Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/30/2002 01:36 PM Senate TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                 SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE                                                                              
                         April 30, 2002                                                                                         
                            1:36 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Cowdery, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 374                                                                                                              
"An Act naming the David Douthit Veterans' Memorial Bridge."                                                                    
     MOVED HB 374 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 362                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to rights-of-way."                                                                                             
     MOVED SB 362 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 271                                                                                                             
"An Act  establishing the  Alaska Marine  and Rail  Transportation                                                              
Authority; establishing  the marine and rail  transportation fund;                                                              
relating to  ferries and ferry  terminals; relating to  the Alaska                                                              
Railroad Corporation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
     MOVED CSSB 271(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 32                                                                                                  
Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                                 
relating to a marine and rail transportation fund.                                                                              
     MOVED CSSJR 32(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 474(RES)                                                                                    
"An Act relating to public rights-of-way and easements for                                                                      
surface transportation affecting the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife                                                                 
     MOVED SCS CSHB 474(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 397(STA)                                                                                                  
"An Act exempting a person driving certain motor vehicles,                                                                      
aircraft, or watercraft from driver licensing requirements; and                                                                 
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED SCS CSHB 397(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                              
HB 374 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/11/02.                                                                               
SB 362 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
SB 271 - See Transportation minutes dated 2/26/02.                                                                              
SJR 32 - See Transportation minutes dated 2/26/02.                                                                              
HB 474 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HB 397 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 374                                                                                         
Ms. Vicki Kindseth                                                                                                              
Staff to Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 362.                                                                                      
Mr. Bob Doll, Director                                                                                                          
Southeast Region                                                                                                                
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 271.                                                                                           
Mr. Lauren Gehrhart                                                                                                             
Southeast Conference                                                                                                            
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 271.                                                                                           
Ms. Carol Carroll                                                                                                               
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
400 Willoughby Ave.                                                                                                             
Juneau, AK  99801-1724                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 271.                                                                                      
Mr. Bob Loeffler, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
550 W 7th Ave., Ste 1070                                                                                                        
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 271.                                                                                      
Mr. Dick Mylius                                                                                                                 
Resource Assessment and Development Manager                                                                                     
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
550 W 7th Ave., Ste 1070                                                                                                        
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 271.                                                                                      
Mr. Craig Puddicombe                                                                                                            
POB 225                                                                                                                         
Palmer AK 00645                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 362.                                                                                         
Mr. Mike Conner                                                                                                                 
HC04 Box 7094                                                                                                                   
Palmer AK 99645                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 362.                                                                                           
Mr. James Kracker                                                                                                               
POB 1888                                                                                                                        
Palmer AK 99645                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 362.                                                                                           
Ms. JoAnne Fitzgerald                                                                                                           
HC34 Box 2259                                                                                                                   
Wasilla AK 99654                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 362.                                                                                           
Mr. Ken Fitzgerald                                                                                                              
HC34 Box 2259                                                                                                                   
Wasilla AK 99654                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 362.                                                                                           
Mr. Jack Dunham                                                                                                                 
POB 615                                                                                                                         
Palmer AK 99654                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 362.                                                                                      
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 474.                                                                                        
Mr. Chip Dennerlein, Director                                                                                                   
Division of Habitat and Restoration                                                                                             
Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                       
PO Box 25526                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99802-5226                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 474.                                                                                      
Mr. Dennis Poshard, Legislative Liaison                                                                                         
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 474.                                                                                           
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 397.                                                                                        
Mr. Del Smith, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
PO Box 111200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-1200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 397.                                                                                      
Mr. Frank Sacco                                                                                                                 
Alaska Native Medical Center                                                                                                    
13040 VanScheber Dr.                                                                                                            
Anchorage AK 99516                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 397 and childrens' helmet                                                                 
Ms. Mary Leemhuis                                                                                                               
Alaska Native Health Center                                                                                                     
4315 Diplomacy Dr.                                                                                                              
Anchorage AK 99508                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 397.                                                                                      
Mr. Bill Reed, Surgeon                                                                                                          
Providence Regional Hospital                                                                                                    
8701 Sultana Dr.                                                                                                                
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 397.                                                                                     
Mr. Steve Tower, Orthopedic Surgeon                                                                                             
Alaska State Medical Association                                                                                                
7645 Griffin St.                                                                                                                
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 397.                                                                                      
Mr. Charles Hosack, Deputy Director                                                                                             
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: No position on HB 397.                                                                                    
Mr. Scott Hamann                                                                                                                
PO Box 934                                                                                                                      
Kenai AK 99611                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 397.                                                                                     
Mr. Mike Krieber                                                                                                                
Staff to Representative Kohring                                                                                                 
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 397.                                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-19, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
         HB 374-NAMING DOUTHIT VETERANS' MEMORIAL BRIDGE                                                                    
CHAIRMAN JOHN  COWDERY called the Senate Transportation  Committee                                                            
meeting to  order at 1:36 p.m. and  announced HB 374 to  be up for                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KEN  LANCASTER,   sponsor  of  HB  374,  said  the                                                              
designated  bridge spans  the Kenai  River  at Soldotna.  Sergeant                                                              
David Douthit  is the  only Alaskan  to give  his life during  the                                                              
1991 Gulf  War. He died  on February 27,  1991 and is  survived by                                                              
his widow,  Jesse, their  daughter, Rebecca,  and his parents  who                                                              
continue to live in Soldotna.                                                                                                   
SENTOR WARD moved to pass HB 374  out of committee with individual                                                              
recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                
          SB 362-VACATE RS2477 RIGHT OF WAY ON USS 5265                                                                     
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced SB 362 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
MS. VICKI  KINDSETH, staff  to Senator Lyda  Green, sponsor  of SB
362, said the  legislation was introduced to address  the concerns                                                              
of Mr.  Craig Puddicombe and his  partner, Mr. Jack  Dunham, about                                                              
the  RS2477  right-of-way  through  their  property  on  the  Knik                                                              
Glacier Trail,  USS 5265, Section  34, Township 16 North,  Range 5                                                              
East, Seward Meridian. She explained:                                                                                           
     Mr.  Puddicombe  came  to our  office  after  exhausting                                                                   
     efforts through  DNR to accomplish  a vacate  process on                                                                   
     his property in the Mat-Su.                                                                                                
     The Knik  Glacier Trail begins  in Palmer and ends  at a                                                                   
     mining  camp  located  approximately  3 miles  up  Metal                                                                   
     Creek  and  was used  as  a continuous  route.  However,                                                                   
     there is  an existing RS2477  recognized by DNR  for the                                                                   
     area since 1995  that does not go through  USS 5265. The                                                                   
     intent of  this bill is to  vacate an RS2477  on private                                                                   
     property when  there is already an existing  established                                                                   
     RS2477 route  for the area  that provides access  around                                                                   
     private property.                                                                                                          
     The vacation of rights-of-way  is found in AS 19.30.410.                                                                   
     The vacate may be approved by the legislature.                                                                             
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced that they  would hear the bill later in                                                              
the meeting when the teleconference difficulties were fixed.                                                                    
         SB 271-MARINE AND RAIL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY                                                                    
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced SB 271 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
SENATOR  WARD, sponsor  of SB  271,  moved to  adopt the  proposed                                                              
committee  substitute   (CS)  to   SB  271,  Version   C,  labeled                                                              
Utermohle,  4/19/02.  There  were  no  objections and  it  was  so                                                              
ordered [TAPING DIFFICULTIES].                                                                                                  
He said  he thought it  is in the best  interests of the  State of                                                              
Alaska  to form  an authority,  give it  a half  million acres  of                                                              
ground and start  the ferry system on its way to  becoming a self-                                                              
sufficient  transportation system.  After talking  to members,  it                                                              
became clear  that combining  the Alaska  Railroad and  the Alaska                                                              
Marine  Highway System  (AMHS)  would not  happen  so a  committee                                                              
substitute was drafted to remove the Alaska Railroad.                                                                           
MR. BOB DOLL, Director, Southeast Region, Department of                                                                         
Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF), said:                                                                             
     The bill has two major impacts.  First, it creates a new                                                                   
