Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/03/2022 01:30 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:35:46 PM Start
01:36:13 PM SB203
01:58:48 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 203 PURPLE HEART TRAIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 203 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 212 NAMING THE INSOOK BAIK BRIDGE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                         March 3, 2022                                                                                          
                           1:35 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Robert Myers, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mike Shower, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 203                                                                                                             
"An Act  designating portions  of the  Parks, Glenn,  Seward, and                                                               
Sterling Highways  as a  part of the  State's Purple  Heart Trail                                                               
and  relating  to  signage and  informational  displays  for  the                                                               
trail."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 203 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 203                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PURPLE HEART TRAIL                                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REVAK                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/22/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/22       (S)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
03/03/22       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOSH REVAK                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 203.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
EMMA TORKELSON, Staff                                                                                                           
Senator Josh Revak                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the sectional analysis  for SB 203                                                             
on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOHN KNOTT, Commander                                                                                                           
Military Order of the Purple Heart, Alaska Chapter                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Invited  testifier  spoke in  support of  SB
203.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ANDY MILLS, Special Assistant to the Commissioner                                                                               
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 203.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BENNO HARRY CLEVELAND, Past Commander                                                                                           
Military Order of the Purple Heart, Alaska Chapter                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 203.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ROBERT MYERS  called  the  Senate Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:35  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Kiehl, Shower, and Chair Myers.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                   SB 203-PURPLE HEART TRAIL                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 203                                                               
"An Act  designating portions  of the  Parks, Glenn,  Seward, and                                                               
Sterling Highways  as a  part of the  State's Purple  Heart Trail                                                               
and  relating  to  signage and  informational  displays  for  the                                                               
trail."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:36:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  JOSH REVAK,  Alaska State  Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
sponsor of SB 203, paraphrased the sponsor statement.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
       The Purple Heart medal is a United States military                                                                       
       decoration awarded in the name of the President to                                                                       
     those who  have been  wounded or  killed in  service to                                                                    
     their country.  Since 2008,  the Alaska  and Richardson                                                                    
     Highways  from the  Alaska-Canada  Border to  Fairbanks                                                                    
     have been  designated the Purple  Heart Trail  in honor                                                                    
     and recognition of the sacrifices  of these service men                                                                    
     and women. SB  203 seeks to complete what  was begun in                                                                    
     2008 by  extending the  Purple Heart  Trail so  that it                                                                    
     will run continuously from  the Alaska-Canada Border to                                                                    
     the End of the Road in Homer.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The  Purple  Heart  Trail  is  a  national  project  to                                                                    
     designate portions of the  interstate highway system as                                                                    
     "The  Purple Heart  Trail System,"  reminding Americans                                                                    
     of the  sacrifices made by their  country-men and women                                                                    
     in  uniform.  The  original   Purple  Heart  Trail  was                                                                    
     established in 1992 in the  Commonwealth of Virginia at                                                                    
     Mr.  Vernon  and  runs  the   length  of  the  Virginia                                                                    
     Highway. Today,  Purple Heart Trails extend  across the                                                                    
     nation,  including  from  the Alaska-Canada  Border  to                                                                    
     Fairbanks.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Signage drawing attention to  the designation is placed                                                                    
     at   appropriate  intervals   along  the   highways  to                                                                    
     stimulate  thought  and  discussion  among  adults  and                                                                    
     children  alike about  the history  of  our nation  and                                                                    
     those who have made significant sacrifices for it.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska's has  a strong  military tradition; we  have an                                                                    
     estimated   65,000  resident   veterans,  approximately                                                                    
     21,000  active-duty military,  and  more residents  who                                                                    
     serve in  the National  Guard. Throughout  our history,                                                                    
     many returning Alaskan soldiers  have been honored with                                                                    
     the  Purple  Heart Medal  and  the  Purple Heart  Trail                                                                    
     designation serves as  a reminder to each  of them that                                                                    
     Alaska is grateful for their service.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill 203  will extend  the  Purple Heart  Trail                                                                    
     highway  designation by  ~662 miles  from Fairbanks  to                                                                    
     the End of the Road in  Homer. Doing so will complete a                                                                    
     continuous 900 mile stretch of  Purple Heart Trail from                                                                    
     the Alaska-Canada  Border to  the End  of the  Road and                                                                    
     connect  the   Purple  Heart  Cities  of   North  Pole,                                                                    
     Fairbanks,  Wasilla, Soldotna,  and Homer.  SB 203  and                                                                    
     the  extension  of the  Purple  Heart  Trail in  Alaska                                                                    
     serve   as  a   tangible   demonstration  of   Alaska's                                                                    
     appreciation  for the  sacrifices made  by our  wounded                                                                    
     and  fallen soldiers  and a  reminder  to visitors  and                                                                    
      residents alike of those who have paid the price for                                                                      
     our freedom.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:36:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REVAK summarized  that SB  203 would  extend the  Purple                                                               
Heart Trail from Fairbanks to  Homer, which will run continuously                                                               
