Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/07/2003 09:01 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 100                                                                                                        
     "An  Act making capital  appropriations  and reappropriations;                                                             
     capitalizing a fund;  making appropriations under art. IX, sec.                                                            
     17(c),   Constitution  of  the   State  of  Alaska,   from  the                                                            
     constitutional   budget reserve  fund;  and  providing  for  an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was the thirteenth hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance                                                             
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #8:  This amendment is outlined in a memorandum  from Mike                                                            
Barton,  Commissioner,  Department   of Transportation   and  Public                                                            
Facilities  to Cheryl  Frasca, Director,  Office  of Management  and                                                            
Budget dated May 2, 2003, which reads as follows.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The  Department  of Transportation   and Public  Facilities  is                                                            
     requesting  amendments to the capital budget  bills (HB 150 and                                                            
     SB 100) before the Legislature.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Rural Airport Projects                                                                                                     
     The  Department is requesting  the following  changes  to rural                                                            
     airport capital projects:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Amend                                                                                                                      
     Chevak: Snow Removal Equipment Building                                                                                    
          Increase from $50,000 to $200,000 federal receipt                                                                     
     authority. The cost  to build this structure has increased over                                                            
     previous estimates.  This amount is needed in addition to an FY                                                            
     03  appropriation   to  bring  the  total  estimated   cost  to                                                            
     $750,000.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Add                                                                                                                        
     Scammon Bay: Airport Snow Removal Equipment Building                                                                       
          $100,000 federal receipts. Reflects revised Airport                                                                   
     Improvement  Program  request. This  project  will upgrade  the                                                            
     Scammon Bay Snow Removal Equipment Building.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Statewide: Various Airport Snow Removal Equipment                                                                          
          $4,300,000 federal receipts. This was inadvertently                                                                   
     omitted  from the Department's  original  request. The  project                                                            
     provides federal authority  to purchase new or replacement snow                                                            
     removal equipment at several rural airports.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Surface Transportation Projects                                                                                            
     The  Department's current  AMATS [Anchorage  Metropolitan  Area                                                            
     Transportation  Study] and Surface Transportation  requests are                                                            
     $68,734,000 and $416,092,600.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The  following  reductions   are  being  requested  to  various                                                            
     highway projects:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          ($39,906,000) - Over the past year there has been a                                                                   
     decrease in the amount  of federal fuel tax revenues collected,                                                            
     which  have caused  a corresponding  reduction  in the  highway                                                            
     construction  program.  A  reduction  in specific  projects  is                                                            
     being requested to  reflect delays due to the decreased federal                                                            
     funding.                                                                                                                   
          ($48,125,000) - This amendment requests project                                                                       
     reductions  where the Department  has determined that  adequate                                                            
     project  authority already exists  to continue work  through FH                                                            
     04.                                                                                                                        
          ($1,205,000) - Also being requested is a reduction in                                                                 
     TRAAK  [Trails and Recreation  Access  for Alaska] projects  to                                                            
     reflect a program allocation decrease.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The following additions are being requested:                                                                               
          $55,416,000 - New or increased federal project authority                                                              
     is  being requested  where  scope changes,  funding  breakdown,                                                            
     updated estimates or priorities have changed.                                                                              
          $21,700,000 - Project authority is needed for earmarks                                                                
     contained   within   the   recently   approved   congressional                                                             
     appropriation bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Finally,  the amendment contains the elimination  of individual                                                            
     pavement and bridge  projects and combines them into regionwide                                                            
     allocations.  This  will  provide the  regions  flexibility  in                                                            
     determining  their  greater need,  pavement  or bridge  repair.                                                            
     Similar  adjustments  are  taking  place  for AMATS  and  FMATS                                                            
     [Fairbanks  Metropolitan Area  Transportation Study]  projects.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The  net  effect   of  these  amendments  is   a  reduction  of                                                            
     $12,220,000   to   the   AMATS   and  Surface   Transportation                                                             
     appropriation  requests.  A  spreadsheet  with the  changes  is                                                            
     attached [copy on file].                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved for  the adoption of Amendment #8 and objected                                                            