     administrative  and  operating  regime  for  the  Alaska                                                                   
     Marine  Highway System.  That new  regime would  isolate                                                                   
     the  Marine  Highway  System  from  the  public  contact                                                                   
     process that  the department has  in place and  which we                                                                   
     believe should be maintained and strengthened.                                                                             
     Secondly, it attempts to create  a funding mechanism for                                                                   
     the Marine Highway  through the sale of public  land. In                                                                   
     the  light of  these primary  impacts in  the bill,  the                                                                   
     department does not support SB 271.                                                                                        
     With regard  to funding the  Marine Highway  through the                                                                   
     sale  of  land,  I'll  be  brief  since  that's  not  my                                                                   
     expertise.  Land located  along  the railroad  right-of-                                                                   
     way,  of course,  has an  inherent value  from the  fact                                                                   
     that it is  linked to a transportation method  that also                                                                   
     links  the  communities  along  the  way.  There  is  no                                                                   
     analogy for  the Marine Highway  System's routes.  It is                                                                   
     our understanding  that the  land contemplated  for sale                                                                   
     by  SB  271  is  already  available  for  sale.  We  are                                                                   
     skeptical that  SB 271 would create a market  for public                                                                   
     land  that  does  not  already exist.  If  the  land  in                                                                   
     question does,  in fact, find buyers, the  resource will                                                                   
     have a finite life that we'll  eventually find ourselves                                                                   
     in much the same circumstances as today.                                                                                   
     Turning to the operating regime  for the Marine Highway,                                                                   
     there are a  number of issues that the bill  raises. The                                                                   
     first is that  the bill would remove the  Marine Highway                                                                   
     from the  Department of  Transportation. The  Department                                                                   
     is  the  logical  location  for  an  organization  whose                                                                   
     primary function  is to provide a public  transportation                                                                   
     system,  one  that is  responsive  to public  needs  and                                                                   
     imaginative  in meeting them.  The creation of  a Marine                                                                   
     Highway Authority will not improve  public access to the                                                                   
     Marine  Highway  operations   and  planning,  but  would                                                                   
     rather  isolate it  in its direction  from the  public's                                                                   
     influence.  We  believe  such  an isolation  is  not  in                                                                   
     Alaska's interest.                                                                                                         
     Secondly,  the  bill  sets  up  a  new  competition  for                                                                   
     federal  funds, the  results of which  are difficult  to                                                                   
     predict.  Currently, the  Department is  by federal  law                                                                   
     the  conduit  by which  federal  highway  transportation                                                                   
     funds   are  allocated   to   the  state.   Within   the                                                                   
     Department, the  Marine Highway competes with  all other                                                                   
     transportation modes for the  use of those funds and, to                                                                   
     date,   the   Marine   Highway    has   competed   quite                                                                   
     successfully.  The  bill  provides  for  Marine  Highway                                                                   
     Authority  participation  in the  Department's  planning                                                                   
     process,  but the  Department would  have a  drastically                                                                   
     reduced  interest in  the operation  and maintenance  of                                                                   
     the Marine Highway System.                                                                                                 
     I have  real concerns about  the continued ability  of a                                                                   
     Marine Highway Authority to  compete for federal funding                                                                   
     in  a department  from which  it has  been severed.  The                                                                   
     bill  does  nothing  to  change   the  Marine  Highway's                                                                   
     dependence  upon legislative  support  for its  mission.                                                                   
     Even if  the funding scheme  for land sales  were wildly                                                                   
     successful, approval  by the legislature would  still be                                                                   
     required for  the annual [indisc.]  and for most  of the                                                                   
     remaining  functions  now  performed   with  legislative                                                                   
     authorization. Its employee  organizations would bargain                                                                   
     collectively with a board of  directors, but the outcome                                                                   
     would still require ratification  by the legislature. It                                                                   
     is  not apparent  to us  how the  Marine Highway  System                                                                   
     would  benefit  from  an  isolation   of  the  executive                                                                   
     functions   while   preserving    intact   its   current                                                                   
     relationship with the legislature.                                                                                         
     In   summary,  Mr.   Chairman,  we   believe  that   the                                                                   
     relocation of the Marine Highway  under a Marine Highway                                                                   
     Authority would  degrade rather than improve  the marine                                                                   
     highway   needs  of  Alaskans.   It  will  not   improve                                                                   
     [indisc.]  nor improve the  system's ability to  attract                                                                   
     and  retain the  competent and  dependable employees  it                                                                   
     requires. Further,  it will weaken the  Marine Highway's                                                                   
     ability  to  compete  with federal  funding  and  create                                                                   
     tensions among  transportation objectives, which  do not                                                                   
     now  exist. Thank  you for  your attention  and I'll  be                                                                   
     happy to address any questions the committee may have.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked if this bill passes, whether the resources                                                               
it generates will go to the Marine Highway System.                                                                              
MR. DOLL replied that he thought that was the intention.                                                                        
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked him if the Marine Highway System is                                                                      
healthy enough that it does not need any new sources of dollars.                                                                
MR. DOLL replied, "We've always had a requirement to appear                                                                     
before the legislature for public funding, yes."                                                                                
CHAIRMAN COWDERY  asked whether  he would he  support the  bill if                                                              
the Marine Highway System was removed from the executive budget.                                                                
MR. DOLL replied  that he would have to examine the  outcome as he                                                              
wasn't sure of all of the implications.                                                                                         
SENATOR ELTON said he was interested  in Mr. Doll's comments about                                                              
the sale  of land being  inadequate to  sustain the operations  of                                                              
the Marine Highway  System. He said he didn't see  anything in the                                                              
bill  that  addresses the  sale  of  land  other than  giving  the                                                              
Authority  the ability  to turn  land  back to  the Department  of                                                              
Natural Resources for sale with the  proceeds of the sale going to                                                              
the original land  owner, not to the Authority. He  asked Mr. Doll                                                              
or the sponsor to point out the provision  that allows the sale of                                                              
land to generate funds for the Authority.                                                                                       
MR. DOLL replied  that he was relying on AS 37.14.570  on page 20.                                                              
He thought that was what that fund was intended to do.                                                                          
SENATOR WARD said that is correct; that is the intention.                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON said  the section that provides  for the Acquisition                                                              
and Management of Property on page  6, line 15, of Version C gives                                                              
the Authority  the ability  to purchase  property in AS  19.55.230                                                              
when  it addresses  the disposal  of land  or rights  in land.  It                                                              
     The  Authority  may  vacate   land  or  rights  in  land                                                                   
     acquired  for  the  Alaska   Marine  Highway  System  by                                                                   
     executing   and  filing  a   deed  in  the   appropriate                                                                   
     recording district. Upon vacating,  title reverts to the                                                                   
     person's  heirs, successors  or assigns  in whom it  was                                                                   
     vested  at the  time of  the taking.  The Authority  may                                                                   
     also transfer land not considered  necessary for the use                                                                   
     by the  Alaska Marine Highway  System to the  Department                                                                   
     of Natural  Resources for disposal with the  proceeds of                                                                   
     disposal credited  to the funds from which  the purchase                                                                   
     of the land was originally made.                                                                                           
He thought  that meant that  if they  dispose of land,  they don't                                                              
have access to the proceeds from the disposal of it.                                                                            
SENATOR WARD responded:                                                                                                         
     If  they give  the  land to  the Department  of  Natural                                                                   
     Resources to  sell it, it's  credited to the  funds from                                                                   
     which  the purchase  of land  was  originally made  that                                                                   
     would revert  back to the  original fund that  is within                                                                   
     the Authority's  jurisdiction to spend. That  is the way                                                                   
     the drafter said  to do this. That's the  procedure that                                                                   
     you actually  go through  in order  to get the  proceeds                                                                   
     back into the fund that the  Authority has the authority                                                                   
     over  to extend.  That absolutely  was  the intent.  The                                                                   
     intent  was  to  give  a  half  million  acres  to  this                                                                   
     Authority  and for them  sell it,  lease it, barter  it,                                                                   
     exchange  it, chop trees  down on it,  pave over  it, do                                                                   
     whatever they  want, but to start deriving  some kind of                                                                   
     income off of the half million acres.                                                                                      
SENATOR ELTON asked Mr. Doll what  the relationship is now between                                                              
the  Marine Highway  System and  the national  highway system  and                                                              
whether  the   state  could   be  in   danger  of  severing   that                                                              
relationship by the establishment of an authority.                                                                              
MR. DOLL replied:                                                                                                               
     Each   state   highway   agency,   the   Department   of                                                                   
     Transportation   in   our   case,   is   the   federally                                                                   
     statutorily  required  channel   through  which  federal                                                                   
     transportation funds  flow. The only exception  is where                                                                   
     there may be a local municipal  transportation authority                                                                   
     of which Anchorage  is the only example in  Alaska. That                                                                   
     relationship  would  not  be  disturbed,  but  the  bill                                                                   
     attempts to  assert the interests of the  Marine Highway                                                                   
     by making  very specific  the Authority's  participation                                                                   
     in the Department's  planning process, which  of course,                                                                   
     also includes  programming funds.  Thus far that  system                                                                   
     has worked  quite well,  in my  view. The Department,  I                                                                   
     think has  been generous with regard to  federal highway                                                                   
     funds and maintaining particularly  in recent years when                                                                   
     we've had  to go to a great  deal of effort to  keep the                                                                   
     ships regulatorily  compliant. A  lot of money  has gone                                                                   
     into that process.                                                                                                         
     If the Authority  is set up as a separate  agency within                                                                   
     the  state, and  if the  department has  no interest  or                                                                   
     concern  for its  operation,  I'm apprehensive  that  in                                                                   
     some   future   relationship   the  interests   of   the                                                                   
     Department and  the Marine Highway will be  reflected in                                                                   
