Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

03/17/2009 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 155 AUTHORIZE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PARTICIPATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 131 CHILD SAFETY SEATS & SEAT BELTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 72 CHILD SAFETY SEATS & SEAT BELTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 127 ALASKA RAILROAD BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
HB 127-ALASKA RAILROAD BUDGET                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:55:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 127, "An  Act providing that the  Alaska Railroad                                                               
Corporation is subject to the  Executive Budget Act and providing                                                               
that expenditures of the Alaska  Railroad Corporation are subject                                                               
to appropriation; and providing for  an effective date."  [Before                                                               
the committee was Version A.]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:56:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK GAMBLE,  President, and CEO, Alaska  Railroad Corporation                                                               
(ARRC),  stated  the proposal  to  transfer  the ARRC  under  the                                                               
Executive Budget Act  is clear.  He offered to  address the "why"                                                               
today.   He offered his  belief that  this issue is  raised about                                                               
every ten  years.  He  opined that it is  appropriate to do.   He                                                               
inquired as to  what has changed that might  require such action,                                                               
which he  said is exactly  the right  approach.  He  related that                                                               
examining  whether the  framers of  the Alaska  Railroad Transfer                                                               
Act of 1982 (ARTA) "had it  right" and whether the properties are                                                               
enduring properties.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:58:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE stated that he reviewed  the 38 pages of the corporate                                                               
act, and  as he thumbed  through and highlighted any  issues that                                                               
might  arise  between  the  ARRC  Act  under  AS  42.40  and  the                                                               
Executive Budget Act.  He stated  that he had about 50 items that                                                               
would need to  be clarified how the ARRC would  operate under the                                                               
Executive  Budget Act.   He  said he  agrees with  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg that it  is a complex issue.  He  provided a history of                                                               
the ARRC,  that the legislature  approved the ARRC  transfer from                                                               
the  federal  government after  70  years  of federal  government                                                               
control.  He offered that  the legislature deliberated whether to                                                               
take  over the  railroad,  and many  issues  and legalities  were                                                               
discussed.   He related  that the  legislature created  an entity                                                               
that was a business like  entity, quasi-independent, and outlined                                                               
the scope of the ARRC.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  recalled that the Corporate  Act under AS 42  goes to                                                               
great length to explain the purpose  of the ARRC.  He related the                                                               
introduction  states that  it is  the  legislature's intent,  the                                                               
policy of  the State  of Alaska  to foster  and promote  the long                                                               
term  growth  of  the  state;  and  to  foster  and  promote  the                                                               
development  of the  state  land and  natural  resources.   Thus,                                                               
properties  for business  would be  enduring properties;  and the                                                               
state does  not have the authority  to sell off land,  he opined.                                                               
He emphasized  that cited at  least a half  a dozen times  in the                                                               
corporate  act  is  an  overriding   concern  as  to  the  ARRC's                                                               
solvency.    Therefore,  when  it  came  to  selling  bonds,  the                                                               
legislature placed  safeguards in  at least six  places, advising                                                               
the ARRC that it cannot sell bonds without the proper authority.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:01:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  continued by stating  that ARRC is  an "essentiality"                                                               
of the  state infrastructure in that  the ARRC needed to  be able                                                               
to  provide transportation  without  state approval.   He  opined                                                               
that  the state  had confidence  in  the business  case that  was                                                               
presented, that  the business case  would allow the ARRC  to "pay                                                               
its  bill" meet  its  obligations, and  contribute  to a  capital                                                               
program, and as an independent  operating agency not have to seek                                                               
approval.   He  offered  his belief  that the  model  works.   He                                                               
welcomed the  review to determine  whether the ARRC is  doing the                                                               
best it can.   He opined that if  it is not, that it  was time to                                                               
reexamine the  business case.  He  offered his belief that  he is                                                               
here to discuss  the alternative and impact if the  ARRC is to be                                                               
placed under the  Executive Budget Act.  He admitted  that he did                                                               
not know exactly the implications of the change.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:03:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  reiterated that the  statutes defined the  details of                                                               
the  ARRC operations.    He reiterated  that he  is  not sure  of                                                               
changes in  the ARRC operations  under the Executive  Budget Act.                                                               
He   expressed  concern   to  offer   opinions  on   hypothetical                                                               
