Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/12/1996 08:09 AM House RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SB 278 - CREDITS AGAINST FEES AT ST HISTORICAL PKS                          
 Number 051                                                                    
 The first order of business was SB 278, "An Act relating to the               
 authority of the Department of Natural Resources to allow credits             
 against fees at state historical parks."                                      
 JOE AMBROSE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, came              
 forward and read the sponsor statement in to the record:                      
 "Senate Bill 278 was introduced to address concerns raised by the             
 Ketchikan Area State Parks Advisory Board and the Ketchikan Gateway           
 Borough Assembly.                                                             
 "SB 278 would provide a mechanism by which the Division of Parks              
 and Outdoor Recreation could acquire two small parcels of land                
 adjacent to Totem Bight State Historical Park.                                
 "The parcels are currently held by Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU)           
 as the site for a diesel generation plant.  KPU plans to vacate the           
 property, which would then revert to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.           
 "Senate Bill 278 would allow DNR to offer credits against fees paid           
 by commercial tour operators for payments made to a municipality              
 for the projects that will mitigate or alleviate access, congestion           
 and parking problems at historical parks.  The Division of Parks              
 and Outdoor Recreation has indicated that use of this provision at            
 any state historical park other than Totem Bight is unlikely.  In             
 any event, the authority would sunset on December 31, 2000.  The              
 three year window is needed to avoid drawing too quickly against              
 the fees.                                                                     
 "Totem Bight is a 12.5 acre state park located north of the City of           
 Ketchikan.  It had an estimated 160,000 visitors in 1995, about               
 half of them arriving on commercial tours.  In 1977, it was                   
 estimated that the park could handle between 636 and 744 people at            
 any one time.  That actual use now exceeds 925 people at a time.              
 "The park only has seven parking spaces for buses and often there             
 are 21 busses parked in the lot, on the road shoulders and at a               
 nearby gift shop.  Park staff is now advising independent travelers           
 and local park users to pay attention to the cruise ship schedule             
 and to avoid the park when the ships are in town.                             
 "To mitigate the overcrowding and congestion, DNR is proposing that           
 the tour operators pay for acquisition of the borough-owned parcels           
 to provide additional parking space and additional attractions such           
 as trails and possibly a carving demonstration area.                          
 "The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has                   
 indicated an interest in developing a transportation enhancement              
 project along the road at Totem Bight if this land becomes                    
 "Totem Bight is a valuable asset.  The state has invested more than           
 a million dollars in capital improvements to the facility over the            
 past ten years.  By acquiring these two parcels we can spread out             
 the use area, enhance the park and mitigate the problems."                    
 MR. AMBROSE said he would answer any questions committee members              
 may have.                                                                     
 Number 303                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS asked, "Do you have an O.K. of                      
 acquisition?  Do you have any price there?"                                   
 MR. AMBROSE said the department has indicated that they don't plan            
 to spend more than $150,000 of the fees on this acquisition.  Jim             
 Stratton, Director, Division of Parks, has stated that the bill               
 carries a zero fiscal note and they anticipate that the total paid            
 to the state from commercial operators in the summer of 1995 will             
 not decrease this coming summer.  Program receipts above the 1995             
 level is what they plan to use.  In 1997, fees at the park will be            
 increased from the current $3 per person for commercial operators             
 to $4 per person.  Mr. Ambrose said it won't impact current funding           
 as far a program receipts.                                                    
 Number 553                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS indicated he is very familiar with the issue             
 and doesn't have anything against it.  He said his concern is that            
 the state of Alaska is in direct competition with this.  Co-                  
 Chairman Williams said, "As you know, Saxman has a tour and over              
 the last ten years we've put in a million dollars, ourselves, into            
 the project in Saxman along with the help of the state of Alaska.             
 Has your office given any thought to that?   How we can make them             
 at least so they won't compete with each other?"                              
 MR. AMBROSE said he recognizes the problem Co-Chairman Williams has           
 pointed out.  There was some lobbying effort, on the part of the              
 tour operators, to try to discourage this increase.  The idea is              
 they should be paying more.  Mr. Ambrose said as he sees it, with             
 the increased volume of traffic coming through the community, we              
 really need to disburse them to both ends of the road.                        
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he is very concerned about the                      
 competition that the state of Alaska is in with the private sector.           
 He said, "A $125,000 this year, or whenever it is, it's just                  
 helping traffic go that way.  Saxman can't take all of the buses              
 right now, but they're sure not getting 160,000 people out there              
 and they can do that at least, I know.  So I would hope that we can           
 work together to make sure that the state of Alaska is not in                 
 competition or at least make them pay their fair share."                      
 Number 599                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked, "How far apart are they - this location              
 and the park?"                                                                
 MR. AMBROSE said about 15 miles.                                              
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if a package couldn't be involved that                
 would be advisable to show tourists both places.                              
 MR. AMBROSE explained the decision as to where to take the people             
 on the buses is made by the tour operators and cruse ship                     
 companies.  He said price motivates them.  Mr. Ambrose noted he               
 doesn't know what Saxman currently receives from tour operators.              
 Number 640                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he had helped build up the Saxman tours             
 and they were charging approximately $35 per passenger.  The state,           
 at that time, was charging $1.50.  He said, "So our competition               
 there was - they look at Native experience.  The tour operators do            
 say -- they don't push the Native experience here in Juneau as they           
 do in Ketchikan.  In fact, Sealaska at one time was going to start            
 a Native experience here in Juneau and the tour companies told them           
 `You go and talk to Cape Fox Corporation and see how you can help             
 them with their tour.  We can't talk to you about it.'"                       
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said when the tour operators aboard ship are             
 selling the tours they say, "This is what you get for a Native                
 experience out in the Totem Bight and this is what you get for $35            
 for a Native experience.'  He said it's very difficult to compete             
 with that type of price difference.  Co-Chairman Williams said                
 hopefully, we can work together to at least get them comparable.              
 Number 756                                                                    
 MR. AMBROSE said of the 160,000 visitors in 1995, 70,000 came from            
 the tour operators that pay this fee.  There is no charge at the              
 park for walk-in traffic or local traffic.  The only people that              
 pay are the commercial tours.                                                 
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Co-Chairman Williams if the $35 includes              
 the bus transportation to and from Saxman.                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said it is made of up three areas.  The tour             
 operators gets their cut of the $35, the ship gets their cut and              
 the city of Saxman gets their cut.                                            
 MR. AMBROSE said the fee that is currently $3 per person and is               
 going to $4 is not what the traveler pays.  That is what the                  
 company pays the state per person.  He noted he doesn't know what             
 the overall fee is when a person gets off the ship and goes in that           
 direction.  Mr. Ambrose said it is an entirely different experience           
 and if he were coming to Alaska for the first time on a cruse ship            
 and he had an option of what is offered at Saxman as compared to              
 what's offered at Totem Bight, Saxman is where he would go first.             
 He said he would probably want to see them both.  He said he would            
 find out what the total price is that the operators charge for                
 those tours.                                                                  
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if the time in port is a problem.  He asked           
 if there is plenty of time, would they want to go.                            
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS indicated they have plenty of time.                      
 Number 880                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DON LONG said, "I got a question on allowing credits           
 against fees.  Isn't that something like getting (indisc.) in                 
 MR. AMBROSE said he has been advised that it's not.  He said the              
 department uses program receipts from this park and it is the only            
 one that generates this kind of revenue and has for years.  Mr.               
 Ambrose said he believes there is a separate account that is set up           
 similar to what is done with the Alaska Marine Highway System.  The           
 original proposal on this legislation was brought to Senator Taylor           
 by the Governor's legislative liaison.                                        
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked that the record reflect that Representative           
 Davies, Kott, Nicholia have jointed the meeting.                              
 Number 933                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES questioned how these fees are different            
 than fees that are paid at any other park.                                    
 MR. AMBROSE explained the bill only applies to historical parks.              
 The only people who pay a fee at the park are people who come in on           
 a commercial tour.  He said, "Basically, what they're trying to do            
 is - it's a circular way of acquiring this property.  There are two           
 relatively small parcels, but will add tremendously to the                    
 accessibility of the facility which is really over burdened right             
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "My only concern I share with                         
 Representative Williams is that I don't think the state should                
 supplement private parks.  By the same token, I don't think they              
 should use public funds to compete with themselves.  If there were            
 some way you could say that this is a taste and if you want the               
 whole meal, go to Saxman or something like that, I think that would           
 be great, but I know we can't do that as a state.                             
