which the  owner drives. The legislation  restores constitutional                                                               
rights for  altering service boundaries  logically, and  the bill                                                               
is following  state law.  The amount of  tax paid  for different-                                                               
sized families  is not an issue  that can be fixed  in this bill.                                                               
The  borough worked  with the  municipality of  Anchorage on  the                                                               
bill because  of similar  problems in that  area. The  problem is                                                               
not only urban.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:54:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said that there  had been testimony that the                                                               
issue should be resolved at a  local level, and asked if that was                                                               
possible.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BROKER  replied that  it  absolutely  is  not, and  gave  an                                                               
example of why.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:55:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked  if road service areas  were changed within                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. BROKER replied that was correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:55:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY WILSON, representing herself, said  that the issue could be                                                               
taken care  of locally; when  subdivisions are created  they have                                                               
to be  stringently planned. Before they're  approved, they should                                                               
be dealt  with in terms  of road  service areas. The  issue isn't                                                               
one that  should be solved  in hindsight. She explained  that she                                                               
lives on a  private road in Fairbanks that's  not maintained, yet                                                               
the  city  wants  to  put  her into  a  road  service  area;  she                                                               
explained the process she went through  to try to not become part                                                               
of a service  area, and how she should not  have been included in                                                               
the road service area.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She added that most of the  examples of affected areas were small                                                               
groups  of houses;  she has  heard  that a  lot of  the issue  is                                                               
because  gravel pits  are springing  up behind  subdivisions. She                                                               
suggested  adding a  simple definition  of private  versus public                                                               
road to the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said that he finally  understood the issue,                                                               
and asked how the private road maintenance was funded.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON  replied that  they  collect  money door-to-door  and                                                               
maintain the road themselves.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  that he  understood her  concern, and                                                               
asked for clarification on the effects of the bill on her road.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON replied  the bill shows that the  borough doesn't even                                                               
understand  what  they should  and  should  not include  in  road                                                               
service areas.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:02:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  that  it seems  that individual  road                                                               
maintenance fees would  go down if more people lived  on the road                                                               
and paid the same amount of taxes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  replied that everyone  pays the same amount  for road                                                               
maintenance. She added that the other  point of the issue is that                                                               
there's no distinction  between a private and public  road in the                                                               
bill or anywhere in state law.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:04:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED MAHONEY,  representing himself,  said that  he heard  that his                                                               
language of  concern was taken out  of the bill, and  if that was                                                               
the case he had no further problem  with the bill. If it was not,                                                               
he would maintain his opposition.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH  said that  the committee would  hold HB  185 [CSHB
185(CRA)] and SB 136.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
           SJR  7-OPPOSE CHANGES IN FED AVIATION LAWS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH announced SJR 7 to be under consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  made a  motion to  adopt the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  to SJR  7,  labeled 25-LS0887\E,  Version  E, as  the                                                               
working document  of the  committee.   There being  no objection,                                                               
the motion carried.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
GINNY AUSTERMAN, staff  to Senator Olson, sponsor of  SJR 7, said                                                               
that  it is  in effect  the same  bill as  HJR 18.  Senator Olson                                                               
supports that bill and would like it to move forward.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if she  would  prefer to  move the  House                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. AUSTERMAN replied yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SJR 7 was held in committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          HJR 18 OPPOSE FED AVIATION FUEL TAX INCREASE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KOOKESH  announced the  consideration  of  HJR 18.  [CSHJR
18(TRA) was before the committee.]                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:08:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SONIA CHRISTENSEN,  staff to Representative Johansen,  sponsor of                                                               
HJR  18,  said  that  the  resolution is  in  opposition  to  the                                                               
provisions in  the Federal  Aviation Administration  (FAA)'s Next                                                               
Generation Transportation System Reform Act.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:08:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY moved  to adopt  the  proposed Senate  committee                                                               
substitute  to  HJR  8,  labeled   25-LS0830\L,  as  the  working                                                               
document of the  committee.  There being no  objection, version L                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHRISTIANSEN repeated  her  statement  regarding the  bill's                                                               
opposition  to  the  FAA Next  Generation  Transportation  System                                                               
Reform  Act.  Because of  Alaska's  geography  the state  depends                                                               
uniquely  and heavily  on  aviation for  transport  of goods  and                                                               
people. The  proposed legislation  will make  this all  much more                                                               
expensive;  the  FAA should  not  have  the proposed  power  over                                                               
Alaska's airports.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:10:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY   commented  that  the  first   version  of  the                                                               
resolution related to jet airplanes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHRISTIANSEN  explained that the changes  were recommended by                                                               
Senator Olson's office.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:11:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GINNY  AUSTERMAN, staff  to Senator  Olson, sponsor  of companion                                                               
bill SJR 7, explained that  Senator Olson's office requested that                                                               