questions,  given the  ambiguity of  how the  ARRC would  need to                                                               
operate under the Executive Budget Act.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE referred  to the ARRC operations in the  past 24 years                                                               
that  the ARRC  has  been  in existence.    He  related that  the                                                               
capital contributions  are well  in excess  of $900  million, and                                                               
the ARR earnings  all are invested in capital  programs, which he                                                               
stated are jobs, contracts, opportunities  for employees, and the                                                               
trickle down  effect.  He opined  that effect is growing  at a 14                                                               
percent compound annual  growth rate for last  23 years, although                                                               
he cannot  say that  for this  year.  He  reported assets  of $22                                                               
million have  grown to almost $900  million.  He opined  that the                                                               
ARRC has been  considered a model, that in fact,  China asked him                                                               
to speak on the regional model  since China is working to segment                                                               
its large railroad into regions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE  related  that  Commonwealth   North  in  its  report                                                               
"Putting Alaska's Assets to  Work for Alaskans" cited the ARRC as                                                               
a good model  of an operating entity.  He  reported that 24 hours                                                               
per  day  somewhere  in  the  system "a  wheel  is  turning."  He                                                               
reported that  the ARRC  has its  own liabilities  and employees,                                                               
which are funded from its earnings.   He identified that it links                                                               
responsibility  and accountability  within its  model.   Thus, if                                                               
the ARRC receives board approval  for capital expenditures, which                                                               
are then  accomplished within the organization,  the ARRC reviews                                                               
it.   Therefore, he observed that  he is not sure  he understands                                                               
the current  deficiencies.   He conceded that  perhaps it  is not                                                               
deficiencies, but  the prospect  of a better  business enterprise                                                               
model.   He expressed  a willingness to  review the  current ARRC                                                               
model.  He stated that if  the ARRC can improve its profitability                                                               
for the state's economic development, it needs to do so.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE opined  that HB 127 does not provide  this option.  He                                                               
recalled that  some people have asked  him "what is broken."   He                                                               
offered his  belief that nothing  is broken  but the ARRC  has an                                                               
obligation and responsibility  to ensure the ARRC  is still doing                                                               
what the  legislature intended it  to do.   He speculated  if the                                                               
issue is not  whether the business is performing,  but instead is                                                               
a  constituent  issue in  which  the  ARRC  has taken  action  in                                                               
certain constituent  matters, that is  a legitimate concern.   He                                                               
recalled  the  ARRC  personnel   were  called  arrogant  by  some                                                               
legislators.   He said this upset  him since the majority  of the                                                               
public comments refute that statement.   He observed that if this                                                               
is a constituent issue that he  needs to identify and address the                                                               
matter.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:09:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  identified that ARRC's  Strategic Plan and  five year                                                               
plans emphasize  the need  to work at  the grassroots  level with                                                               
individuals, entities, and municipalities  to in order to fulfill                                                               
the mission of  the ARRC.  He highlighted that  the statement was                                                               
developed  especially  for  ARRC's  employees.   Thus,  he  would                                                               
appreciate knowing of instances  in which employees are perceived                                                               
as  arrogant or  who  are  not willing  to  address  issues.   He                                                               
stressed  if employee  attitudes are  the  issue that  it is  not                                                               
necessary to  change the current  ARRC model.  He  reiterated his                                                               
interest in identifying constituent issues.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE offered  his belief that the ARRC's  overall record is                                                               
clear.   He recalled similar  statements when he  initially began                                                               
working  for  the ARRC.    He  observed  that  he has  not  heard                                                               
complaints about  arrogance in  three or four  years.   He shared                                                               
the  ARRC  public  affairs  department  distributes  surveys  and                                                               
reported that approval ratings are up  from 65 to over 80 percent                                                               
statewide.   He  specified in  Fairbanks, despite  "tough issues"                                                               
that the  ARRC's favorable rating is  over 90 percent.   Thus, he                                                               
concluded that the public has trust in the ARRC.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:11:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE recalled a prior hearing  he was unable to attend.  He                                                               
offered to  comment on  several matters that  arose.   He related                                                               
that the ARRC  has employees who are members of  five unions.  He                                                               
conveyed  that of  those,  two are  currently  unhappy over  work                                                               
which has been  contracted out.  He detailed that  the two unions                                                               
have  10,000  and  7,000  hours of  backlog,  respectively.    He                                                               
reported that  he contracted  out one  segment of  the backlogged                                                               
work,  especially  since  the ARRC's  busiest  season  will  soon                                                               
start.   He mentioned that this  is a one-time contract  and this                                                               
is the  first time he  recalls that he  has had to  contract work                                                               
out.  He related that he discussed this with union leadership.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:12:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG inquired as  to the specific unions that                                                               
are affected.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE   replied  that  one  union   is  the  Transportation                                                               
Communication Union (TCU),  comprised of about 46  employees.  He                                                               
mentioned that  the ARRC is  in the  process of hiring  four more                                                               
journeymen.  He  described the task as  replacing wooden planking                                                               
on flatcars,  after 30  to 40  years use.   He  characterized the                                                               
work as "grunt  work" and not skilled labor, yet  it is work that                                                               
must be finished by summer  since the flatcars would otherwise be                                                               
deemed  unsafe.   He  remarked  that  the  ARRC has  hired  local                                                               
business to  rip and  replace the  planks while  the rest  of the                                                               
ARRC team is  doing "winter work" to ready  the passenger coaches                                                               
for summer.   He surmised that when employees are  not happy they                                                               
will  complain.     He  acknowledged  that   he  anticipates  the                                                               
complaints.  However,  he also respects the  employee's rights to                                                               
represent  their   union,  even   if  it  means   complaining  to                                                               
legislators.     He   recalled  difficulties   with  the   United                                                               
Transportation  Union  (UTU) six  years  ago.   He  related  that                                                               
through informal discussions he was  able to assist and negotiate                                                               
a contract.   He speculated it is possible that  the UTU may well                                                               
support the ARRC's  position with the current  issue, although he                                                               
emphasized that  he cannot speak for  the union.  In  response to                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg,  Mr.  Gamble related  that  the  union                                                               
represents the locomotive engineers, firemen, and brakemen.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:16:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE speculated  that the  unions may  support the  ARRC's                                                               
leadership since  the perception  is if the  ARRC fell  under the                                                               
Executive  Budget  Act  that  members fear  they  would  have  60                                                               
managers instead  of the ARRC,  when contemplating pay  raises or                                                               
work  rules.   He  reported  he  has successfully  negotiated  11                                                               
contracts thus  far without a  strike, although he  recalled that                                                               
he  has reached  impasse  at times.   He  offered  that in  those                                                               
instances  he  has  intervened  and  has  been  successful.    In                                                               
response  to Representative  Harris, Mr.  Gamble pointed  out the                                                               
International  Association  of  Machinists  (IAM)  represent  the                                                               
machinists,  currently  working  on  a technology  project  as  a                                                               
result  of a  Congressional mandate  that  is about  a 7,000  man                                                               
hour.   He  related that  the installation  piece was  contracted                                                               
out.   While IAM members  would like to  do the work,  he pointed                                                               
out that he  cannot double the workforce in  order to accommodate                                                               
the union.   Thus, given  the short timeframe, he  has contracted                                                               
out the one-time installation segment  and members are not happy,                                                               
he reiterated.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:18:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  then turned  to Flint  Hills Resources  Alaska (Flint                                                               
Hills).  He explained that the  ARRC could not purchase the Flint                                                               
Hills  refinery without  involving  the  legislature in  numerous                                                               
issues.   He  said,  "It's my  opinion that  the  answer to  that                                                               
question is  no, we could  not go out and  buy Flint Hills."   He                                                               
surmised  that the  capital investment  alone  would require  the                                                               
state  to step  in.    He replied  that  the  ARRC would  receive                                                               
federal economic stimulus funding through  a formula based on the                                                               
number of passenger  coaches and passenger miles.   He emphasized                                                               
that  the funding  is  strictly for  "rail" and  is  based on  60                                                               
percent of  the miles,  which has  been set at  $26 million.   He                                                               
allowed that  he has not yet  taken proposals to the  ARRC board,                                                               
but  related the  federal rules  are explicit.   He  outlined the                                                               
categories are all  related to passengers.  He  recalled that one                                                               
is the  technology project previously  mentioned.  Another  is to                                                               
provide funding  to rebuild  main line  to Fairbanks  and Seward.                                                               