from  the Alaska-Canada  border to  Homer. It  will connect  five                                                               
Purple Heart  cities in Alaska, including  North Pole, Fairbanks,                                                               
Wasilla, Soldotna,  and Homer. He  highlighted that Alaska  has a                                                               
robust  military presence  with  the highest  per  capita in  the                                                               
nation. This  bill reflects  the service  and sacrifices  made by                                                               
those who were awarded the Purple  Heart. The Purple Heart is the                                                               
oldest  military decoration.  General  George Washington  awarded                                                               
the  Purple   Heart  to  soldiers   as  the  first   US  military                                                               
decoration.  He  highlighted  that  signage would  be  posted  at                                                               
intervals to  stimulate thought and  discussion among  adults and                                                               
children  about our  nation's  history and  those  who have  made                                                               
significant sacrifices for it.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:38:52 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMA  TORKELSON,   Staff,  Senator   Josh  Revak,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, paraphrased the  sectional analysis                                                               
for SB 203.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:39:01 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 1. Amends AS 35.40.210(a)  to extend the Purple                                                                    
     Heart Trail  designation to include  the ~590  miles of                                                                    
     highway  from  Fairbanks to  the  End  of the  Road  in                                                                    
     Homer.  With this  extension,  the  Purple Heart  Trail                                                                    
     will, in its entirety, be made up of:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
        • the Alaska Highway from the Alaska-Canada Border                                                                      
          to Delta Junction - existing                                                                                          
        • the Richardson Highway between Delta Junction and                                                                     
          Fairbanks - existing                                                                                                  
        • the George Parks Highway between Fairbanks and                                                                        
          Wasilla - new                                                                                                         
        • the Glenn Highway between Wasilla and Anchorage -                                                                     
          new                                                                                                                   
        • the Seward Highway between Anchorage and the                                                                          
          Seward-Sterling highway junction - new                                                                                
       • the Sterling Highway to its termination at the                                                                         
        • end of the Homer Spit - new                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:39:17 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section  2.  Amends  AS  35.40.210(b)  to  require  the                                                                  
     Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities                                                                    
     erect appropriate  "Purple Heart Trail" signage  at the                                                                    
     Veterans  Memorial at  Byers Lake,  Wasilla, Anchorage,                                                                    
     the  junction  of  the Seward  and  Sterling  highways,                                                                    
     Soldotna, and Homer.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Removes  the  existing  language requiring  signage  be                                                                    
     placed at points "halfway  between" these locations and                                                                    
     replaces it  with language  that allows  the department                                                                    
     to  determine   the  most  appropriate   locations  for                                                                    
     additional signage.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3.  Amends AS 35.40.210(c)  to increase  to six                                                                  
     the number of required  informational displays at pull-                                                                    
     outs  along  the  Purple Heart  Trail.  The  Border  to                                                                    
     Fairbanks  trail  has  three  displays,  so  this  will                                                                    
     require that at least three  displays be erected on the                                                                    
     new  portion   of  the   Purple  Heart   Trail  between                                                                    
     Fairbanks and Homer.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:40:09 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 4.  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska  to  ensure that  DOTP&F  has  the authority  to                                                                    
     accept gifts,  donations, and grants  from a  person or                                                                    
     agency  for  the  purpose   of  providing  signage  and                                                                    
     informational displays required  by AS 35.40.210(b) and                                                                    
     (c).                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5.  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                    
     Alaska to  clarify that DOTP&F  has the  flexibility to                                                                    
     erect  the signs  and informational  displays as  funds                                                                    
     are  available,  without  waiting to  receive  all  the                                                                    
     funds needed  to complete  the entire  project required                                                                    
     by AS 35.40.210(b) and (c).                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. TORKELSON  stated the intent  was to allow the  Department of                                                               
Transportation  and Public  Facilities (DOTPF)  to work  with the                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR) and other  departments to                                                               
accomplish  signage, using  the  appropriate  pullouts and  other                                                               
locations along the highway.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  KNOTT,  Commander,  Military  Order of  the  Purple  Heart,                                                               
Alaska Chapter, Fairbanks, Alaska,  provided invited testimony in                                                               
support of  SB 203. As a  recipient of the Purple  Heart, he said                                                               
he could not think of a  more fitting tribute to honor recipients                                                               
than this trail. He commented  that the Purple Heart symbol tends                                                               
to renew  patriotism for  people. He stated  that the  signage at                                                               
Delta  Junction  sparks emotions  for  veterans.  He said  combat                                                               
veterans feel  supported when they  see these signs.  He remarked                                                               
that many highway  signs along roads are riddled  with holes, but                                                               
people do not  shoot at the Purple Heart signs.  He surmised that                                                               
people  understand  the  significance  of  the  sacrifices  these                                                               
honored war veterans made.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER asked  about the  funding mechanism  and timeline                                                               
for the  signage. He further  asked whether state funds  would be                                                               
used if donations did not materialize.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REVAK  responded that  many  people  in communities  are                                                               
interested  in donating  funds  for signage.  He  noted that  the                                                               
agency has been  supportive of the Purple Heart  Trail. He stated                                                               
the  intent was  to  find  creative ways  to  fund the  necessary                                                               