for discussion. He shared  that the Department of Transportation and                                                            
Public Facilities  has submitted this amendment as  the result of an                                                            
expected decrease in FY 04 federal funding.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Amendment to Amendment  #8: This amendment to the amendment proposes                                                            
to alter the  funding methodology  regarding Anchorage Metropolitan                                                             
Area  Transportation   Study  (AMATS)  and  Fairbanks  Metropolitan                                                             
Transportation Study (FMATS).                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved to  amend Amendment  #8. He stated that  this                                                            
motion  is  in  response   to  Committee  questions  regarding   the                                                            
amendment's affect  on AMATS and FMATS. Furthermore,  he stated that                                                            
the effective  date of  June 30,  2003, as referenced  on page  two,                                                            
line eight of  Amendment #8, should be correctly identified  as July                                                            
1, 2003. Co-Chair  Wilken objected  to the motion in order  to allow                                                            
for further explanation.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
At Co-Chair Wilken's request,  Senator B. Stevens explained that the                                                            
amendment  to  the   amendment  would  address  Committee   concerns                                                            
regarding proposed funding  reductions to AMATS and FMATS. He stated                                                            
that upon  discussion  with the  Department,  the determination  was                                                            
made to combine  sections of the budget  pertaining to pavement  and                                                            
bridge refurbishment improvements  and to divvy up that combined $46                                                            
million  in funding  between the  National Highway  System and  non-                                                            
National  Highway   System  entities   also  referred  to   as  non-                                                            
Metropolitan   Planning  Organizations   (non-MPOs)  and   MPOs.  He                                                            
continued  that  due to  the uncertainty  of  the actual  amount  of                                                            
federal funding  that would available,  intent language is  included                                                            
to specify  that AMATS  would be  allocated  its historical  funding                                                            
level of 27 percent and  FMATS would be allocated 6.9 percent of the                                                            
forthcoming  federal funds.  He stated "this  is a good solution  to                                                            
the issue," and  he urged the Committee to support  the amendment to                                                            
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JEFF OTTESEN,  Acting Director,  Statewide  Planning, Department  of                                                            
Transportation  and Public Facilities  stated that the amendment  to                                                            
the amendment  would compress the three regional projects  breakouts                                                            
into a single  line item in the budget. Subsequently,  he continued,                                                            
the intent language  would specify that a pro-rata  system, based on                                                            
the Statewide  Transportation  Improvement  Plan (STIP) formula,  be                                                            
used to distribute  money to the MPOs. Therefore,  he concluded, the                                                            
federal funds  received by the State would be "fairly"  appropriated                                                            
to the non-MPOs and MPOs as these federal funds "rise and fall."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked whether the intent language  would negatively                                                            
affect the  flexibility of  the Department  to allocate funding  and                                                            
potentially jeopardize  construction projects that  might incur cost                                                            
overruns in either Fairbanks or Anchorage.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Ottesen  responded that MPOs are  allocated a specific  quantity                                                            
of money  to manage.  He stated that  were a  project to incur  cost                                                            
overruns, the MPO could  shift funding to it. However, he noted that                                                            
by doing  so, the MPO might  be required  to delay another  project.                                                            
Additionally,  he noted that historically, when large  projects have                                                            
incurred  cost  overruns, MPOs  have  submitted  additional  funding                                                            
requests to the State.  He communicated that, on occasion, the State                                                            
has awarded additional monies to the MPO.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed his objection to the motion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There  being no further  objection,  Amendment #8,  as amended,  was                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #10: This amendment  deletes the  "Alaska Boating  Safety                                                            
(ED [Election District]  99)" component and the $720,000 other funds                                                            
appropriation  from the Department of Natural Resources  on page 27,                                                            
lines 15 and 16.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved for  adoption of Amendment  #10 and  objected                                                            
for  purposes  of explanation.  He  stated  that when  the  original                                                            
Boating  Safety   bill  was  adopted   a  few  years  earlier,   the                                                            
Legislature  understood  that  the  program  would  be  100  percent                                                            
federally funded  and that no additional funds would  be required to                                                            
administer the program.  He communicated that, without affecting the                                                            
federal  contribution,  the State  annually  collects approximately                                                             
$120,000 in  user fees, which are  deposited into the general  fund.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde asked which  boating safety programs would be impacted                                                            
by the funding reduction.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken clarified  that the program's  overall funding  was                                                            
decreased  from the requested  $720,000 to  $600,0000. He  mentioned                                                            
that, at the $600,000  level, the program would receive  essentially                                                            
flat funding,  as its historical funding levels were  $600,000 in FY                                                            