propeller-driven and rotor-equipped aircraft  be specified in the                                                               
resolution.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  if jet-driven  aircraft  are  being                                                               
excluded from the resolution.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. AUSTERMAN  replied that jet-driven aircraft  are specifically                                                               
included in the federal legislation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  if  there is  a  reason  jet-driven                                                               
aircraft are being excluded.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. AUSTERMAN said that she couldn't answer.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOOKESH said that there were testifiers available.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:12:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEE   HANSON,  Executive   Director   of   the  Alaska   Airman's                                                               
Association, said that the association  is opposed to the federal                                                               
act,  and explained  why airplanes  are so  vital to  Alaskans in                                                               
terms of everyday  life. The proposed federal act  will mean that                                                               
flying will become  too expensive for many people who  rely on it                                                               
and will negatively affect flying-related businesses.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked if Ms.  Hanson had the committee substitute                                                               
before her.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She replied that she didn't.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY   said  that  the  sponsor   could  explain  the                                                               
differences.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:16:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHRISTIANSEN  said  that  the   CS  adds  specific  language                                                               
addressing the types of planes affected.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANSON said that no increase in  fuel tax is a good thing for                                                               
Alaska, no matter the sort of plane.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:18:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDREW  CEBULA, Executive  Vice-President  of Government  Affairs                                                               
for the Aircraft Owners and  Pilots Association (AOPA), said that                                                               
the association urges the passage  of the resolution; the federal                                                               
proposal is not  good for the state of Alaska  and its pilots and                                                               
it will be  expensive and will reduce state  control of airports.                                                               
He added that  the user fees for the current  aviation system are                                                               
sufficient for covering its costs.  Currently one doesn't have to                                                               
pay  a fee  to  fly; the  FAA  wants to  assess  fees simply  for                                                               
flying. It will  put congress in a reduced  position of authority                                                               
over FAA  expenditures. He mentioned  that the federal  bill will                                                               
cut airport spending  by a million dollars,  and Alaskan airports                                                               
shouldn't have  to compete with  airports across the  country for                                                               
funding. He  commented that Alaska Representative  Don Young does                                                               
not support the federal act either.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN  asked if  Mr.  Cebula  is  not against  the  FAA                                                               
initiative, but simply the way it is funded.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CEBULA replied that he is only  opposed to the way the act is                                                               
funded.  The  association has  worked  closely  with testing  the                                                               
Capstone   aviation  program   in  Alaska.   The  Department   of                                                               
Transportation  inspector   general's  office  agrees   that  the                                                               
improvements  needed for  the FAA  system can  be done  using the                                                               
existing tax structure.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked  how the money for  needed aviation programs                                                               
will be provided if the increases are not approved.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CEBULA  replied that  the existing system  of fuel  taxes can                                                               
provide the needed revenue for such projects.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked if existing  taxes could simply be increased                                                               
rather than looking for new donors.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CEBULA replied  that the existing rates  would provide needed                                                               
revenue, and explained where current aviation taxes come from.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:25:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN  commented  that Senator  Stevens  supported  the                                                               
Capstone program which  has been successful in  Alaska, and asked                                                               
if  Alaska is  being  selfish  in not  wanting  to pay  increased                                                               
taxes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CEBULA  replied that  Alaska  has  been  a great  leader  in                                                               
improving technology,  and said that  the state has  been willing                                                               
to  help  rather  than  selfish. Alaska  has  a  unique  aviation                                                               
system, and  by passing the  resolution the state is  saying that                                                               
it has concerns that would be echoed by a lot of other states.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN said  that the  state  has benefited  a lot  from                                                               
federal money,  and that may put  it in a bind  regarding refusal                                                               
to increase taxes.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:27:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM  GEORGE, Alaska  representative  to the  Aircraft Owners  and                                                               
Pilots  Association, said  that  the  issue is  not  a matter  of                                                               
Alaskans not wanting to pay;  it's just that they're taking issue                                                               
with the new  process.  He explained how fees  would change after                                                               
the  act   if  it  were   passed,  and  how  they   could  expand                                                               
significantly.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  added  that the  Capstone  program  was important  to  Alaska                                                               
because the  state has a  higher accident  rate than the  rest of                                                               
the country,  but service charges  shouldn't be increased  at the                                                               
expense  of  aviation   safety.  Part  of  the   federal  act  is                                                               
establishing  a  board,  and   that  would  reduce  congressional                                                               
oversight. He asked that the committee support the resolution.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILFRED RYAN,  president of the Alaska  Air Carriers Association,                                                               
said that the  users of the Alaskan air system  already pay their                                                               
fair share of  fees; the fuel tax doesn't  benefit small carriers                                                               
like those  in Alaska.  The association  opposes the  elements of                                                               
the federal act.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY said that he would like to hold HJR 18.                                                                         
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Kookesh adjourned the meeting at 2:34:56 PM.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects