Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/23/2005 02:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Note Time Change --
Moved CSHB 279(TRA) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Heard & Held
HB 259 - TRUCK LOAD REQUIREMENTS                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 259  "An Act  relating to covered  or enclosed                                                               
loads."    [A proposed  committee  substitute  (CS) for  HB  259,                                                               
Version 24-LS0833\Y -  although never formally adopted  as a work                                                               
draft - had  been treated as amended and  reported from committee                                                               
on 4/19/05.]                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO,  because of  the lack of  a formal  motion during                                                               
the meeting on  4/19/05 regarding the adoption of Version  Y as a                                                               
work  draft,  relayed  his  intention  of  having  the  committee                                                               
rescind  its action  in reporting  [Version Y,  as amended]  from                                                               
committee,  and then  rescind it's  actions in  amending [Version                                                               
Y], thus allowing the committee to  adopt, as a work draft, a new                                                               
proposed CS  for HB 259, Version  24-LS0833\S, which incorporates                                                               
the amendments made to Version Y.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR GATTO  moved that  the committee  rescind its  action in                                                               
reporting [Version  Y, as amended]  from committee.   There being                                                               
no objection, the committee's action was rescinded.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR GATTO  moved that the  committee rescind its  actions in                                                               
adopting amendments to [Version Y].                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN asked what those amendments entailed.                                                                     
CO-CHAIR GATTO said:                                                                                                            
     Those amendments  had to  do with  "a gross  to remove"                                                                    
     pickup trucks  from this requirement,  and we  did that                                                                    
     by  saying  that vehicles  with  a  gvw [gross  vehicle                                                                    
     weight]  ...   of  less  than  9,200   pounds  wouldn't                                                                    
     qualify.   And we  did this  because we  called various                                                                    
     organizations to  see what pickup trucks  entailed, and                                                                    
     if you  talk about the  gross vehicle weight,  then you                                                                    
     pretty  much  know  that you've  got  all  the  pickups                                                                    
     included, and  we did  not want  to include  pickups in                                                                    
     this, so they're excluded.                                                                                                 
     We  dealt ...  also with  giving exclusions  to certain                                                                    
     communities,  and Representative  Thomas  wanted us  to                                                                    
     exclude   communities  that   are   not  connected   to                                                                    
     Anchorage by a continuous  state road such [as] passing                                                                    
     through  the country  of Canada;  [such]  would not  be                                                                    
     under the ...  requirements of this bill.   And also if                                                                    
     the  communities were  less than  5,000 in  population.                                                                    
     Basically the  bill was intended to  do something about                                                                    
     the heavy  truck traffic  in Anchorage  and [Matanuska-                                                                    
     Susitna  ("MAT-SU")], and  we  wanted to,  essentially,                                                                    
     define  what  these  words meant  in  legislation  that                                                                    
     already  exists, so  that it's  clear  to [the  DOT&PF]                                                                    
     what our intent was in this original language.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  GATTO   announced  that  the  committee's   actions  in                                                               
adopting the amendments [to Version Y] were rescinded.                                                                          
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  made a motion  to adopt  the proposed CS  for HB
259, Version 24-LS0833\S, as the work draft.                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  GATTO   announced  that   Version  S  was   before  the                                                               
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  reiterated  that   Version  S  incorporates  the                                                               
amendments adopted during the  4/19/05 meeting, and characterized                                                               
Version  S as  perfect because  it  deals with  the pickup  truck                                                               
exemption and  the issue  of snow,  it exempts  communities under                                                               
5,000 and any  community not connected to Anchorage  by road, and                                                               
it changes "contained or confined" to "covered or enclosed."                                                                    
2:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  said he  has problems with  the bill.   He                                                               
said a lot of road  construction involves one- or two-mile trips,                                                               
and so covering each and every  one of the loads of material used                                                               
is going  to add a  tremendous amount of  "time and cost"  to all                                                               
Alaska's road  projects.  He  said the  gravel on the  roads does                                                               
not all  come from  dump trucks,  and there  are already  laws to                                                               
help people  replace windshields from  rock damage due  to [dump]                                                               
trucks.  He  indicated that he didn't think that  HB 259 will fix                                                               
the current enforcement  problem, and detailed the  steps he took                                                               
when he  [hauled loads of material].   He said he  cannot support                                                               
the  bill,  and  mentioned  the  possible  increase  in  cost  to                                                               
2:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO asked how much time  it takes to cover a load with                                                               
an "automatic" cover.                                                                                                           
NONA  WILSON, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
mentioning both swing arm style  automatic covers and track style                                                               
automatic covers, said  she didn't know how much  time covering a                                                               
load would take,  adding that private truck drivers  might not be                                                               
able to afford fully automatic covers.   In response to a further                                                               
question, she indicated that she  was unfamiliar with exactly how                                                               
the "automatic" systems work.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  indicated that  if  using  the automatic  covers                                                               
added an hour in the course of  a day, he would be concerned, but                                                               
if using them adds "40 seconds," such would be acceptable.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN said  dump trucks get dirty,  and the cover                                                               
tracks would  always be full  of gravel,  thus one would  have to                                                               
"be up there  cleaning them constantly."  He  postulated that the                                                               
cost of  installation and maintenance  would be  astronomical and                                                               
should be included in the cost estimates.                                                                                       
MS. WILSON  reiterated that she  didn't know  whether [automatic]                                                               
covers would be on swing arms or on an actual tracks.                                                                           
2:17:15 PM                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR GATTO restated the intent  of the bill, and posited that                                                               
the  [Alaska State]  Troopers would  be  understanding for  short                                                               
hauls.    He  expressed  concern about  trucks  on  long-distance                                                               
highway trips "blowing" gravel all over the highway.                                                                            
MS. WILSON said the DOT&PF  can assist vehicle owners with claims                                                               
of rock damage from department trucks.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR GATTO  said it  is difficult  to chase  a truck  that is                                                               
responsible for spewing rocks.                                                                                                  
2:19:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WILSON posited  that usually when there is  debris flying off                                                               
of  a truck,  it  is  because it  is  overloaded.   She  pondered                                                               
whether drivers might tend to overload a truck with a cover.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO suggested that that is a separate issue.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  said he would like  to defer the issue  in order                                                               
to see  the minutes from  the previous meeting, adding,  "I would                                                               
like  to know  what  the  testimony was  that  convinced us  last                                                               
meeting to pass this bill."                                                                                                     
MS.  WILSON  referred   to  the  fiscal  note,   which  had  been                                                               
characterized as high,  and indicated that the  estimate has been                                                               
lowered as a  result of the amendments offered  during the bill's                                                               
last hearing.                                                                                                                   
2:21:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN said he would  like input from the trucking                                                               
CO-CHAIR ELKINS  moved to [set aside]  HB 259 for the  purpose of                                                               
reviewing the minutes from the bill's prior meeting.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  GATTO relayed  that HB  259 [Version  S] would  be held                                                               

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