03 and $660,000 each for FY 02 and FY 01.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  questioned the Amendment's wording  as it indicates                                                            
that the entire funding amount of $720,000 would be eliminated.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:12 AM / 9:13 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  to  Amendment  #10: This  amendment  specifies  that  the                                                            
funding level for the Boating Safety Programs would be $600,000.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved to  amend Amendment #10. He concurred that the                                                            
dollar amount  specified in the amendment  is in error. He  moved to                                                            
amend the amendment  to retain the  "Alaska Boating Safety  (ed 99)"                                                            
component and  appropriate $600,000 in federal funds.  He noted that                                                            
the language  being altered  is located on  page 27, line 15  of the                                                            
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, Amendment  #10, as amended, was  ADOPTED.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #11:  This amendment adds  a "Juneau Public Health  Center                                                            
Heating and Ventilation  Upgrades, Phase 2 (ED 3)"  component in the                                                            
Department of  Health and Social Services and appropriates  $647,191                                                            
general funds  and $142,066 federal  funds on page 24. Accompanying                                                             
explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  heating  and  ventilation  systems  at the  Juneau  Public                                                            
     Health  Center are on  the edge of  failure. Restoring  funding                                                            
     for this Governor's  request will complete a phased project for                                                            
     which the legislature  has appropriated startup money in recent                                                            
     years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The current systems  at the Public Health Center are inadequate                                                            
     for patient care,  staff comfort, and the air quality necessary                                                            
     at a  medical facility.  The systems are  in such dire  need of                                                            
     work that  they are out of compliance with building  codes. The                                                            
     existing  stopgap  measures are  expensive  electric  baseboard                                                            
     heaters  and opening  and closing windows.  Should the  systems                                                            
     fail  completely,  patient  care will  be compromised  and  the                                                            
     center may face closure.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Because the heating  and ventilation systems must be completely                                                            
     replaced, further phasing of this project is not possible.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson moved for adoption of Amendment #11.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken objected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson explained  that this  amendment  would address  local                                                            
concerns  regarding  an inadequate  and  non-compliant  air  quality                                                            
system at the medical facility.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  reminded  that  the  State  has  previously  spend                                                            
approximately   $750,000  on  air   quality  improvements   at  this                                                            
facility. He voiced  concern that, were this amendment  adopted, the                                                            
total  amount  spent  on addressing  the  system  would  exceed  one                                                            
million  dollars.  He  suggested  that  perhaps  the  Center  should                                                            
consider  relocating to another  facility,  as the current  system's                                                            
expense  would be  "extraordinary."  He asked the  Committee to  not                                                            
adopt this amendment.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  referenced  previous  comments  made  by  Co-Chair                                                            
Wilken whereby he had specified  that the State would capitalize all                                                            
federal  matching   funds.  Senator   Hoffman  continued   that  the                                                            
amendment denotes that  $142,000 in federal funds would be available                                                            
for this  funding request.  Therefore, he  asked Co-Chair Wilken  to                                                            
comment about not "capturing" these federal funds.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  stated that he was  "in error" when he voiced  that                                                            
the State would  match all federal match money. He  stated that even                                                            
capturing  $142,000 in federal  money "would  not make this  project                                                            
better."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Hoffman and Senator Olson                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED:  Senator B.  Stevens, Senator  Taylor,  Senator Bunde,  Co-                                                            
Chair Green and Co-Chair Wilken                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (2-5)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #11 FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #12: This  amendment  adds a  "Division of  Sport Fish  -                                                            
Lower Kenai  River Public Use Impact  Study" component and  $100,000                                                            
Fish and Game Fund appropriation  to the Department of Fish and Game                                                            
and inserts intent language to read as follows.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     It  is the intent  of the  Legislature that  the Department  of                                                            
     Fish  and Game enter  into an agreement  for services  with the                                                            
     Department  of Natural Resources  to conduct a public  analysis                                                            
     on  the impact  of overcrowding  on  the lower  Kenai River  by                                                            
     recreational user groups.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     This  project  and accompanying  intent  language,  allows  the                                                            
     Department of Fish  and Game to contract with the Department of                                                            
     Natural  Resources  (Department  of Natural  Resources) for  an                                                            
     analysis  on the  impact  of overcrowding  on  the lower  Kenai                                                            
     River by recreational  user groups. The previous Administration                                                            
     imposed  a hasty guide  moratorium on  the Kenai River  and the                                                            