 Number 1031                                                                   
 MR. AMBROSE explained he has lived in Ketchikan for almost 22 years           
 and has watched the evolution at Saxman.  He said it is real asset            
 to the entire community.  Mr. Ambrose said he thinks that we will             
 find out how comparable the rates are.  He stated he believes there           
 is a legitimate concern throughout the community.  Because of the             
 way Ketchikan is laid out with only one main drag, when you get               
 five of the huge ships in it becomes crowded.  The tourists need to           
 be dispersed as widely as possible, but we also need to encourage             
 increased traffic to the Saxman experience.                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if by making this a bus access or parking             
 area, would that blend in with what is currently there.                       
 MR. AMBROSE said it would.  He noted Ketchikan Public Utilities is,           
 by law, responsible for cleaning up anything that is there as far             
 as if there is any hazardous waste or anything else from the diesel           
 generation plant.                                                             
 Number 1150                                                                   
 BILL GARY, Superintendent, Southeast Area, Division of Parks and              
 Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resources, said he would            
 be happy to answer any questions that he can.  He noted Jim                   
 Stratton, Director, was connected via teleconference.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN asked Mr. Gary if he could explain the              
 language in the bill that says, "mail out credits against fees due            
 to the department."                                                           
 MR. GARY said his understanding is that the language would allow              
 the department to apply additional fees above the existing level of           
 $3 per person.  He said they would enter into an acquisition                  
 agreement and the borough would give them management authority over           
 the lands over an extended period of time so that the amount of               
 money they make would meet the whatever price is negotiated.  That            
 price would be settled hopefully below $150,000, which is the                 
 amount that the department estimates that they could make in about            
 three to four years of the additional fees.  He noted the                     
 additional fees that they have been trying to charge at Totem Bight           
 is a delicate balancing act.  He said the department is very                  
 sensitive to the idea of competing with Saxman.  Mr. Gary said                
 since he has been with the department, his number one problem has             
 been trying to raise the fees.  The tour companies, of course, want           
 to keep them down.  He indicated that the department's position has           
 been that Saxman is a much different experience and they have been            
 trying to work with the cruse ship companies to describe that in              
 their information on the ships, which is where everything really              
 happens in sales.  He said they have been pretty successful with              
 that.  Mr. Gary referred to raising the price to $4 in 1997 and               
 said it is approaching what he feels is a comparable amount of                
 value for the service.  He noted he doesn't know the actual dollar            
 value that Saxman receives per person.                                        
 Number 1308                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said, "We've been talking about this issue for           
 quite some time and we keep getting the same answer saying, `We're            
 trying to get it up there,' then we put another million dollars               
 into the project and we're out at the other end of town struggling            
 just to keep it going.  Can I get an answer from you?  I mean                 
 forget about what the tour companies are gunna do.  You know they             
 can drop that portion and they have done that to us in Saxman and             
 we tried to charge em a dollar a head to come across our land and             
 they just dropped us and it took us five years to get em back to              
 us.  So you know without -- lets say that we do something to make             
 you -- what can we do to make you at least get the prices                     
 MR. GARY said, "All I can say is we have been make it comparable.             