The third  category is  for passenger equipment.   He  noted that                                                               
the  ARRC  is  on  the   same  timelines  as  the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation &  Public Facilities  (DOT&PF) must adhere  to for                                                               
the economic stimulus funding.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  referred to  the fiscal  note and  recalled questions                                                               
about  the  ARRC  issuing  dividends,  which  he  says  comes  up                                                               
periodically.  He  clarified that he testified  in Senate Finance                                                               
Committee  several years  ago about  dividends.   He opined  that                                                               
federal law prohibits the ARRC  from issuing dividends.  However,                                                               
he related that  since the legislature gave  bonding authority to                                                               
the ARRC it has accelerated  the ARRC's building program by about                                                               
ten years.   He further  related that the  ARRC is in  its fourth                                                               
year  of the  six-year upgrade  to rebuild  the line.   Thus,  he                                                               
opined  that  the ARRC  may  have  discretionary capital  dollars                                                               
available.  He  is under discussions with  DOT&PF about instances                                                               
in which  the railroad  has commonality  with roads  and bridges.                                                               
He speculated  that it is  possible the ARRC  could cooperatively                                                               
work  with DOT&PF  to  apply capital  dollars  and those  dollars                                                               
could stretch the DOT&PF funding.   He opined that would be a way                                                               
to contribute  to another department's needs  with capital excess                                                               
while still following the federal  guidelines.  He further opined                                                               
that  could amount  to several  million  dollars a  year for  the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:23:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE   related  that  legislative  oversight   of  federal                                                               
projects could  represent a method  to successfully work  on such                                                               
cooperative projects.   In response  to Chair Wilson,  Mr. Gamble                                                               
related that  the fiscal  note is  $1.3 million,  with subsequent                                                               
funding of $247,000.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL   O'LEARY,   Chief   Financial  Officer,   Alaska   Railroad                                                               
Corporation (ARRC),  referred to  the fiscal  note.   He stressed                                                               
that the fiscal  note was difficult to  prepare since significant                                                               
uncertainty  exists with  respect to  the proposed  ARRC transfer                                                               
under the  Executive Budget Act.   He related that page  2 of the                                                               
fiscal  note  refers  to  five  bullet  points  in  the  analysis                                                               
section.    He  further  related  that items  one  and  two  were                                                               
unquantifiable at this time since  the ARRC structure is unknown.                                                               
He explained  it is possible that  the ARRC could suffer  loss of                                                               
revenue due to  the more rigid budget  guidelines.  Additionally,                                                               
in  discussions with  financial entities,  the ARRC  believe that                                                               
any debt subject to appropriation  could impact pricing on future                                                               
debt  depending  solely  on  the  amount  of  debt  issued.    He                                                               
indicated that the current ARRC  financial system is not designed                                                               
to accommodate  legislative appropriation control of  the state's                                                               
accounting  system.    He related  that  initial  discussions  to                                                               
modify the current  system "have not been promising."   Thus, the                                                               
ARRC anticipates a significant  increment to maintain appropriate                                                               
level  of  control.   He  identified  the ARRC  would  anticipate                                                               
additional staffing in order to  comply with the Executive Budget                                                               
Act.   Finally, the  ARRC anticipates  additional costs  would be                                                               
incurred to  travel to  Juneau to coordinate  with the  Office of                                                               
Management & Budget and the  Department of Commerce, Community, &                                                               
Economic Development during the legislative session.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:27:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS remarked  on  his  earlier comments  about                                                               
arrogance,  which he  described  as comments  from third  parties                                                               
were passed on to him.   He related comments were not directed at                                                               
Mr. Gamble  personally.   He opined  the ARRC  has a  pretty good                                                               
record.  He  indicated the ARRC is an entity  solely owned by the                                                               
state.   He  suggested  since the  ARRC is  tax  exempt, that  it                                                               
competes with the  private sector but not necessarily  on a "fair                                                               
playing field."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  offered his belief  that it  would depend on  who was                                                               
asked.   However,  he affirmed  the  ARRC does  compete with  the                                                               
private sector.   In further  response to  Representative Harris,                                                               
Mr. Gamble agreed the ARRC does not pay property taxes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS inquired as to  how much land the ARRC owns                                                               
that is not currently being used.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE estimated  that the ARRC owns 36,000  acres, with half                                                               