     current Administration  rescinded that moratorium. This project                                                            
     will  enable the Department  of Natural  Resources to  seek the                                                            
     input of  recreational users and businesses before  any further                                                            
     use restrictions are imposed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  also  adds a "Division  of Wildlife  Conservation  -                                                            
Laboratory  Remodel"  component  and  $150,000  Fish and  Game  Fund                                                            
appropriation  for the  Department  of Fish and  Game. Accompanying                                                             
explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     This  project was  submitted by  the Office  of Management  and                                                            
     Budget  on March 24, 2003. Backup  is attached [not  provided.]                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to adopt  Amendment #12.  He commented  that                                                            
this amendment  would  result in a  net zero change  in the  capital                                                            
budget. He  clarified that in order  to act upon Amendment  #12, the                                                            
Committee  would  be required  to  rescind  its previous  action  on                                                            
Amendment  #6  which  specifies  that  the  fund  recipient  be  the                                                            
Department  of Natural Resources.  He explained  that Amendment  #12                                                            
correctly  specifies   that  the  recipient  of  the  funds  be  the                                                            
Department  of  Fish and  Game.  He  clarified  that the  change  is                                                            
required because State  statutes require Department of Fish and Game                                                            
funds to be tunneled through the Department of Fish and Game.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In  order to  act on  Amendment  #6, Co-Chair  Wilken  withdrew  his                                                            
motion to adopt Amendment #12.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Without objection, Amendment #12 was WITHDRAWN.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #6: This  amendment  adds a  "Division of  Parks -  Lower                                                            
Kenai River  Public Use  Impact Study" component  and $100,000  Fish                                                            
and Game Fund  appropriation to the Department of  Natural Resources                                                            
on page 27. Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     This  project allows  the Department  of  Natural Resources  to                                                            
     conduct a public analysis  on the impact of overcrowding on the                                                            
     lower  Kenai River by  recreational user  groups. The  previous                                                            
     administration  imposed a hasty  guide moratorium on  the Kenai                                                            
     River   and   the   current   administration   rescinded   that                                                            
     moratorium. This CIP  [Capital Improvement Project] will enable                                                            
     the  Department to  seek the  input of  recreational users  and                                                            
     businesses before any further use restrictions are imposed.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  also  adds a "Division  of Wildlife  Conservation  -                                                            
Laboratory  Remodel"  component  and  $150,000  Fish and  Game  Fund                                                            
appropriation  to  the  Department  of Fish  and  Game on  page  23.                                                            
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     This CIP request was  submitted by the Office of Management and                                                            
     Budget  on March 24, 2003. Backup  is attached [copy  on file.]                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  moved to rescind Committee  action on Amendment  #6.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, the  action  to adopt  Amendment #6  was                                                            
RESCINDED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #12 was again before the Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  for  the  adoption  of  Amendment  #12.  He                                                            
clarified  that the language  in Amendment  #12 specifies that  that                                                            
the funds  be allocated to  the Department  of Fish and Game  rather                                                            
than the Department  of Natural Resources as incorrectly  identified                                                            
in Amendment #6.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
In response  to  a question  from  Senator Taylor,  Co-Chair  Wilken                                                            
stated that  the funds in question  are Department of Fish  and Game                                                            
funds monies  and would result "in  net zero" affect on the  budget.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment 12 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Amendment   #13:  This  amendment   deletes  the  "Municipality   of                                                            
                                                   th                                                                           
Anchorage - Laurel St. Upgrade, Dowling Rd. to 64 Avenue (ED 17-                                                                
32)" component  in the Grants to Municipalities  (AS 37.05.315)  BRU                                                            
and $270,000  general fund appropriation  on page 9, lines  13 - 16.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
This  amendment   also  inserts  a  "Municipality   of  Anchorage  -                                                            
Raspberry Road Upgrade,  Minnesota Drive to Arctic Boulevard (ED 17-                                                            
32)"  component   in  the  in  the  Grants  to  Municipalities   (AS                                                            
37.05.315)  BRU on page 9, lines 13  - 16 and appropriates  $270,000                                                            
general funds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     According  to the Municipality  of Anchorage, sufficient  local                                                            
     bond  funding  is  available  to  complete  the  Laurel  Street                                                            
     Upgrade.  This  amendment  would  utilize  $270,000  previously                                                            
     identified  for Laurel Street  Upgrade to fund the State  owned                                                            
     portion of the Raspberry Road Upgrade project.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  for  the  adoption  of  Amendment  #13  and                                                            
objected  for  explanation.  He  stated  that this  is  a  technical                                                            
amendment to redirect funding  to upgrade Raspberry Road rather than                                                            
Laurel Street in Anchorage.  He noted that the funding element would                                                            