 It has gotten better and the price that we receive is negotiated              
 and we try to get it up every year.  And I think we've given them             
 the notice that in 97 it will go to $4.  The indications I get from           
 talking to Saxman tour operators is that it is getting to parity in           
 the value received and the issue is really more the information               
 they get on board ships and so what I've been more concerned about            
 is how the information on board ship compares the two experiences             
 so that people can make a better choice.  As far as figuring out              
 the pricing...."                                                              
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked Mr. Gary when he thinks we'll get a                
 return on that million dollars.  He said they just redid the whole            
 thing over the last year and a half.  They rebuilt the house,                 
 replaced a couple of the poles, built walkways, made different                
 trails and now we're going to make a bigger parking area.  He again           
 asked Mr. Gary when he thinks we'll get return on the million                 
 Number 1490                                                                   
 JIM STRATTON, Director, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation              
 Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from            
 Anchorage.  He referred to Co-Chairman Williams' question about               
 seeking a return on the investment in the parks and said he thinks            
 there is a fundamental difference between the purposes of Totem               
 Bight and the operation in Saxman.  He said what we have in Totem             
 Bight is a state historical park and the main purpose of the park             
 is not to generate fees, but to provide information about the                 
 original culture in the Ketchikan area.  When we start looking at             
 parks solely as a way to get a return on investment, we're missing            
 the purposes for which the parks were established.  He said that he           
 thinks that in order to maintain the Totem Bight facility for not             
 only the residents of Ketchikan and non-tour visitors, but also the           
 tour visitors, we need to generate some income from the commercial            
 operators to pay for that facility.  The fundamental purposes,                
 other than the indigenous culture education of the two facilities,            
 are different and that is something we need to keep in mind.                  
 Number 1555                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said this is not the first time that the problem            
 of competition between state owned facilities and private                     
 facilities has come up.  He asked Mr. Stratton if he feels that by            
 following what the bill would provide would increase competition or           
 detract from people wanting to go to the Saxman facility.                     
 MR. STRATTON said he doesn't think so.  He said he thinks that the            
 purpose of the bill is to free up the existing parking.  The tour             
 operators will continue to go to Totem Bight filling up the parking           
 lot and the private parking adjacent to Totem Bight.  The people              
 who are really getting squeezed out are the people in Ketchikan and           
 the independent travelers that aren't on a bus tour.  They come by            
 Totem Bight and they can't find a place to park.  The real winners            
 in the bill and with this acquisition are going to be the non-tour            
 visitors to the park because they are having a hard time getting in           
 there.  He said Mr. Ambrose has indicated when he has visitors in             
 town and the cruse ships are in town, he doesn't even bother to               
 attempt to visit the area.                                                    
 Number 1620                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN asked Representative Williams if his            
 point is that the state parks needs to raise their fees so they're            
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he has been asking this for some time.              
 They're in direct competition with Saxman.  He indicated this                 
 discussion has happened almost every year for the last three years            
 and all he hears is "We're trying, we have to take care of the tour           
 companies, they're gunna be very upset with us."  He said they have           
 raised the fee every year a little at a time and the argument is              
 that we can't raise it because we'll drive away the bus companies.            
 Co-Chairman Williams said you can bring so many buses into the                
 park.  He said they tell the bus companies "These are how many                
 buses you'll have at this time, per hour."  He said they can't take           
 22 buses at one time.  Co-Chairman Williams said at Saxman, we've             
 had to build and expand that parking lot.  They have taken their              
 ball field out of that area and put it into another area.  He said            
 they have had to pay the state back for the ball field that they              
 received money for.  Co-Chairman Williams stated he supports the              
 bill and would like to see it move, but he would like the                     
 department to be a little bit more stronger in trying to be                   
 competitive with what is being done out there.                                
 Number 1738                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Representative Williams, what sort of                
 number -- do you have a feel for what sort of a magnitude of number           
 we'd need here if that were going to be case that they would                  
 somewhat come to a parity?"                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS indicated he didn't know exactly what the                
 number is.  He referred to the $35 amount and explained the bus               
 company was getting an amount of money.  The shipping company                 
 received the biggest amount and then the bus company got their                
 amount and then we got whatever.  He said we were always having to            
 Number 1798                                                                   
 MR. AMBROSE said what we need to find out is what the cruse line is           
 charging the passenger for that full package.  He asked if the                
 overall package is $35.                                                       
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said it was five years ago.                              
 MR. AMBROSE said if it is going to take an increase in the fee at             
 Totem Bight to bring them into comparable levels, he is sure                  
 Senator Taylor will do everything he can to influence the division            
 to do that.  He said he agrees with Co-Chairman Williams in that we           
 constantly hear from cruse lines that "If you do this, then we are            
 going to pull out," and yet traffic seems to increase every year.             
 He said as a region, we're starting to realize that while one                 
 community doesn't dare put on a head tax, if we did it as a region            
 he doesn't think they'll all turn around and head for the                     
 Number 1854                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said Co-Chairman Williams indicated that a fairly           
 large amount of that $35 stays with the shipping company or the               
 tour company.  That sounds like they would want to then advertise             
 or make available the knowledge that there is this trip to Saxman.            