     a  degree to  which it  supports the  division of  those                                                                   
     federal  funds throughout  the  state.  And, of  course,                                                                   
     there's  always competition  for  those  funds. Now  the                                                                   
     department  has an  interest in how  the Marine  Highway                                                                   
     operates.  If   we  separate  that,  I   honestly  can't                                                                   
     forecast  what  that  would  produce. I  know  that  the                                                                   
     competition for highway, bridge  and tunnel construction                                                                   
     is real and the requirements  throughout Alaska. What it                                                                   
     would be in the future is really  difficult to forecast.                                                                   
SENATOR WARD asked  Mr. Doll if his concern is that  this bill may                                                              
cause a reduction in federal contributions  and support because of                                                              
the separation.  He said  that is the  opposite of what  he thinks                                                              
would  happen. He  thinks it  would be  very good  for the  Marine                                                              
Highway  System to  be an  entity of  its own  and to  be able  to                                                              
compete in that  process. For the last five years  it has appeared                                                              
to him  that the  Marine Highway  System needs  a better  standing                                                              
within DOTPF's discussion of priorities.                                                                                        
MR. DOLL replied:                                                                                                               
     My concept of  how things are working at  the moment are                                                                   
     that when I come to the commissioner  with a requirement                                                                   
     for a federal project and when  we study them within the                                                                   
     total DOT context, we represent  those as transportation                                                                   
     projects  for which the  Department is responsible.  The                                                                   
     Department  has  an  interest  in how  well  the  Marine                                                                   
     Highway  operates…  Every  one of  those  incentives  to                                                                   
     provide  adequate  funding  for the  Marine  Highway  is                                                                   
     present and we take advantage  of that. If we change the                                                                   
     circumstances  so  that  the  Department  is  no  longer                                                                   
     responsible for the Marine Highway's  operation, I'm not                                                                   
     sure  how powerful  my arguments  would be  and I'm  not                                                                   
     sure how powerful  the arguments of the  Authority would                                                                   
     be  given the  fact  that the  Department  is no  longer                                                                   
     responsible for its operation.                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD  said just for the  record, most of the  language for                                                              
the Authority  in the bill was  completely gleaned out  of Senator                                                              
Taylor's bill.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked  Mr. Doll  to  characterize  the  financial                                                              
success of  the Railroad and the  Marine Highway over the  last 10                                                              
years. He asked Mr. Doll why the  Railroad has been successful and                                                              
the Marine Highway has been an "abject failure."                                                                                
MR. DOLL  said he wasn't  qualified to  comment on the  Railroad's                                                              
success, but its reputation is very  good, but it also has a great                                                              
many assets  that it capitalizes on  - not the least of  which are                                                              
all  the  cruise  ship  docks  that   it  utilizes.  There  is  no                                                              
comparable  real  estate asset  available  to the  Marine  Highway                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked him if he  knew what the  railroad's primary                                                              
assets are from which its profits come.                                                                                         
MR. DOLL replied that he had no idea.                                                                                           
SENATOR  TAYLOR said  it  is all  land. He  said  the Senate  just                                                              
passed  a bill extending  some of  the railroad's  leases from  35                                                              
years to  55 years, because  the people  who lease land  from them                                                              
want to lease it for a longer period.                                                                                           
MR. DOLL replied:                                                                                                               
     You're  well aware  that land alongside  a railroad  has                                                                   
     inherent  value. There is  no comparable land  available                                                                   
     to anybody else in Alaska. The  Railroad is capitalizing                                                                   
     on the  fact that its  land lies along a  communications                                                                   
     link that  links community  centers, population  centers                                                                   
     as well  as being available  to the transportation  link                                                                   
     itself. There is no comparable land available to us.                                                                       
     I don't  know, and  I'm not prepared  to suggest  to the                                                                   
     committee  that I  know how much  revenue this  proposal                                                                   
     would  generate. I have  no way  of estimating that  and                                                                   
     I've not seen any estimates of it.                                                                                         
     I'm  only   suggesting  that   the  concept  that   some                                                                   
     substitute  for  legislative  funding  can be  found  to                                                                   
     operate the Marine Highway is,  I think, speculation and                                                                   
     I would  not like to see  a situation develop  where the                                                                   
     legislature believes it has  a substitute for GF funding                                                                   
     for the Marine Highway and in  fact that does not exist.                                                                   
     I would like  to have the continued  legislative support                                                                   
     that  we've  had  in  the  past  and  I  don't  think  a                                                                   
     substitute exists for that in  the potential for sale of                                                                   
     raw land throughout Alaska.                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked,  regarding the  original question  regarding                                                              
the federal  funding, if the AMHS  has an ability to work  with an                                                              
authority or is its ability in distributing  federal funds limited                                                              
to  working   with  the   Department  of   Transportation   or  an                                                              
organization such as AMATS.                                                                                                     
MR. DOLL  replied that the  federal statutory requirement  is that                                                              
they operate through  the state highway agency. They  would not be                                                              
able to deal directly with the Marine Highway Authority.                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON  said he remembered  discussions about  the railroad                                                              
and that  its profit center  is the leases  that it has  for fiber                                                              
optics. He said one way he would  view this bill more favorably is                                                              
to allow the  lease for the submarine fiber optic  cable to revert                                                              
to the  Marine Highway  Authority. Then they  would have  taken an                                                              
initial  step toward financial  viability  for the Marine  Highway                                                              
CHAIRMAN COWDERY  said he  didn't agree that  their profit  is the                                                              
fiber optics  lease. In  his town, the  whole Ship Creek  basin is                                                              
owned  by  the  railroad  and they  lease  land.  He  thought  the                                                              
railroad's biggest revenue source is the real estate it owns.                                                                   
SENATOR WARD said when the Railroad  was originally transferred to                                                              
the State from  the federal government, land for  tracks and close                                                              
to  the tracks  was  transferred along  it.  An additional  47,000                                                              
acres that  was transferred  was not near  the Railroad;  it owned                                                              
the land to supplement its operation.  The location of the 500,000                                                              
acres given  to the  Authority will not  make any difference.  The                                                              
Authority could  do whatever  it wanted to  do with its  land. The                                                              
Railroad's land is the reason it is making a profit this year.                                                                  
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked Mr.  Doll  what the  AMHS  would  do if  it                                                              
doesn't do  this. He  thought the AMHS  is in desperate  condition                                                              
MR. DOLL replied:                                                                                                               
     I don't believe  there is any substitute  for dollars to                                                                   
     operate   a   ferry   system    and   I   believe   that                                                                   
     administrative  restructuring is going  to get  us where                                                                   
     we need to go. The Department  is working diligently and                                                                   
     successfully to reduce the cost  of operating the Marine                                                                   
     Highway System and I think at  the same time improve the                                                                   
     service  to riders.  I  also believe  that  there is  no                                                                   
     substitute for  money to keep the system  going. I'm not                                                                   
     a fiscal  expert, but I  recognize that support  for the                                                                   
     Marine Highway  in terms of  funding has certainly  been                                                                   
     declining and  the situation that the  Senator describes                                                                   
     is  doubtlessly true.  The Department  will continue  to                                                                   
     work hard  to reduce  the cost  of operating the  system                                                                   
     and improve their service to  its passengers and I think                                                                   
     the  remaining issues  are  exactly what  we're  talking                                                                   
     about here.                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if land isn't  a stable way for the  AMHS to                                                              
acquire an income  stream, what Mr. Doll would suggest  to them as                                                              
policy  makers to  set up to  provide  the AMHS with  the type  of                                                              
stable income stream it needs.                                                                                                  
MR. DOLL  replied that  there were  various proposals for  raising                                                              
money and  he wasn't qualified to  comment on them. He  would have                                                              
no way  of knowing  if it's  likely that  substantial funds  would                                                              
come from  the proposed projects.  He thought the AMHS  will still                                                              
need the support of the legislature  to get the kind of funding it                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked Mr.  Doll if  he read  anything in  the bill                                                              
that said  the legislature would  not still have an  obligation to                                                              
support the AMHS until this proposal was running.                                                                               
MR. DOLL replied that he didn't have  any anticipation of that. He                                                              
wouldn't want  anyone to conclude  that because the land  was made                                                              
available and  if it didn't  bring in  the funds that  were needed                                                              
that the  legislature had washed  its hands of that  concern. That                                                              
would be an unfortunate outcome.                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR said they had never  done that with the University,                                                              
the Railroad  or the  Mental Health Trust  lands. Over  the years,                                                              
there has been no indication that that would happen.                                                                            
SENATOR WARD  added that he talked  to former Senator  Lloyd Jones                                                              
who  is now  affiliated with  the  Transportation Committee  under                                                              
Congressman Don Young and both of  them have assured him that this                                                              
process is not  only something that is being done  in some places,                                                              
but it's a completely appropriate  one and wouldn't affect federal                                                              
TAPE 02-19, SIDE B                                                                                                            
MR.  LAUREN GEHRHART,  Executive  Director, Southeast  Conference,                                                              
said they  were formed  in 1958  to promote  the formation  of the                                                              
Alaska Marine Highway  System. He said they recently  became aware                                                              
of  the changes  in the  bill and  are concerned  that caution  is                                                              
taken  with  how the  Authority  would  be  formed. They  want  an                                                              
opportunity to talk with the sponsors  about it. No one knows what                                                              
kind of a revenue stream could be  anticipated out of 500,000-acre                                                              
land grant.                                                                                                                     
He also thought  that other efficiencies could  still be explored.                                                              
He  told the  committee  that the  Southeast  Conference had  been                                                              
tracking these issues closely over  the last few years and decided                                                              
recently  it  should attempt  to  perform  its  own study  of  the                                                              
problems  and potential  solutions.  The Conference  has  obtained                                                              
grant  money  and is  engaged  in a  study  process  right now  to                                                              
identify  all  different  kinds of  ferry  operations  around  the                                                              
world,  primarily  in the  U.S.  They  want  to learn  from  other                                                              
people's experiences  what might adopt  best to this  region. They                                                              
expect to  have preliminary findings  by the middle of  next month                                                              
and  hope to  provide the  next legislature  and  governor with  a                                                              
detailed analysis and recommendations.                                                                                          
SENATOR  WARD asked  him how  long  his organization  has been  in                                                              
MR. GEHRHART replied that it was  founded in 1958 in Petersburg by                                                              
civic leaders who saw a need for a marine highway.                                                                              
SENATOR  WARD asked  if  the  Southeast Conference  supported  the                                                              
marine highway  authority bills sponsored by former  Senator Lloyd                                                              
Jones or Senator Robin Taylor.                                                                                                  
MR. GEHRHART  replied  that he didn't  know for  certain if  those                                                              
bills were  supported by the Conference.  They have paid  a lot of                                                              
attention  to the problems  it has  experienced  over the last  16                                                              
years. He stated, "The way the system  was designed in 1962 seemed                                                              
to  work  just  fine then.  Obviously,  our  needs  have  changed,                                                              
situations  have changed,  funding  is different.  So  we need  to                                                              
address that."                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  WARD  said  he  was  not   familiar  with  the  Southeast                                                              
Conference and he  didn't ride the Marine System  any more than he                                                              
had to, but he  said this is the same authority  bill as the other                                                              
two.  He  thought  there  was  a  philosophical  difference  about                                                              
whether the  AMHS should  remain a line  item agency or  become an                                                              
Authority  with  500,000  acres   in  addition  to  other  revenue                                                              
streams. He asked  Mr. Gerhardt if he saw a bright  future for the                                                              
Marine Highway System the way it is now.                                                                                        
MR. GERHARDT replied:                                                                                                           
     I think  our organization  is on  record supporting  the                                                                   
     Marine  Highway  System,  because   it  is  our  highway                                                                   
     system.  The  issue  about   this  particular  piece  of                                                                   
     legislation -  I know there  are some changes  in what's                                                                   
     shown here  as the  organizational structure and  that's                                                                   
     very important  to us. I know that there  were issues in                                                                   
     the prior  bills just how  this body is constituted  and                                                                   
     what their authority  is. The new wrinkle  that you have                                                                   
     here  obviously is  the  land grant,  which  I think  is                                                                   
     innovative  thinking. I'm glad  to see people  trying to                                                                   
     solve  the issue of  the recurring  budget problems  the                                                                   
     system faces.  To answer your question about  the future                                                                   
     of the Marine  Highway System, yes we have  concerns. We                                                                   
     know that  it's a  struggle every  year to get  adequate                                                                   
     funding  to operate the  system and  we know that  there                                                                   
     are efficiencies  that can be  realized by some  changes                                                                   
     perhaps.  We are very  concerned though,  that we  would                                                                   
     make sure  what we would come  up with here  would truly                                                                   
     fix the system  and doesn't end up spinning  it off into                                                                   
     the nether world.                                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD asked if he was opposed  to the Marine Highway System                                                              
becoming an  authority if  it could be  set up  in a manner  he is                                                              
comfortable with.                                                                                                               
MR. GEHRHART  replied that they are  not opposed to  anything that                                                              
will address their  problems. In their study,  they are attempting                                                              
to determine  whether an authority  or some other  structure would                                                              
better address them.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WARD asked what other structures he had come up with.                                                                   
MR. GEHRHART replied that the study is ongoing.                                                                                 
SENATOR  WARD said  he  had been  studying  this  for five  years.                                                              
People had been  taking money out of the fund and  now it is gone.                                                              
He maintained,  "This might  not be the  right answer,  but nobody                                                              
else has come up  with one including your group that  is now going                                                              
to study it a little more…"                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  said he wanted to  put the sponsor more  at ease on                                                              
this and said:                                                                                                                  
     The  Southeast   Conference   has  done  an   absolutely                                                                   
     incredible  job  in  bringing  all  of  the  communities                                                                   
     together  in Southeast  Alaska on issues  as diverse  as                                                                   
     the Southeast  Regional Transportation Plan,  education,                                                                   
     fishing issues, a lot of the  economic issues that drive                                                                   
     this.   And   I  can   assure   the  members   of   this                                                                   
     committee…about the integrity  and the work ethic of the                                                                   
     Southeast Conference.  I don't think that  their purpose                                                                   
     in  reviewing the  system  that we  have  now and  other                                                                   
     models  that  could be  applied  to the  Marine  Highway                                                                   
     System is  simply an effort  to produce another  report,                                                                   
     because  this   is  an  organization  that   is  results                                                                   
     oriented  and I've got  an awful lot  of comfort  in the                                                                   
     notion that whatever  they propose is going  to be taken                                                                   
     seriously  be people who  depend on this  transportation                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON  asked Ms.  Carroll if land  that was available  for                                                              
the trust was open to public selection  and, if so, what amount of                                                              
interest  has been  expressed by  the  public in  lands that  have                                                              
sufficient value to enhance the Marine Highway.                                                                                 
MS. CAROL CARROLL, Department of  Natural Resources (DNR), replied                                                              
that all of the  land that the state owns has  been classified and                                                              
what  is  classified  as  available   for  different  purposes  is                                                              
certainly available  for people to come to the state  and say they                                                              
would like to lease it or hold a timber sale.                                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON  asked what  kind of public  interest DNR  gets from                                                              
people who want  access to those lands. He asked  if the Authority                                                              
controlled those  lands, would there  be a higher  public interest                                                              
in the use of them than with DNR.                                                                                               
MS.  CARROLL  said as  she  understands it,  if  there  is a  good                                                              
prospect for something, that activity  would be taking place right                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR asked what the average  price per acre was for land                                                              
that had been sold by the State of Alaska since statehood.                                                                      
MR. BOB LOEFFLER, Director, Division  of Mining, Lands, and Water,                                                              
replied  a rough  estimate  is $750  and  a lot  of  that land  is                                                              
extremely remote.                                                                                                               
SENATOR TAYLOR said that goes all  the way back to when lands were                                                              
sold at a 50% discount etc.                                                                                                     
MR. LOEFFLER  said he  didn't believe that  was correct,  but that                                                              
figure  included lands  sold since  1980.  He offered  to get  the                                                              
committee better information.                                                                                                   
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if  DNR just  had a land  sale on  Prince of                                                              
Wales and what the price per acre was.                                                                                          
MR. LOEFFLER said he would have to look up that information.                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR  said he thought the  lots were 2.5 to 3  acres and                                                              
some sold for over $40,000, about  $15,000 per acre. He said using                                                              
an  average of  $10,000 per  acre  times 500,000  acres equals  $5                                                              
billion. He  remarked, "That probably  wouldn't be enough  the way                                                              
our current  ferry system  is operating.  I think  they could  run                                                              
that stuff  down a rat  hole and still  be trying to  sell ferries                                                              
two years later…"                                                                                                               
He  asked Mr.  Loeffler to  explain the  difference in  management                                                              
style between  the lands  DNR managed  for over  30 years  for the                                                              
University of Alaska  and the $1.5 million made off  of it and the                                                              
over $45  million the  University  has made off  exactly the  same                                                              
land  using its  management style  in  about the  last nine  years                                                              
since they took it over.                                                                                                        
MR.  DICK MYLIUS,  Resource  Assessment and  Development  Manager,                                                              
DNR, explained  that the  University had a  windfall and  that was                                                              
revenue that was almost entirely  from state lands, not University                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR noted  that that timber was cut off  of state land,                                                              
which  is the  same land  Senator Ward  is talking  about in  this                                                              
bill. The  land was turned over  to the University and  they chose                                                              
to harvest the timber and make money off of it.                                                                                 
MR.  MYLIUS responded  that they  had very  extensive harvests  in                                                              
that area before,  during and after that sale, but  it's not under                                                              
his division.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  WARD  moved  to  pass  CSSB  271(TRA),  Version  C,  from                                                              
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
SENATOR ELTON  objected and said  that he wasn't arguing  that the                                                              
problems  facing  the  Marine  Highway   System  and  all  of  our                                                              
transportation systems are not significant, however:                                                                            
     It's a lack of money to do the  maintenance, which means                                                                   
     that we don't do deferred maintenance,  which means that                                                                   
     we're doing the most expensive  maintenance of all. It's                                                                   
     not  a  problem  that's unique  to  the  Marine  Highway                                                                   
     System and I  guess that when people say,  'If not this,                                                                   
     what?' my suggestion is that  we spend the money we need                                                                   
     to  do to  maintain our  transportation  infrastructure.                                                                   
     We're  not doing  it with  harbors, we're  not doing  it                                                                   
     with ports, we're  not doing it with the  Marine Highway                                                                   
     System, we're not doing it with  our roads and highways.                                                                   
     So the  problem faced  by the  Marine Highway System  is                                                                   
     not unique.  I guess the only  other thing that  I would                                                                   
     say is  that after an hour  of testimony, we've  come up                                                                   
     with  a different  way of  managing  our Marine  Highway                                                                   
     System and  I'm much more comfortable with  the approach                                                                   
     that's  being adopted  by  the Southeast  Conference.  I                                                                   
     guess the last thing that I  want to say is I think I've                                                                   
     heard some comments here that  cast aspersions on to the                                                                   
     managers  that   may  even  suggest  that   the  present                                                                   
     managers  of the  Marine  Highway System  are  perfectly                                                                   
     capable  of tossing  away  $1 billion  and  I find  that                                                                   
     suggestion offensive  and I don't think it's  true and I                                                                   
     think that if  that's the basis upon which  this bill is                                                                   
     going to  move forward, it's  the wrong reason  for this                                                                   
     bill to move forward.                                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD said he thought this  was a good bill and he wouldn't                                                              
care  if all  the people  that currently  run  the Marine  Highway                                                              