remain constant.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed his objection.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment #13 was ADOPTED.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #14:  This amendment to  the Department of Transportation                                                             
and Public Facilities budget is outlined in a letter to the co-                                                                 
chairs  of  the Senate  Finance  Committee  and  the  House  Finance                                                            
Committee  from Cheryl Frasca,  Director,  Office of Management  and                                                            
Budget, dated May 6, 2003, as follows.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Amendment 1                                                                                                                
     Amends the title of the Surface Transportation Program                                                                     
     allocation                                                                                                                 
     From:                                                                                                                      
     "Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation System 2004                                                                    
     Preventative Maintenance on State Roads"                                                                                   
     To:                                                                                                                        
     "Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation System 2004                                                                    
     Preventative Maintenance State and Local Roads"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Amendment 2                                                                                                                
     Amends the title of the Surface Transportation Program                                                                     
     allocation                                                                                                                 
     From:                                                                                                                      
     "Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System 2004                                                                    
     Preventative Maintenance on State Roads"                                                                                   
     To:                                                                                                                        
     "Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System 2004                                                                    
     Preventative Maintenance State and Local Roads"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[Note: The components are  not specified in the committee substitute                                                            
as indicated.]                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  presented  Amendment  #14 on  behalf  of  Governor                                                            
Murkowski's Administration.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  communicated that this is a technical  amendment in                                                            
that  it  would expand  some  previously  adopted  AMATS  and  FMATS                                                            
project  titles to  include preventive  road  maintenance for  local                                                            
roads, in addition to State roads.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  asked for clarification that this  is a title change                                                            
rather than a reappropriation of funds.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stevens verified  that the  projects  have previously  been                                                            
approved  in the  legislation  and  that this  action  "is simply  a                                                            
technical correction."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #14 was ADOPTED.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #15: This amendment  adds a "City of Palmer - Eagle Avenue                                                            
Improvement   (ED  13-16)  component   and  $200,000  general   fund                                                            
appropriation to the Grants  to Municipalities (AS 37.05.315) BRU on                                                            
page 3, lines 21 and 22.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  also reduces the general fund appropriations  in the                                                            
following  amounts  to the  following components  in  the Grants  to                                                            
Municipalities (AS 37.05.315) BRU.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, lines 23 - 25                                                                                                      
     City of Wasilla - Gravel to Asphalt Road Program (ED 13-16)                                                                
     Reduce $250,000 to $150,000                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, lines 26 - 28                                                                                                      
     City of Wasilla - Maintenance Building (ED 13-16)                                                                          
     Reduce $200,000 to $150,000                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, lines 29 and 30                                                                                                    
     City of Wasilla - Sports Arena Equipment (ED 13-16)                                                                        
     Reduce $75,000 to $25,000                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The net  impact of this amendment  to CS SB 100 (FIN)  is zero.                                                            
     Eagle Avenue  is a significant collector street  connecting the                                                            
     Glenn Highway  with north Palmer neighborhoods  and the Sherrod                                                            
     School  and Swanson School complex.  The street is presently  a                                                            
     gravel  street.  This project  will reconstruct  approximately                                                             
     2,000 feet of Eagle  Avenue from the Glenn Highway to the North                                                            
     Valley  Way intersection  to a paved  street with drainage  and                                                            
     sidewalk  improvements. This  project is important to  the City                                                            
     as a new  elementary school located at the end  of Eagle Avenue                                                            
     is opening in the fall of 2003.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green moved to adopt Amendment #15.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken objected for an explanation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green stated that  this amendment  would shift some  funds                                                            
from the City of Wasilla  to support a street project in the City of                                                            
Palmer.  She  noted   that  the  amendment  is  supported   by  both                                                            
communities and would produce a net zero affect on the budget.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed his objection.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment #15 was ADOPTED.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #16: This amendment  adds a  "Federally Funded  Landowner                                                            
Incentive Program  - Bristol Bay/North Aleutians project"  component                                                            
and $1,642,500  federal funds to the Department of  Fish and Game on                                                            