 He asked if $3 or $4 versus $35 is what scares people off.                    
 MR. AMBROSE said he doesn't believe that the cruse lines are                  
 charging their passengers $3 for the Totem Bight trip.  It is                 
 probably $25 or $30 to get on the bus to go out there.  That is               
 what the operator pays the state.  He said we need to find out how            
 they're similar.                                                              
 Number 1895                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said if we're going to do an apples and                 
 apples comparison, there has to be a comparison between what the              
 underlying value and what the experience is.  If one is simply the            
 ability to walk among some totem poles and the other is an active             
 demonstration of things -- if one is a big production and the other           
 is just a passive walk through a small park, those are different              
 experiences and they ought to have a different value.                         
 Number 1936                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE LONG referred to his earlier question regarding                
 credits against fees and said it was mentioned that the Division of           
 Parks collects fees for parks.  He asked what is done with the                
 fees.  He said it sounds like the division has the ability to use             
 the fees they collect.                                                        
 MR. STRATTON said they currently collect approximately $2 million             
 in fees.  That is within the division's program receipt                       
 authorization within the operating budget.  Currently, the fees               
 they collect are authorized to go back into park authorizations for           
 the most part, system wide.                                                   
 Number 1985                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if this is essentially a funding                    
 mechanism for capital improvements.  He said he never really got a            
 clear answer on the question of allowing credits against fees due             
 to mitigate or alleviate access.  He asked if they are going to               
 take the money that is being collected and build new parking                  
 MR. STRATTON said that is essentially what it is.  It is a funding            
 mechanism for a land acquisition so that federal highway monies can           
 be used to make a parking lot improvement.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if there is any reason why we don't get             
 a capital appropriation through the normal capital appropriation              
 MR. STRATTON said the Division of Parks hasn't been successful in             
 recent years in securing very much of the capital budget.  The                
 capital budget they do get is focused primarily on deferred                   
 maintenance and park repairs.  Mr. Stratton explained, "The                   
 situation at Totem Bight is a little different in that what we're             
 seeing the fees coming from the operators that would go into this             
 funding mechanism really as a mitigation payment for displacing the           
 parking, you know, the independent traveler and the Ketchikan                 
 resident.  We're looking at this as a mitigation fee, you know,               
 more so than a straight capital acquisition.  So that's                       
 fundamentally what it is.                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if the bill has a House Finance Committee           
 MR. AMBROSE responded that there was a Resources and Finance                  
 referral.  He explained this same discussion was brought up in a              
 Senate Finance Committee meeting.  He explained he has a tendency             
 to agree with the co-chair of Senate Finance in that while there is           
 a zero fiscal note, he isn't really sure that is the way it should            
 be done.  There obviously is going to be an expenditure of money              
 that would be coming to the state through this circular and the               
 state ends up with an asset.  The end result is the state owns this           
 property, but he doesn't know that a zero fiscal note is truly                
 reflective.  He referred to the explanation of "We're going to be             
 spending from the increased fee," and said there is still money               
 changing hands somewhere.  Mr. Ambrose stated he doesn't know how             
 accurate a zero fiscal note is.                                               
 Number 2117                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "Well on that point, clearly what this            
 would be is equivalent to the other cases we've had of designated             
 program receipts where a program receipt comes in but it is                   
 restricted to a particular purpose and it ought to be, you know, in           
 the same sense as the North Star pipeline permitting fees that come           
 in from BP (British Petroleum) for that particular purpose.  These            
 fees came in -- you know are coming in for a particular purpose and           
 we really do need, I think, to have -- we don't have in our                   
 bookkeeping system, right now, an adequate way to deal with                   
 designated program receipts.  And this is another example of that             
 problem and if we had, then we could showed it because these kinds            
 of receipts do have a zero impact on the fiscal gap.  They don't              
 increase or decrease (indisc.), but they are expenditures of funds            
 and ought to be accounted for.  So we need to have a mechanism, we            
 don't and that's the dilemma.  Having said that, I had one specific           
 question with respect to the fees and I want for Director Stratton            
 -- does -- you indicated the overall fees, I just wondered if you             
 have broken out and do you know if they fees that you collect at              
 Totem Bight cover the operations there?"                                      
 MR. STRATTON informed the committee members that the fees do cover            
 the operations there.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked Mr. Stratton if he would describe it as           
 kind of a break even thing or a small positive cash flow.                     