System were  appointed by the governor  to run the  new authority.                                                              
He didn't think that was the point. He noted:                                                                                   
     The  point is  we need  to separate  the Marine  Highway                                                                   
     Authority away  from the current position that  it is as                                                                   
     a  line  item agency  and  we need  to  give it  a  half                                                                   
     million  acres  and  more  for a  land  base  and  other                                                                   
SENATOR WARD  called for a  roll call vote  on his motion  to move                                                              
CSSB 271(TRA) from committee.  SENATORS  WARD, TAYLOR, WILKEN, and                                                              
COWDERY voted in favor; SENATOR ELTON voted against.                                                                            
SENATOR ELTON moved for reconsideration.                                                                                        
SENATOR WARD  noted that the committee  would have to  rescind its                                                              
        SJR 32-CONST. AM:MARINE/RAIL TRANSPORTATION FUND                                                                    
SENATOR  WARD brought before  the committee  a proposed  committee                                                              
substitute,  CSSJR  32(TRA),  4/18/02  Version C,  and  moved  its                                                              
adoption as  the working document  before the committee.  He asked                                                              
for unanimous consent.                                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY announced  that  without  objection, the  motion                                                              
SENATOR  WARD moved  to  pass CSSJR  32(TRA)  from committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON objected so that he  could see a copy of it. After a                                                              
brief examination,  he asked if the  net effect of the  bill is to                                                              
create a dedicated fund.                                                                                                        
SENATOR WARD replied that is correct.                                                                                           
SENATOR ELTON maintained his objection.                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY called  for  a roll  call  vote. SENATORS  WARD,                                                              
TAYLOR, WILKEN  and COWDERY voted  in favor and SENATOR  ELTON was                                                              
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced that the bill moved from committee.                                                                  
          SB 362-VACATE RS2477 RIGHT OF WAY ON USS 5265                                                                     
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced SB 362 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
MR.  CRAIG PUDDICOMBE,  co-owner  of property  USS  5265, said  he                                                              
asked Senator  Green to sponsor this  bill. [Indisc.] He  read the                                                              
DNR decision regarding  vacating the right-of-way  and said, "This                                                              
has been  a 12-year long battle  for us for something  that should                                                              
have never happened. This vacate is very important to us."                                                                      
MR. MIKE  CONNER said he  was a defendant  in this court  case. He                                                              
said  if  this  right-of-way  is   vacated,  the  state  would  be                                                              
transferring a  public asset to  a private interest.  Second, even                                                              
though the  state asked  for jurisdiction  at remand, the  state's                                                              
request  was  confused  by the  court  and  he  is not  sure  what                                                              
interest would  be vacated, since  it doesn't have lease  or owner                                                              
jurisdiction  over it. Finally,  he said that  he and  others have                                                              
used  the  right-of-way  for subsistence  purposes  for  about  30                                                              
years. The  land has  long been classified  since state  ownership                                                              
for public  recreation and  mining, not private  interest or  as a                                                              
private preserve.                                                                                                               
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked him what he  thought land was worth  in that                                                              
area per acre.                                                                                                                  
MR. CONNER said he did not know.                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked him if it was valuable land.                                                                               
MR. CONNER  responded that he  hadn't checked the  assessment, but                                                              
he thought it was about $5,000.                                                                                                 
SENATOR  TAYLOR asked  if there are  about 30,000  acres of  state                                                              
owned land in that area.                                                                                                        
MR. CONNER  replied that there was  about 250,000 square  miles of                                                              
state land accessible by a single right-of-way.                                                                                 
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if he had an  alternative route to get to his                                                              
subsistence activities.                                                                                                         
MR. CONNER  replied he did  not and that  no alternative  route is                                                              
possible due to the nature of the  country and the court made that                                                              
same determination.                                                                                                             
SENATOR TAYLOR said  he had a map that shows  an alternative route                                                              
and asked him if he was familiar with that map.                                                                                 
MR.  CONNER replied  that  they were  just  handed  the bill  with                                                              
nothing else attached to it.                                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked Mr. Puddicombe  to speak to the alternative                                                              
MR.  PUDDICOMBE  said DNR's  final  departmental  decision,  dated                                                              
1995, is the alternative  access. That is the RS  2477 4D area. He                                                              
noted it  was not  "appealable" and  dismissed  by the courts.  He                                                              
explained  that there  are now  two of  them; one  was put on  his                                                              
private property  by the Supreme  Court after the State  of Alaska                                                              
made that  final departmental decision.  He asked members  to read                                                              
DNR's decision.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  TAYLOR  said  he  was  looking  at the  map  and  he  was                                                              
referring to the route labeled "alternate."                                                                                     
MR. PUDDICOMBE said  the alternate route is the  state's decision.                                                              
The other route clearly goes right through private property.                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR asked how he acquired title to that property.                                                                    
MR. PUDDICOMBE replied he acquired it from Mr. Doug Sumner.                                                                     
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if he was the first person after patent.                                                                   
MR. PUDDICOMBE replied that he was the patent person.                                                                           
SENTOR TAYLOR  asked if  he got patent  from the state  or federal                                                              
MR. PUDDICOMBE'S replied  it was a federal patent  that was deeded                                                              
to the state.                                                                                                                   
MR. PUDDICOMBE said:                                                                                                            
     What I'm  trying to say here  is if you look at  the map                                                                   
     and you look  three five-acre parcels surrounded  by all                                                                   
     this state land, you've got  an RS2477 right through the                                                                   
     center  of it -  a hundred foot  right-of-way that  does                                                                   
     not  go anywhere.  Are you  still listening?…We  already                                                                   
     have  an  established  existing   RS2477  for  the  area                                                                   
     determined by the administration  of DNR in 1994…What me                                                                   
     and my co-owners are saying  is why have two in the same                                                                   
     area  - they are  only 500  yards apart  - when both  of                                                                   
     them are equal,  better and comparable to  this whole 25                                                                   
     mile trail…that  goes to the  glacier. It also  jogs off                                                                   
     and goes three or four miles to a mining claim…                                                                            
SENATOR TAYLOR asked what position DNR has taken on this bill.                                                                  
MR. LOEFFLER  said he  wanted to give  members some background  on                                                              
     We  would   like  to  give  the  background,   the  full                                                                   
     information  so that you  understand where our  previous                                                                   
     decision came  from, but we  neither support  nor oppose                                                                   
     this bill.                                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked for further public testimony.                                                                            
MR. JAMES KRACKER said he could get  1,000 signatures against this                                                              
bill for them in a couple weeks.  It would be against the public's                                                              
interest  and  his interests,  as  well.  [Most of  Mr.  Kracker's                                                              
testimony was indiscernible.]  He felt Mr. Puddicombe  got what he                                                              
MS. JOANNE FITZGERALD said she represented  herself and the public                                                              
and acknowledged  that she  is involved  in the Fitzgerald  versus                                                              
Puddicombe court case.  She noted that Mr. Puddicombe  stated that                                                              
his  file has  a copy  of the  DNR's final  determination, but  he                                                              
didn't mention that in September  2000, DNR made a thorough review                                                              
that  included public  comments and  the  Commissioner denied  the                                                              
request  for  vacation  on  this road.  DNR  determined  that  the                                                              
alternate does  not provide  safe access to  the mining  claim for                                                              
most  of  the  public.  The  Supreme  Court  determined  that  the                                                              
alternative route  was too dangerous for the public.  The vacation                                                              
was also  denied at the Mat-Su  Borough level. There  doesn't seem                                                              
to  be any  health or  safety issues  for this  request and  there                                                              
doesn't seem to  be any reason to give up the  right-of-way of the                                                              
public  that would  close off  a major  part of  the Knik  Glacier                                                              
trail  and  access for  miners  to  their claims  and  subsistence                                                              
MR. KEN FITZGERALD  said there is a  history of 80 or  90 years of                                                              
use on the trail and Mr. Puddicombe  even admitted under oath that                                                              
he had used the trail prior to the purchase of the land.                                                                        
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked what the width of the trail.                                                                             
MR. FITZGERALD  replied that  it is a  100 ft. right-of-way  after                                                              
the  Supreme Court  decision. He  added it  is the  only safe  and                                                              
dependable route to the area.                                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked how they traverse this trail.                                                                            
MR. FITZGERALD  replied by snow  machine, four-wheeler,  or pickup                                                              
3:05 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR WARD asked Mr. Puddicombe  if the trail was disclosed when                                                              
he purchased the property.                                                                                                      
MR.  PUDDICOMBE replied  no, it  was  a private  driveway at  that                                                              
SENATOR WARD asked how he got to the property.                                                                                  
MR. PUDDICOMBE replied by swamp buggy.                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD asked if he used the RS2477 trail.                                                                                 
MR. PUDDICOMBE  replied that it wasn't  an RS2477 then.  He added,                                                              
"That happened in October of 1995."                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD asked when he purchased it.                                                                                        
MR. PUDDICOME  replied in  1983. He said  that none of  the miners                                                              
appealed the  state's decision. They  were all going to  live with                                                              
it. He  said they  were going  to destroy  his property  when they                                                              
could have other access.                                                                                                        
MR. KRACKER  said he  and DNR offered  to get  together to  try to                                                              
take  another   right-of-way  and   Mr.  Puddicombe   refused  any                                                              
settlement.  The  only  one  who is  destroying  property  is  Mr.                                                              
Puddicombe.  The 100  ft. width  is not  by court  order, but  was                                                              
based on legislative action.                                                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR  said it  looked to him  like the reason  they have                                                              
this bill  before them is  that Mr. Puddicombe  needs to  have the                                                              
bill passed  to convey the right-of-way  back to him and  asked if                                                              
that was right.                                                                                                                 
MR. PUDDICOMBE  asked to read  the sponsor statement:  "The intent                                                              
of the bill is to vacate an RS2477  on private property when there                                                              
is already  an existing established  RS2477 route for the  area to                                                              
provide access around the private property."                                                                                    
TAPE 02-20, SIDE A                                                                                                            
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked him if he  had to have the  property vacated                                                              
to clear title to  his property so it's not encumbered  by a state                                                              
MR. PUDDICOMBE  replied that  was correct. He  has owned  the land                                                              
for  53   years  and   DNR  had  done   a  very  careful   on-site                                                              
SENATOR   TAYLOR   asked   Mr.    Loeffler   why   DNR   did   not                                                              
administratively vacate that RS2477  easement as provided by state                                                              
MR. LOEFFLER replied:                                                                                                           
     In  2001, we  went out  to look  at it  with respect  to                                                                   
     vacation.  As you  may know,  the  vacation standard  is                                                                   
     three-fold  - one  vacated by  the  legislature, two  if                                                                   
     requested  by the  municipality  and  with an  alternate                                                                   
     route to provide reasonable  access and the municipality                                                                   
     has  requested it  or three,  our  vacation standard  is                                                                   
     there another  - you may not vacate an  RS2477 right-of-                                                                   
     way  unless  a  reasonable  and  comparable  established                                                                   
     alternative  right-of-way on each  tract does exist  and                                                                   
     is  sufficient  to  satisfy  access  in  the  reasonably                                                                   
     foreseeable future.                                                                                                        
     We  went  out  there  and  determined   that  reasonably                                                                   
     foreseeable  uses  included [indisc.]  mining  vehicles,                                                                   
     recreation and things of that  nature. When we looked at                                                                   
     the  alternative  trail  and  determined  there  were  a                                                                   
     number   of  sections   that  were   steep  for   mining                                                                   
They  determined  the  alternative  trail was  too  steep  without                                                              
additional  construction  and did  not meet  the  standards of  AS                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR  said he appreciated  that explanation and  said he                                                              
was one of the authors of that proviso  that he just read through,                                                              
because they had encountered difficulties  all over the state with                                                              
RS2477  rights-of-way  suddenly appearing  on  people's land  that                                                              
they were  unaware of. He wanted  to make certain there  were good                                                              
alternatives available  and to give  the department  the authority                                                              
to exercise  some discretion  in this regard.  It sounds  like DNR                                                              
exercised that discretion and with good reason.                                                                                 
SENATOR WARD  said he hadn't  been down  this trail and  asked why                                                              
they didn't just go around the property and not up the hill.                                                                    
MR.  LOEFFLER   replied  that  the  alternative   route  had  been                                                              
established through many years of use.                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD asked if it was within  his ability under current law                                                              
to establish  an alternative route  that goes behind  the people's                                                              
property and not up the hill.                                                                                                   
MR. LOEFFLER replied  that it would take very  little construction                                                              
to establish an alternative route that is suitable.                                                                             
     We do  not have  the money  in our  budget to go  around                                                                   
     doing [this] for his RS2477  or for the many others that                                                                   
     have similar  requests. With the expenditure  of limited                                                                   
     funds we  would be very happy  to permit and  flatten an                                                                   
     alternative  route that  would allow  for a vacation  by                                                                   
     Mr. Puddicombe.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WARD asked how many feet  they were talking about with the                                                              
parcels involved.                                                                                                               
MR. LOEFFLER replied that it was roughly a half-mile trail.                                                                     
SENATOR WARD said  he thought it looked like he  was talking about                                                              
less than 1000 ft. of trail in order to clear that lot.                                                                         
MR. LOEFFLER said  it looked like the least  expensive alternative                                                              
construction  would be  to do  some  work in  a few  of the  steep                                                              
SENATOR WARD said  it seemed that something wasn't  right, because                                                              
the alternative  trail is  very steep  and it  seems if  they just                                                              
scooted  around the  outside of  that  one parcel,  they would  be                                                              
downhill, at least, and not going up the mountain.                                                                              
MR. LOEFFLER  replied that he didn't  have a map in front  of him,                                                              
but they would  be happy to permit someone to  make an alternative                                                              
trail,  if they  wished to  do so,  but the  alternative trail  in                                                              
their  view would  be  only for  construction  on  less than  five                                                              
locations before it would satisfy the criteria in AS 19.34.10.                                                                  
SENATOR TAYLOR said  looking at the map, it looked  like for years                                                              
there had been  two trails there. One trail was  for moving mining                                                              
equipment up and that's the one on  Mr. Puddicombe's property. The                                                              
other trail looks like a shortcut.                                                                                              
SENATOR WARD asked  if DNR had the ability to grant  a waiver on a                                                              
trail if there no is alternative trail to go to.                                                                                
MR. LOEFFLER replied absolutely.                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD asked what would be the criteria for the law.                                                                      
MR. LOEFFLER replied that the criteria  for vacation is reasonably                                                              
comparable to establishing an alternative  right-of-way to satisfy                                                              
all present and reasonably foreseeable uses.                                                                                    
MR. FITZGERALD said  the alternative route would cut  into the 80s                                                              
and  on Mr.  Puddicombe's original  patent issued  by the  federal                                                              
government, the road is as surveyed [indisc.].                                                                                  
MR. JACK  DUNHAM said  the trail  through his  property had  to be                                                              
blasted to be able to get through.                                                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN said he wanted to  talk to the sponsor of this bill                                                              
before  they moved it  from committee  and asked  Mr. Loeffler  to                                                              
look at the map  called "The Preliminary Across the  Middle" - USS                                                              
5265, which shows  the west boundary is 484 ft. He  asked if there                                                              
were any  private parcels  like it  between the northern  boundary                                                              
and point C.                                                                                                                    
MR. LOEFFLER  replied  yes, USS 5839,  which is  roughly the  same                                                              
size as  USS 5265.  He said  their west  borders are not  directly                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN  asked how long of  a trail would be needed  to get                                                              
to the existing trail that would intersect to point C.                                                                          
MR. LOEFFLER  said he  thought it  would be  somewhat longer,  but                                                              
that it  would be less extensive  to render the  alternative trail                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN asked  if it would be easier to  make the alternate                                                              
trail a  better trail  than to build  a new  trail along  the west                                                              
boundary of USS 5265 and the piece that's on top of it.                                                                         
MR. LOEFFLER replied it would.                                                                                                  
SENATOR TAYLOR asked  for a ballpark figure of what  it would cost                                                              
to go in there and blast the alternative  trail so it was useable.                                                              
MR. LOEFFLER replied  that there were five steep  sections and two                                                              
side slopes and he didn't know how much it would cost.                                                                          
SENATOR WARD moved  to pass SB 362 from committee  with individual                                                              
SENATOR ELTON objected. SENATORS  WILKEN, WARD, TAYLOR and COWDERY                                                              
voted in favor;  SENATOR ELTON voted against. SB  362 moved to the                                                              
next committee.                                                                                                                 
            HB 474-ANCHORAGE COASTAL WILDLIFE REFUGE                                                                        
CHAIRMAN COWDERY announced HB 474 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN,  sponsor of HB 474, said  that HB 474 is                                                              
a protection  bill that deals with  a very unique  saltwater marsh                                                              
that in  1971 was called  the Potter  Point State Game  Refuge and                                                              
later  in 1988  was changed  to the  Anchorage  Fish and  Wildlife                                                              
Refuge.  He explained  that it is  a very  unique saltwater  marsh                                                              
that is  home for a  variety of  winged and four-legged  creatures                                                              
and  has a  very critical  portion  of its  habitat  right at  the                                                              
juncture of the southwest boundary  and the Refuge. For some time,                                                              
the Department  of Transportation  has been  looking at  extending                                                              
the existing  Tony Knowles Coastal  Trail up near the  airport for                                                              
about 12  miles diagonally  along the boundary  of the  Refuge and                                                              
private  property down  to the  Potter  Marsh. Unfortunately  that                                                              
trail that has been so predominant  for the last two-plus years is                                                              
right through  this very  critical habitat area.  This bill  is an                                                              
attempt to  try and protect  that area,  not to prevent  putting a                                                              
trail there.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  explained that  $2.2 million has  been spent                                                              
so far on this issue and there is  still no EIS. About three years                                                              
ago,  both bodies  passed legislation  requiring consideration  of                                                              
other trails.  That legislation  was vetoed  by the Governor  with                                                              
his assurance that consideration  would be given to the situation,                                                              
but that [consideration] has been  slip-shod. People who have been                                                              
trying  to protect  this area  came  up with  an alternative  gold                                                              
route that  has more exposure to  the Inlet than the  orange route                                                              
if vegetation could be cut.                                                                                                     
In January,  Chip Dennerlein,  Director,  Division of Habitat  and                                                              
Restoration, said ADF&G had been  working on this issue. He agreed                                                              
that the only draft  that was shown could not be  permitted and he                                                              
outlined several reasons why. Another  route was found, the fuscia                                                              
route, but Representative Green said  he hasn't been able to get a                                                              
copy of  it. He said that  is an example  of the kind  of problems                                                              
they had  been having all  along. He  suggested that as  this bill                                                              
moves, things will happen on the other end.                                                                                     
MR.   CHIP  DENNERLEIN,   Director,   Division   of  Habitat   and                                                              
Restoration, Alaska  Department of  Fish and Game  (ADF&G), agreed                                                              
with  some  of Representative  Green's  comments.  He  said  their                                                              
concern  was with  the specific  location  of the  trail and  that                                                              
there were  species that  were unique to  Anchorage and  shared by                                                              
other states.  One of  the highly sensitive  areas where  they did                                                              
not  want a  trial has  1,600 -  1,800  snow geese  grazing on  it                                                              
today. They  had a 6,500-people  heart run  this weekend  and they                                                              
wouldn't want to  propose a trail where those  kinds of activities                                                              
would happen. They worked out an  alignment that would be a viable                                                              
alternative that  would let people  enjoy wildlife but  avoid some                                                              
of the sensitive areas.                                                                                                         
Currently the trail  is a federal highway project  that is subject                                                              
to  the  process  and  environmental  provisions  in  the  Federal                                                              
Highway  Act and NEPA.  The Federal  Highway Administration  (FHA)                                                              
has reviewed  all of  the information in  the alternative  and has                                                              
now  released the  sole  approved list  of  viable and  reasonable                                                              
alternatives that the public will  get to review. They will get to                                                              
choose one  of the alternatives or  mix and match among  them. The                                                              
orange route does not exist anymore, but the fuscia route does.                                                                 
MR.  DENNERLEIN  said  pre-approval   of  a  right-of-way  by  the                                                              
legislature  would   be  problematic.   He  offered  to   let  the                                                              
legislature know of his decision.                                                                                               