page 23, line 21.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman moved to adopt Amendment #16.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken objected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  spoke to  the  amendment  by specifying  that  the                                                            
amendment would  provide $1.6 million  in federal funds to  purchase                                                            
land. He informed  the Committee that  several land user  groups are                                                            
participating in this project.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  noted that a $500,000 [unspecified]  match would be                                                            
required  in order to  receive $1.6  million in  federal funds  with                                                            
which  to purchase  conservation easements  on private  land in  the                                                            
Dillingham/Bristol  Bay  region. He  reminded the  Committee of  its                                                            
"considerable  discussions"  regarding the  removal of private  land                                                            
from tax rolls and from  potential development. He stated that these                                                            
are the primary reasons for his objection to the amendment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  understood that the  vast majority of the  affected                                                            
land would remain in private ownership.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken agreed,  but asserted that the conservation easement                                                            
might hinder future development of the land.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT  WALKER,  Staff  to  Senator  Lyman  Hoffman,  informed  that  a                                                            
coalition comprised  of fishing guides,  local Native Corporations,                                                             
and local  community entities  has been formed  in Southwest  Alaska                                                            
with the  intent of  furthering  fishing and  sporting endeavors  to                                                            
provide future economic development opportunities in the region.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  understood that a conservation easement  "would not                                                            
allow future development of the land."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Walker responded that  the intent of the coalition is to open up                                                            
the region to these activities.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor inquired  as  to how an  easement  would affect  the                                                            
viability  of the  land; specifically  how would  it "make  property                                                            
better or worse."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Walker  stated that the  coalition is  working to avoid  adverse                                                            
impacts on the land.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor asked  for further  information  regarding  possible                                                            
adverse impacts.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Walker responded that pollution might be an adverse impact.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor stated,  "that  development  could  only happen"  if                                                            
private owners  chose to sell the  land to developers or  develop it                                                            
themselves.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Walker  clarified  that  the  Southwest   Alaska  coalition  is                                                            
comprised  of a multitude  of people in the  area including  private                                                            
landowners.  She noted that a resolution  [copy on file]  in support                                                            
of the easement has been provided with the amendment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  stated that,  without these  funds, the land  could                                                            
not be purchased and utilized  to enhance the economy of the region.                                                            
He asked  Ms. Walker how  the status of the  land would be  affected                                                            
were it not purchased.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Walker responded that she is unsure of the affect.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  understood  that 10,000  acres  of land  could  be                                                            
purchased;  however,  he attested  that  the  acreage  has not  been                                                            
identified.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  commented that, "realistically  … the only  industry"                                                            
that could  be developed in this region  would be sport fishing  and                                                            
sport hunting. He voiced  that granting conservation easements would                                                            
have "little negative impact."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken characterized  this situation  as a "policy  call,"                                                            
since this transaction would involve mainly federal funds.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor  asked  for  examples of  the  entities  that  would                                                            
provide the matching funds.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Walker stated  that, in addition to the $1.6 million  in federal                                                            
funds,   a  $500,000   local  match,   including   money  from   the                                                            
Conservation   Fund,  would  be  required.   She  stated   that  the                                                            
Department of  Fish and Game has been working with  the Conservation                                                            
Fund on this issue.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor   asked  for  further   information  regarding   the                                                            
Conservation Fund organization.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  noted that he could  provide information  [copy not                                                            
provided] regarding  the Conservation Fund and the  Southwest Alaska                                                            
Coalition to Committee members.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stevens  asked  the  current titleholder   of the  land  in                                                            
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  responded that the land is private  property and he                                                            
assumed that it belonged to a Native corporation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  removed his motion to adopt Amendment  #16 in order                                                            
to obtain further information to present to the Committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection,  the motion  to adopt  Amendment #16  was                                                            
WITHDRAWN.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Wilken  stated   that  the  information   regarding   the                                                            
Conservation  Fund  and  the Southwest  Alaska  Coalition  would  be                                                            
provided to Members.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                

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