Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/03/2009 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 100 Out of Committee
Moved SB 73 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 59(TRA) Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 51(TRA) Out of Committee
               SB  59 - LOW-SPEED MOTOR VEHICLES                                                                            
1:16:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KOOKESH announced  the consideration of SB 59  and asked for                                                              
motion to adopt the committee substitute (CS).                                                                                  
SENATOR  PASKVAN  moved  to  adopt  CS  for  SB  59,  labeled  26-                                                              
LS0280\T, as the working document before the committee.                                                                         
1:16:57 PM                                                                                                                    
WESTON  EILER,   Staff  to  Senator  Stedman,  explained   the  CS                                                              
incorporates  the comments  and concerns  raised by the  committee                                                              
and  the  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities.                                                              
Specifically,  the  bill now  limits  the expansion  of  low-speed                                                              
vehicles to  municipalities with  populations of less  than 25,000                                                              
people  and  they may  not  be  connected  by major  arteries  and                                                              
highways  to Anchorage  or Fairbanks.  Safety  concerns that  were                                                              
raised  have been  addressed  as well  as  concerns about  traffic                                                              
density. The  bill will  still allow  small communities  to expand                                                              
and  have  sustainable  transportation   with  low-speed  vehicles                                                              
including areas of  the unorganized borough that are  off the road                                                              
CHAIR KOOKESH  asked if  the administration  has further  problems                                                              
with the bill.                                                                                                                  
MR. EILER  replied they worked  with DOTPF and incorporated  their                                                              
concerns so there is agreement.                                                                                                 
1:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ROGER  HEALY, Chief  Engineer,  Department  of Transportation  and                                                              
Public  Facilities, said,  "The department  is in  support of  the                                                              
scope and  intent of  this bill." They  are always concerned  with                                                              
vehicles  that  travel  at different  speeds  but  recognize  that                                                              
rights of way have  to accommodate a number of uses.  "This is one                                                              
we're willing to support," he said.                                                                                             
1:19:39 PM                                                                                                                    
GERALD  HERBRANDSON,  representing  himself, Petersburg,  said  he                                                              
has an  alternative  energy company  and he has  sold 9  low-speed                                                              
vehicles  in the community.  He  supports the  draft CS but  would                                                              
recommend  that the  state make  a positive  statement about  low-                                                              
speed vehicles  and energy conservation  and allow the use  in all                                                              
communities  of 25,000 population  or less,  unless the  community                                                              
chooses to exempt itself.                                                                                                       
CHAIR KOOKESH  noted that  a representative  from the  Division of                                                              
Motor Vehicles is online to answer questions.                                                                                   
1:21:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGAN  PASTERNAK,   representing   herself,  Sitka,  thanked   the                                                              
sponsor  and  his  staff  for  their work  on  the  bill  and  the                                                              
committee  for  holding  a  hearing.  She  has  been  a  low-speed                                                              
electric vehicle  owner and driver  for more than a  year. Besides                                                              
the 12  known low-speed  vehicles in  Southeast Alaska,  there are                                                              
also 2  in Kodiak and  possibly more throughout  the state.  SB 59                                                              
is  about  more than  just  cheap  transportation;  it is  a  much                                                              
needed  step   to  help  eliminate   pollution  and   protect  the                                                              
environment. This  will encourage others to buy  and use low-speed                                                              
vehicles. She  is a  very conscientious driver  and is  sure other                                                              
low-speed  vehicle   drivers  are  similarly   conscientious.  Her                                                              
understanding of  why they are safe  is that they  are lightweight                                                              
and "when  involved in  a crash  they tend  to bounce away  rather                                                              
than take the full impact force."                                                                                               
1:23:41 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW  TONES,  Executive Director,  Sitka  Conservation  Society,                                                              
said  the  700  conservation  members   in  Sitka  have  expressed                                                              
considerable interest  in being able  to use electric  vehicles in                                                              
town. A  number of  Sitkans have  either bought electric  vehicles                                                              
or  converted  their  cars  from   gas-powered  to  electric.  The                                                              
National  Park  Service  and  the   U.S.  Coast  Guard  also  have                                                              
electric  vehicles  in Sitka.  Making  it  possible to  use  these                                                              
vehicles  and sending  a  message to  auto  manufacturers and  the                                                              
federal government  that laws are  needed to allow  these vehicles                                                              
is a tremendous step forward, he said.                                                                                          
CHAIR  KOOKESH  closed  public   testimony  and  opened  committee                                                              
1:25:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN  commented that it's  becoming an issue  that more                                                              
vehicles aren't  paying their fair share for  highway maintenance.                                                              
Historically  highway  maintenance   has  been  paid  for  through                                                              
federal and  state motor vehicle  tax. He questioned  how roadways                                                              
will  be  maintained  if  vehicles  aren't  paying  motor  vehicle                                                              
CHAIR KOOKESH asked the will of the committee.                                                                                  
SENATOR MEYER  moved to report SB  59, \T version,  from committee                                                              
with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  fiscal  note(s).                                                              
There  being no  objection,  CSSB 59(TRA)  moved  from the  Senate                                                              
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              

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