SENATOR WARD asked where the fuscia route went.                                                                                 
MR. DENNERLEIN explained that the  fuscia route avoids going below                                                              
the bluff  between the [indisc.]  spill area and Johns  Park. It's                                                              
part of  the old Huffman  alignment. It  comes back through  Johns                                                              
Park  and through  the Furrow  Creek  Gully and  avoids the  rifle                                                              
SENATOR WARD asked if all the routes had property analyses.                                                                     
MR. DENNERLEIN  replied  yes and  said the problem  with the  gold                                                              
route  is that  it  would  have a  very  large impact  on  private                                                              
SENATOR WARD  asked if the section  from Johns Park to  Ocean View                                                              
Bluff takes any private property.                                                                                               
MR. DENNERLEIN  said that DNR  could better answer  that question,                                                              
but, in  the area he  was referring to,  there was  a right-of-way                                                              
that  avoids the  property. He  thought there  was a  right-of-way                                                              
acquisition and  that someone had  donated some land.  No property                                                              
is taken along Ocean View Dr., along the bluff or property.                                                                     
SENATOR WARD said he had lived in  that area a long time and asked                                                              
him if  he didn't think  this would cause  damage to  any wildlife                                                              
and where  he got his  information. He  asked what studies  he had                                                              
done to show that there is an affect on wildlife there.                                                                         
3:55 p.m.                                                                                                                       
MR.  DENNERLEIN replied  those would  be from  nesting surveys,  a                                                              
1997  Survey of  Wildlife  Patterns, a  study  on the  use of  the                                                              
refuge by mammals  by Rick Sinnott, and a shorebird  and migratory                                                              
use report. He  said there are several critical  points around the                                                              
Campbell  Creek area.  He said  there was  no way  to put a  route                                                              
through the  area that  wouldn't have  serious adverse  impacts at                                                              
some point in the year.                                                                                                         
TAPE 02-20, SIDE B                                                                                                            
He said the only way to address the  area Representative Green was                                                              
concerned  about would  be to  move the  trail to  the top of  the                                                              
MR.   DENNIS   POSHARD,   Legislative   Liaison,   Department   of                                                              
Transportation   and  Public   Facilities   (DOTPF),  said   DOTPF                                                              
recognizes  the concerns of  Representative Green's  constituents,                                                              
but believes this bill is not necessary. He explained:                                                                          
     Number   one,  we're  already   following  a   federally                                                                   
     recognized  and  mandated  process,   the  federal  NEPA                                                                   
     process. And that process appears  to be working, albeit                                                                   
     a  contentious,  painful  process. I  think  that  we're                                                                   
     going to ultimately get to the right outcome.                                                                              
     Secondly,  this  area  has  already  been  designated  a                                                                   
     Refuge  by state  statute. That  Refuge  has a  specific                                                                   
     management  plan  in  place  and  ADF&G  is  responsibly                                                                   
     managing  that  refuge.  You've  heard  Chip  Dennerlein                                                                   
     mention that  he would not at all permit  certain routes                                                                   
     that were  being considered and  that in other  areas he                                                                   
     would be adamant  that mitigation occur before  he would                                                                   
In response  to Senator  Taylor's question  on funding,  Anchorage                                                              
Metropolitan  Area  Transportation  Study  (AMATS) gets  about  $8                                                              
million every  year to go  towards trails specifically  within the                                                              
Anchorage metropolitan  area. They have every right  under federal                                                              
law to  determine how that  funding gets  spent. The state  has no                                                              
authority to tell them how it gets spent.                                                                                       
SENATOR  WARD  moved  HB  474 out  of  committee  with  individual                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  objected saying that he  would vote no. He  said it                                                              
is a  tough issue for  him because he  feels like he's  taking the                                                              
conservative point  of view by saying  that he's going to  tip the                                                              
scales  in  favor  of  access and  away  from  habitat,  which  is                                                              
unusual. He  also suggested that  the legislature is not  the best                                                              
planning and zoning commission.                                                                                                 
SENATORS WILKEN, WARD,  and COWDERY voted in favor;  SENATOR ELTON                                                              
voted against and HB 474 passed from committee.                                                                                 
            HB 397-EXEMPTIONS FROM DRIVER'S LICENSING                                                                       
CHAIRMAN   COWDERY  announced   CSHB   397(STA)  to   be  up   for                                                              
SENATOR WARD moved to pass CSHB 397(STA) from committee.                                                                        
CHAIRMAN COWDERY objected  and asked the sponsor if  he had worked                                                              
out the problems from the previous meeting with Senator Wilken.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  VIC KOHRING,  sponsor  of HB  397  said he  didn't                                                              
think  they had  worked  out the  problems,  although  they had  a                                                              
SENATOR WARD moved to withdraw his  motion and asked for unanimous                                                              
consent. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING explained that  CSHB 397(STA)  removes the                                                              
license requirement  for an off-road vehicle, which  is defined as                                                              
snow  machines, boats,  ATVs, etc.  Having a  driver's license  to                                                              
drive a car in  a city street is not germane to  driving an ATV or                                                              
snow machine.                                                                                                                   
4:10 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR WILKEN  said he  had the opportunity  to ride  his ski-doo                                                              
this weekend  and went 85 mph. If  this bill is passed,  all proof                                                              
of responsibility  and restrictions for  a 13-year old to  jump on                                                              
that machine and  drive it will be gone. He would  suggest that is                                                              
like giving 13 year olds a lethal  weapon. It seems strange to him                                                              
that at 14,  a license is  required to operate an  automobile, but                                                              
at 13, 14 or 15 no license is required  to get on any snow machine                                                              
that will  kill. According to  testimony, there are  350 accidents                                                              
per year.  He maintained,  "This  bill is a  very dangerous  bill.                                                              
This bill, should  it go through, will kill kids  and I just don't                                                              
think that's really what we want to do."                                                                                        
He  said  the  committee  is deliberating  this  bill  because  an                                                              
overzealous park ranger  unadvisedly wrote a citation  for a child                                                              
on  a kiddi  cat.  He  remarked, "We  have  taken that  event  and                                                              
changed it into what I consider to  be a huge bill that once again                                                              
puts our youth at risk."                                                                                                        
He suggested addressing the following issues:                                                                                   
   · If the unlicensed operator is within reasonable proximity to                                                               
     and under supervision of a licensed adult                                                                                  
   · Damages or injuries caused as a result of an unlicensed                                                                    
     operator are the responsibility of the parent or the legal                                                                 
     guardian of the operator                                                                                                   
   · The legislation is effective upon approval of the SNOTRAC                                                                  
     safety course by the Alaska Department of Public Safety                                                                    
   · This issue will be reviewed in five years                                                                                  
He said the committee heard testimony  that SNOWTRAC is developing                                                              
a safety program.  He commented that if the  licensing requirement                                                              
is lifted,  there should at least  be some place to  send children                                                              
to get some level of training. He  said without changes he remains                                                              
adamantly opposed to the bill.                                                                                                  
SENATOR WARD  said someone  can cross  a road,  but if someone  is                                                              
traveling from point  A down a road to get to  another snow mobile                                                              
trail, there is no local ordinance  that says that is legal. Those                                                              
people are illegally going down that  road. It's permissible to go                                                              
across a road. He  also said that not everyone abuses  the law and                                                              
in fact the ones that abuse it usually aren't kids.                                                                             
SENATOR ELTON  asked what the net  effect of this  amendment would                                                              
be  on a  youngster  in Bush  Alaska where  they  have no  highway                                                              
system, and  a snow machine is often  used to get to  school, do a                                                              
trap line, or go to a grandmother's house.                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD said  the youngster would need to have  an adult with                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN  said he  wanted to  go back to  the issue  of what                                                              
problem they are trying to solve. He stated:                                                                                    
     This law has been on the books  for decades. Suddenly it                                                                   
     rises  because  of some  incident  -  it rises  to  some                                                                   
     notoriety…  So we  have an  administrative problem  that                                                                   
     we're going to  take what I consider to be  a very major                                                                   
     step that puts kids at risk.                                                                                               
SENATOR  ELTON agreed  with  what Senator  Wilken  was saying  and                                                              
tended to agree up to a point with  what needs to be done and that                                                              
clearly there is  a safety issue. In his mind there  is a dramatic                                                              
difference between recreational use  in areas where a snow machine                                                              
will be  on a road system  in which you  have to obey the  laws of                                                              
the land  as written  for operators  of a  motor vehicle.  In some                                                              
areas of the  state, mostly the Bush, having a  snow machine isn't                                                              
a matter  of choice, it's  a matter of  necessity for all  ages of                                                              
SENATOR  WILKEN  said  they  are   not  just  talking  about  snow                                                              
machines,  but  ATVs,  jet  skis,  watercraft,  river  boats,  and                                                              
basically any propelled vehicle.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING  said he  also thought  that  safety is  a                                                              
concern. He  suggested passing the  bill to decriminalize  the use                                                              
of off-road vehicles  without a driver's license  and next session                                                              
look at the suggestions from the SNOTRAC Board.                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN COWDERY asked  if the people who make snow  cats for kids                                                              
would be put out of business.                                                                                                   
SENATOR WILKEN  responded that  Arctic Cat  doesn't make  them any                                                              
more, but Ski-doo  does and they  are limited to about  120 cc and                                                              
go about  8 mph.  Those machines  will still  get produced  and he                                                              
thought at  8 mph you're going  to be within reasonable  proximity                                                              
of your parent. He is bothered with  the issue of the 13-year old.                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING pointed  out that  a safe  speed and  safe                                                              
driving  are still  applicable whether  there's a  license law  or                                                              
4:25 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  WARD explained  that his  grandchildren  have earned  the                                                              
right to drive  their off road vehicles and he  thought there were                                                              
enough laws  to take care of the  situation exactly the  way it is                                                              
and there  is nothing  they can legislate  to stop  a 13  year old                                                              
from going out  of control. He thought they needed  to enforce the                                                              
current laws.                                                                                                                   
MR. DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Safety,                                                                
said that  the State  Troopers are  somewhat ambivalent  about any                                                              
change in  the law recognizing that  they patrol a part  of Alaska                                                              
that  uses  off  road  vehicles   for  their  primary  source  for                                                              
transportation.   Requiring   a  driver's   license   is  not   an                                                              
enforcement priority for them for  a number of reasons. It is down                                                              