unusable land.   He  related that  approximately 18,000  acres is                                                               
the ARRC plant.  He opined that about 8,000 acres are leasable.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:29:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  related   his  understanding  that  about                                                               
18,000 acres  are not leasable.   He  inquired as to  whether the                                                               
ARRC can sell the land.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE  replied that while  the ARRC does not  prohibit sale,                                                               
that   it  requires   legislative  approval.     He   said,  "The                                                               
legislature  over the  past  23  years has  been  very loathe  to                                                               
consider outright sales, fee simple type sales."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  recalled that  the ARRC owns  18,000 acres                                                               
that has not been earning any money.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE said,  "No necessarily."   He  described a  scenario,                                                               
about  25  miles  north  of  Talkeetna, in  which  the  ARRC  has                                                               
discovered high  quality granite  at a site  where the  road ends                                                               
but the rail  continues into the backcountry.   He mentioned that                                                               
the ARRC  save $700,000 year by  not buying the fill.   He opined                                                               
that  the process  of setting  up the  granite mine  used up  the                                                               
majority of the  5,000 acres at Curry.   However, he acknowledged                                                               
that other areas, somewhat along  the rail could be identified as                                                               
not  being used.   He  mentioned that  the ARRC  has 85  acres in                                                               
Valdez,  with  a  right-of-way  to  the  ocean  used  during  the                                                               
pipeline construction phase  to store pipe, transfer  the pipe to                                                               
trucks  for transport.   He  opined that  the 85  acres has  been                                                               
dormant but  recently the pipeline  companies are  discussing the                                                               
possibility of using the land for  the gasline.  He surmised that                                                               
over the  long run  this represents the  fluctuation of  parts of                                                               
the land endowment depending on development.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:32:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  inquired  as   to  whether  the  ARRC  is                                                               
amenable to sell land.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE  indicated  this  may   be  one  of  the  things  the                                                               
legislature wants to review, and  if so, the ARRC certainly could                                                               
not  say  no without  defense.    He  characterized the  ARRC  as                                                               
stewards of the state land.   He stressed that if the legislature                                                               
gives  the  ARRC that  direction,  that  it  will  take it.    He                                                               
commented that the ARRC board  will certainly want to provide its                                                               
input.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:33:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  remarked that he  had an uncle who  was an                                                               
engineer stationed in Curry years ago.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:33:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  BARRIER,  Executive  Director, Commonwealth  North,  stated                                                               
that he  has studied  the ARRC  since the  mid-80s transfer.   He                                                               
said, "We have  concluded that the structure  that's currently in                                                               
place  for  this  enterprise  seems  to be  working  in  an  very                                                               
effective way to  manage this property."  He affirmed  that it is                                                               
an operating business  that needs to have ability  to be flexible                                                               
to respond  quickly.   He offered  his belief  that the  ARRC has                                                               
done  a pretty  good job.   He  reported that  Commonwealth North                                                               
does not see a need for HB 127  unless there is an issue that has                                                               
not yet been  raised.  However, he opined that  the ARRC seems to                                                               
be functioning well and Commonwealth  North does not see bringing                                                               
it under the state's Executive  Budget Act would be beneficial to                                                               
the railroad or the state.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:35:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON, after  first determining no one  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 127.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:35:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  referred to a handout  titled "COMMENTS ON                                                               
HB  127,  Executive Summary,  submitted  by  the Alaska  Railroad                                                               
Corporation (ARRC)" dated 3/10/09.   He then referred to a bullet                                                               
point that stated making the  ARRC subject to the Executive Budge                                                               
Act may violate the federal  Alaska Railroad Transfer Act (ARTA),                                                               
which specifically  provides that the  ARRC is to  retain control                                                               
of its funds.   He inquired as to whether any  effort to sell the                                                               
Alaska Railroad Corporation would violate the ARTA.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE related  that  the  ARTA was  fully  approved by  the                                                               
legislature.    He  said,  "It   is  my  understanding  that  the                                                               
legislature giveth  and the legislature taketh  away.  Therefore,                                                               
in my  opinion if  the legislature wanted  to make  a fundamental                                                               
change,  it  certainly could."    He  surmised that  the  current                                                               
federal and state  act requires the ARRC to retain  earnings.  He                                                               