signage.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:45:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. TORKELSON indicated  the goal was to get  the mandated number                                                               
of signs erected  after SB 230 passes, but to  allow some time to                                                               
collect donations.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:46:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER asked Mr. Mills to respond.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:47:01 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY MILLS, Special Assistant to  the Commissioner, Department of                                                               
Transportation and Public Facilities  (DOTPF), explained that the                                                               
bill  would  provide  added flexibility  for  the  department  to                                                               
receive  donations or  federal grants.  He stated  that it  takes                                                               
four to six  weeks to produce signs, but supply  chain issues may                                                               
cause delays. He anticipated that  the department would work with                                                               
the  sponsor's  office  to evaluate  donations  and  produce  the                                                               
signage  during  the   summer  or  fall.  He   related  that  the                                                               
department interprets  the bill,  such that the  department would                                                               
issue a fiscal note that reflects  the total signage cost, and it                                                               
offsets  the  signage  costs  with any  donations.  He  said  any                                                               
remaining funds would lapse back to the state.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:48:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER  asked  if  anyone  was  actively  searching  for                                                               
donations to accomplish the necessary signage.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REVAK answered  that he deferred to  the organizations to                                                               
seek donations.  He also anticipated  that federal  grant funding                                                               
would  likely  be  forthcoming.  However,  he  said  he  was  not                                                               
personally soliciting donations.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:49:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. TORKELSON  related her understanding that  the Military Order                                                               
of the  Purple Heart, Alaska Chapter,  was potentially interested                                                               
in  leading  that effort.  She  stated  the  goal was  to  funnel                                                               
donations  through a  single organization  and any  federal grant                                                               
funding would come directly from the federal government.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL thanked  Mr. Knott for his  active involvement when                                                               
Skagway became a Purple Heart City two years ago.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:51:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS asked how the  Purple Heart Trail route was selected.                                                               
He acknowledged  that the Fairbanks  to the  Alaska-Canada border                                                               
made sense, given  the connection to WWII. He  recalled the Glenn                                                               
Highway was built about the same  time, but he could not think of                                                               
any  particular  connection  the   selected  routes  had  to  the                                                               
military from the routes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REVAK responded  that a group of  Purple Heart recipients                                                               
in  Alaska requested  the  bill, primarily  led  by the  Military                                                               
Order  of the  Purple Heart.  He  related that  the Purple  Heart                                                               
Trails  were  being designated  nationwide.  He  deferred to  the                                                               
organization  to  provide  more  details   as  it  works  to  get                                                               
additional cities designated as Purple Heart cities.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:53:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KNOTT  explained that the  organization wanted to  start with                                                               
this  route since  many Purple  Heart recipients  live along  the                                                               
designated  highways or  in nearby  communities. He  related that                                                               
the  organization  has  chapters  in  Fairbanks,  Anchorage,  and                                                               
Kenai.  He suggested  that  the Purple  Heart  Trail could  later                                                               
connect the Glenn Highway to the Alaska-Canada Highway.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL remarked that doing  so would create 1,000 miles of                                                               
honor instead of 650 miles.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:54:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS opened public testimony on SB 203.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:54:37 PM.                                                                                                                   
BENNO HARRY  CLEVELAND, Past Commander  of the Military  Order of                                                               
the Purple Heart, Alaska Chapter,  Fairbanks, Alaska, stated that                                                               
he  currently serves  as the  Alaska Native  Veterans Association                                                               
president and  the Alaska Native  Veterans Council  president. He                                                               
explained that he spent his  19th and 20th birthdays in hospitals                                                               
in Vietnam.  He said it  would be a  great honor to  dedicate the                                                               
Purple  Heart Trail  in  Alaska by  placing  plaques and  highway                                                               
signs along the trail. Alaska  hosts tourists from throughout the                                                               
world.  Further, Alaska  residents travel  on these  highways. He                                                               
envisioned  that children,  parents, and  grandparents could  ask                                                               
questions  and discuss  the  physical,  emotional, and  spiritual                                                               
sacrifices  that  veterans  awarded  the Purple  Heart  made.  He                                                               
related that  the signs  would also  signify the  state's support                                                               
for  its veterans,  particularly those  who gave  their lives  to                                                               
defend this great nation so Americans can enjoy freedom.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:56:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS closed public testimony on SB 203.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:57:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER  moved to report  SB 203, work  order 32-LS1553\B,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MYERS heard no objection, and  SB 203 was reported from the                                                               
Senate Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:57:24 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:58:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS reconvened the meeting.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:58:48 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair   Myers  adjourned   the  Senate   Transportation  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting at 1:58 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 203 Sponsor Statement 2.27.22.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Sectional Analysis 2.27.22.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Fiscal Note.pdf STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Doc MOPH Article 2.27.22.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Doc Purple Heart Trail as extended 2.27.22.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter City of Fairbanks 11.05.19.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter City of Wasilla, Mayor Cottle 9.18.19.pdf STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter Kenai Penn. Borough Mayor PH 10.22.19.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter PH Highway 10.18.19.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter Soldotna PH Hw 11.19.19.pdf SFIN 3/21/2022 1:00:00 PM
STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203
SB 203 Support Letter Trapper Creek CC Board 10.17.19.pdf STRA 3/3/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 203