 MR. STRATTON said it is a positive cash flow.  The fees that they             
 are able to generate at Totem Bight fund most of the Ketchikan park           
 operation which includes a couple of other facilities.  He noted              
 Mr. Gary might know what the specific numbers are.  Mr. Stratton              
 said he knows that they more than pay for Totem Bight with the                
 Number 2201                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said it seems to him that there are lots             
 of state parks around this state, some are historical and some are            
 not, that charge fees to use the parks.  The objective behind these           
 parks was to put something together that people could use at a                
 price that they could afford and when you get into commercial                 
 operators using them, he can understand that you'd want to raise              
 the price a little bit because they're making a profit.  He said,             
 "If you continue to raise the fees on these parks, do you want to             
 just turn them over to a private sector or do you want to continue            
 to have the state operating them, and I think that's basically what           
 the problem that Representative Williams is having is that on one             
 end of the road you've got a commercial operator and the other end            
 you've got the state and maybe the state should be a commercial               
 operator and be competing with the other one.  I don't know which             
 one was put in first so that would raise a little bit of question             
 on the till.  I mean if the state park has been there all along and           
 now Saxman has come along and is trying to compete with them then             
 I think Saxman has got the problem because if they're trying to               
 compete...  I don't know but the pressure being put on the state              
 parks to raise their fees - raise their fees to be, you know,                 
 competitive with the private sector, I think there is a little bit            
 of fallacy there."                                                            
 Number 2260                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said as he understand the problem, if they went             
 private then you'd have a problem with the walk-ins from Ketchikan            
 that aren't associated with this tour business who would go free.             
 If it goes commercial then these people will probably be charged as           
 Number 2271                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said, "What I'm driving at, Mr. Chairman,            
 is that this discussion that we're having of whether the fee should           
 be raised on this state park to be competitive with the private               
 sector is I don't think it necessarily should be the argument that            
 we should be having at this table.  I think the argument that we              
 should be having at this table then is whether that state park                
 should be turned over to concession to be competitive.  If that's             
 the kind of discussion we want to get into (indisc.) state parks              
 with the private sector."                                                     
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he thinks that is a side issue.  He said the           
 issue is whether or not we should allow this expansion, and in                
 order to do that - to pay that back we're going to have to increase           
 Number 2297                                                                   
 MR. AMBROSE said he thinks he left the wrong impression.  The                 
 decision to increase the fee to $4 next year was made quite awhile            
 ago and preceded the bill by quite a ways.  This bill is not what             
 is driving the increase.  The increase has been something that                
 Representative Williams has been calling to the attention of the              
 division for quite awhile.  The increase would more than adequately           
 cover acquisition of the property over this period of time.  He               
 noted the bill is not driving the increase.                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said his point is that the committee spent           
 45 minutes talking about competition when actually it is separate             
 issue other than the fact Co-Chairman Williams wants to get the               
 point across.                                                                 
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said if we enhance or make available more parking           
 space for more buses, does that than work a hardship for a private            
 corporation?  In that case, the state is supplementing itself to be           
 in competition.  He said he isn't so sure we want to do that.                 
 MR. AMBROSE said that is a totally different discussion from what             
 the bill is about.                                                            
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "No because that competition would drive              
 whether we want to enhance that park.  If we don't want to enhance            
 it then this bill is dead and we have not encouraged a further                
 competition of private industry.  Is that a wrong statement?"                 
 MR. AMBROSE said they're going out there now despite the fact that            
 we don't have parking.  This will get them off the shoulders of the           
 road.  He said he believes Representative Davies is correct.  We              
 need to compare what is being offered to the traveling public.                
 Number 2401                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS made a motion to move SB 278 out of committee            
 with individual recommendations.                                              
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was an objection.  Hearing none,             
 SB 278 was moved out of the House Resources Committee.                        

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