surmised that  it might be  necessary to  go to Washington  DC to                                                               
change the federal  law.  He said, "It's not  that it couldn't be                                                               
done."   However, if the  federal law  was not changed,  the ARRC                                                               
may be in violation of a federal statute.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:37:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS related his  understanding that the ARTA is                                                               
a  federal  act.    Thus, if  the  legislature  passed  something                                                               
different, that  it would need Congressional  modification of the                                                               
ARTA.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE related that this is  complex.  He offered his belief,                                                               
items such  as the  one just  raised would  be addressed  at that                                                               
level.   He remarked that  he does not have  a way to  answer the                                                               
question at  this time.  He  acknowledged it could be  flagged as                                                               
an as an issue, but he does not have "a quick answer."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:38:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS related that Wells  Fargo Bank is listed as                                                               
a major customer.   He inquired as to what  dealings the ARRC has                                                               
with Wells Fargo Bank.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE related his understanding that  the ARRC has a line of                                                               
credit  with   Wells  Fargo  Bank.     In  further   response  to                                                               
Representative  Harris,  Mr. Gamble  agreed  it  was a  financial                                                               
deal.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE, Alaska  State Legislature, opined as                                                               
prime sponsor of HB 127, that  the impact of the Executive Budget                                                               
Act  has been  far overstated.    He related  that several  other                                                               
corporate entities  such as the  Aerospace authority,  AIDEA, and                                                               
the AHFC.   He  indicated that  this is  not about  a constituent                                                               
issue.  He emphasized that he has  always been a fan of the ARRC.                                                               
He reiterated his  family history with the ARRC  and his personal                                                               
history of land adjacent to the  railroad.  He offered the reason                                                               
for the  bill is  to address  a broad policy  issue, to  lift the                                                               
corporate veil  of secrecy.   He  opined that  he would  like the                                                               
ARRC  to be  part of  a broad  budget process.   He  related that                                                               
positive  things have  happened simply  by introducing  the bill,                                                               
such as  the Flint Hills  purchase.   He related that  having the                                                               
issue  raised solves  one of  his concerns.   He  reiterated that                                                               
this bill is  to address a broader policy issue.   He opined that                                                               
aloofness is  a better term  than arrogance.  He  recalled rumors                                                               
that this  is a nuisance bill,  which he finds an  affront to the                                                               
legislature process.  He related  this is an institutional change                                                               
but emphasized  that he is not  out to destroy the  ARRC, that he                                                               
wants it  to prosper and  sees the ARRC  as an important  part of                                                               
the transportation network and the state's economy.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN commented that  although other agencies are                                                               
under  the Executive  Budget Act,  but he  was not  aware of  any                                                               
corporations in direct  competition with the public.   He offered                                                               
that  the ARRC  competes with  private  sector.   He offered  his                                                               
belief that  under the Executive  Budget Act the ARRC  would have                                                               
less flexibility  to operate  in the  environment, which  he said                                                               
does not strike  him as a good  thing to do.  He  offered that it                                                               
would be difficult for him to support the bill.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:46:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  moved to  report HB  127 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE Doogan objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:47:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Gruenberg, Johnson,                                                               
Harris, Johansen, Munoz,  and Wilson voted in favor  of moving HB
127   from   the   House   Transportation   Standing   Committee.                                                               
Representatives Doogan voted  against it.  Therefore,  HB 127 was                                                               
reported out of the House  Transportation Standing Committee by a                                                               
vote of 6-1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
ARRC Exec Summary.pdf HTRA 3/12/2009 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 127
ARRC HB127 Commentary.pdf HTRA 3/12/2009 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 127
SB72AAPSupportLetter.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72ABINSupportLetter.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72AkAccidentstats.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB0072B.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72Chart.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB127 Sponsor Stmt.pdf HTRA 3/12/2009 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 127
hb 131 sectional.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 131
hb 131 backup.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 131
hb131 sponsor stmt.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 131
hb131 cs.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 131
SB72OtherStates.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72Sponsor.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72SupportAPOA.PDF HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72SupportLetterAADA.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72SupportLetterPeggyHayashi.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB72SupportLetterSafeKidsAK.pdf HTRA 3/17/2009 1:00:00 PM