Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/13/2001 01:33 PM Senate TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB  59-FEDERAL FUNDS TO MUNICIPALITIES FOR ROADS                                                                   
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced  that SB 59 was heard by the committee at                                                            
a  previous  hearing  but  was  held  while  the  committee  awaited                                                            
information  on the bill.  He asked  Mary Jackson to testify  on the                                                            
MARY JACKSON,  legislative aide to Senator Torgerson,  sponsor of SB
59,  said  at the  last  hearing  a question  was  posed  about  the                                                            
indirect cost  allocation plan.  She  submitted information  to that                                                            
committee  on that question  from a  similar project  in Homer.   In                                                            
addition,  she submitted  a  letter in  support  of SB  59 from  the                                                            
Alaska Municipal League.  She offered to answer questions.                                                                      
There being no questions  or further testimony, SENATOR TAYLOR moved                                                            
SB 59 from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON objected  and  noted  that one  concern  about SB  59                                                            
expressed  at  the  last  hearing  was  that  the  amount  of  money                                                            
available is like  a balloon in that if it is squeezed  in one area,                                                            
it expands  elsewhere.   He asked what  component of transportation                                                             
dollars this money will come from.                                                                                              
MR. TOM BRIGHAM, Statewide  Planning Director, DOTPF, explained that                                                            
the  funds  would  come  from  a part  of  the  program  called  the                                                            
community transportation  program.   That program funds state-owned                                                             
and local-owned community roads.                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked if  that is  the component  DOTPF uses  to work                                                            
with  communities   to  identify   local   projects  that   will  be                                                            
transferred  to those  communities after  the state  has funded  the                                                            
MR. BRIGHAM answered  that applies to a portion of  the program:  to                                                            
projects that  were locally owned  prior to the improvement  project                                                            
that came  along to the tune  of about $50  million in 1999  and $45                                                            
million in 2000.  That  component also covers state-owned roads that                                                            
are transferred  to local communities for ownership  and maintenance                                                            
once the improvement project is done.                                                                                           
SENATOR ELTON  asked whether this bill could affect  DOTPF's ability                                                            
to reduce  future expenses  on those roads  that would otherwise  be                                                            
turned  over to  local communities  and  reduce DOTPF's  ability  to                                                            
accomplish road maintenance projects on the locally-owned roads.                                                                
MR.  BRIGHAM  said  it  could  have some  of  those  effects.    The                                                            
discussion  at the last hearing on  SB 59 was to the point  in terms                                                            
of which  communities  actually have  the capability  of managing  a                                                            
federal project.   Federal funding  is not like a state grant  for a                                                            
road  project, which  is much  simpler. You  only get  a promise  of                                                            
money if  the project is  done correctly.   He thought the  point at                                                            
the  last  meeting  was  that  it  is  the  large  communities  with                                                            
engineering capabilities  that would tend to be eligible for most of                                                            
this money.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON removed his objection.                                                                                            
There being no  further objections, CHAIRMAN COWDERY  announced that                                                            
SB 59 had moved from committee.                                                                                                 

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