on the list of the seriousness of  things. They are trying to deal                                                              
with other issues  and with having enough staff to  patrol. A snow                                                              
machine  can outrun  a  car and  they don't  have  very many  snow                                                              
machine incidents.                                                                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN asked how many citations  had been written for kids                                                              
operating snow machines without driver's licenses.                                                                              
MR. SMITH replied that it is extremely rare.                                                                                    
SENATOR  WILKEN  asked if  he  thought enforcement  efforts  would                                                              
increase or decrease if this law doesn't pass.                                                                                  
MR. SMITH  replied that he would  say [it would not  change] given                                                              
their situation and the prioritization of their response.                                                                       
SENATOR WARD pointed  out that Senator Wilken  said that Fairbanks                                                              
has an ordinance  that allows snow  mobilers to go down  a road to                                                              
get from one trail to another, but  he said it is impossible for a                                                              
local entity  to adopt such  an ordinance  because it would  be in                                                              
conflict with  state law, which says  you can go across  a road in                                                              
order to get across it. There's nothing  that says you can go down                                                              
a  road to  get to  another  trail. Otherwise  you  could use  the                                                              
argument that you can drive from Willow to Big Lake.                                                                            
MR. SMITH  said he was quoting  13 AAC and the  90-degree crossing                                                              
roadways  is what  it  refers to.  People are  not  to travel  the                                                              
roadways, but he is not prepared to comment more.                                                                               
SENATOR  WARD  said  the  troopers  in  his  area  have  told  all                                                              
operators, whether  of ATVs, snow  machines or dirt bikes  to stay                                                              
off the roadways.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  WARD said  the in  the northern  part  of Seldovia,  most                                                              
people use ATVs  and four-wheelers to get from house  to house so,                                                              
so there is a conflict because kids are breaking the law now.                                                                   
MR. FRANK  SACCO, Chief,  Surgery Service,  Alaska Native  Medical                                                              
Center, said  he acted as director  of the Trauma Service  and had                                                              
been taking  care of  patients, a  majority of  whom are  from the                                                              
Bush. He  shares some  of the concerns  about the  way the  law is                                                              
written, but he  thought they would be remiss if  they didn't look                                                              
at the  overall problems  with snow  machines and especially  with                                                              
children.  He  said he  sees  about one  child  per  month with  a                                                              
serious head injury  from riding a snow machine  without a helmet.                                                              
He has  never treated  one who  was wearing  a helmet. He  thought                                                              
they  are the  same  as  life preservers  for  kids  on boats.  He                                                              
strongly  urged that  the  bill require  the  use  of helmets  for                                                              
children. He sees  six-year olds driving four-year  olds around on                                                              
ATVs  and he  thought  there needs  to be  some  laws about  those                                                              
SENATOR  WARD  asked  if  passing  a helmet  law  would  stop  the                                                              
irresponsible parents who were allowing  a six-year old to drive a                                                              
MR.  SACCO  replied that  he  didn't  think they  could  legislate                                                              
personal responsibility for everyone,  but he thought a helmet law                                                              
for kids would increase usage of them.                                                                                          
SENATOR   WARD  asked   if  Mr.   Sacco  had   asked  any   Native                                                              
organizations how they would feel about a helmet law.                                                                           
MR. SACCO said he is speaking for  the Alaska Native Medical Board                                                              
(ANPHB) and they support of taking measures for children.                                                                       
MS. MARY  LEEMHUIS, ANMC, said she  does a lot of  family teaching                                                              
and children  come in  with too many  brain injuries.  Most people                                                              
don't realize that it doesn't take  a lot of speed to cause severe                                                              
injury to  the brain and  even death.  A helmet would  protect the                                                              
brain of  a child.  Any time the  brain is  knocked around  it can                                                              
bleed  and tear  and  that's  what sometimes  causes  irreversible                                                              
TAPE 02-21, SIDE A                                                                                                            
4:47 p.m.                                                                                                                       
MR.  BILL REED,  Providence  Hospital  surgeon,  said that  recent                                                              
patients who  are involved in  snow machine accidents  are exposed                                                              
to  much  greater   forces  than  they  have   ever  seen  before,                                                              
predominantly because of the speed  involved. The velocity is what                                                              
determines  the extent  of the  injury. In  addition, the  terrain                                                              
that  people  travel on  in  Alaska  is  much more  difficult.  He                                                              
     The point we  are trying to make here is  that right now                                                                   
     the  only law that  controls children  on snow  machines                                                                   
     restricts people  who are 16 that don't have  a license.                                                                   
     Our concern  is that this is  a flawed law. It  could be                                                                   
     improved  upon   and  I  think  that   Senator  Wilken's                                                                   
     proposals go a long way to that improvement…                                                                               
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY  asked  what  percentage  of  the  patients  are                                                              
MR. REED replied about 50% were over the age of 18.                                                                             
SENATOR WARD  asked if he was  advocating a helmet law  for people                                                              
under the age of 14.                                                                                                            
MR. REED said in his opinion a helmet law is an important                                                                       
consideration and that compensation for the victims of accidents                                                                
should be part of this too.                                                                                                     
MR. STEVE TOWER, Orthopedic Surgeon, Alaska State Medical                                                                       
Association, said he has 14 years of experience in medical                                                                      
practice in Alaska. He told members:                                                                                            
     The   Alaska   State   Medical    Association   supports                                                                   
     legislation  regarding  snow   machines  and  ATVs  that                                                                   
     defines   and   enforces  elements   of   safe   machine                                                                   
     operation,  defines  and enforces  appropriate  training                                                                   
     and  documentation of  machine  operators, would  define                                                                   
     age restrictions  for machine  operators and define  and                                                                   
     enforce  safe  machine  operation  in  the  presence  of                                                                   
     pedestrians  and supports mandatory  use of  appropriate                                                                   
     helmets  by those  16 years  of age  or younger,  either                                                                   
     operating these machines or transporting the machine.                                                                      
     The   reason  for   this   stance,  which   was   passed                                                                   
     overwhelming  by  the  delegates  of  the  Alaska  State                                                                   
     Medical Association,  is the  huge mass of trauma  grief                                                                   
     we're seeing on an annual basis,  which is increasing at                                                                   
     a rate of 10%  a year. You all should know  the scope of                                                                   
     the problem.  This is the second leading  cause of death                                                                   
     and injury in our children age  10 to 14. These machines                                                                   
     are known  in Alaska to be  ten times more  hazardous to                                                                   
     operate than a road vehicle.  I congratulate Senate Ward                                                                   
     with  being  able to  sit  there  without the  state  of                                                                   
     nervous  anxiety  while a  seven-year  old operates  one                                                                   
     without  adult supervision.  I  think that's  absolutely                                                                   
     idiotic and the data supports me there.                                                                                    
     We know these machines kill  30 to 50 Alaskans per year.                                                                   
     They  hospitalize  300  to 400  Alaskans  a  year.  This                                                                   
     consumes  $2,000 to $3,000  days per  year to treat  the                                                                   
     injuries, most cost of which  is borne by the state. One                                                                   
     quarter of  those killed or  hospitalized are  minors. A                                                                   
     quarter  of those  hospitalized  are  brain injured  and                                                                   
     this is  the main driver  of long-term medical  expense.                                                                   
     For a brain-injured patient,  only a fraction of medical                                                                   
     and   social   expense   is   derived   in   the   acute                                                                   
     hospitalization  and about  8 to 10  times that  initial                                                                   
     expense is extracted from society  at a later date. Only                                                                   
     a small  fraction  of these people  are ever  employable                                                                   
     and in  many of these families,  a family member  has to                                                                   
     quit  work to  care for  them  at home.  It's for  these                                                                   
     reasons the State Medical Society  is vehemently opposed                                                                   
       to HB 397. This is an idiotic piece of legislation,                                                                      
     which was a hip shot and a problem that doesn't exist…                                                                     
SENATOR WARD asked what he was advocating for.                                                                                  
MR. REED replied that he wanted a  mandatory helmet law for people                                                              
16-years  old  or  younger  if  they  operate  or  transport  snow                                                              
machines and ATVs.                                                                                                              
SENATOR WARD said  he wasn't ready to pass a law  like that today.                                                              
He also thanked him for his service to the community.                                                                           
MR. CHARLES  HOSACK, Deputy Director,  Division of  Motor Vehicles                                                              
(DMV), said he would answer questions.                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD  asked if the  DMV had a  position on  mandating that                                                              
everyone under the age of 16 wear a helmet.                                                                                     
MR. HOSACK replied no.                                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD asked him to get one, please.                                                                                      
MR. SCOTT  HAMANN, ABATE,  said you can't  make criminals  of good                                                              
people and no one  even knew this bill existed. He  goes out every                                                              
weekend with about  30 kids from their church and  has a good time                                                              
and they  shouldn't be criminals.  He said  there are laws  on the                                                              
book right  now that  deal with reckless  endangerment  and things                                                              
like that and troopers have the discretion to enforce them.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY   asked  if  snow  machine  shops   sell  safety                                                              
accessories like helmets of different sizes.                                                                                    
MR.  HAMANN replied  they do.  He  thought the  freedom of  choice                                                              
works because about 75% people wear helmets on their own.                                                                       
CHAIRMAN COWDERY commented  that every shop he's been  in tries to                                                              
sell him everything.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WILKEN  said he  wanted the bill's  sponsor to  comment on                                                              
his four  suggestions; the issue  of safety and an  alternative to                                                              
this disqualification and a way to review it in five years.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   KOHRING   said    those   are   not   unimportant                                                              
considerations,  but  they  should   be  looked  at  in  different                                                              
legislation on  safety. He  appreciates Senator Wilken's  concerns                                                              
and didn't want to down play the issue of safety.                                                                               
SENATOR ELTON moved  amendment 1, on page 2, line  7, which says a                                                              
person  who is at  least 16  years of  age with  a valid  driver's                                                              
license from  a jurisdiction other  than Alaska can drive  a motor                                                              
driven cycle with a provision that  an Alaska driver's license for                                                              
driving a motor  driven cycle be  obtained by the end of  a 90-day                                                              
period after entering the state.                                                                                                
He  explained  the   purpose  of  the  amendment   is  to  address                                                              
situations  in which  a tourism  entrepreneur in  a community  may                                                              
want to rent  Vespas and mopeds  to tourists. Language on  page 1,                                                              
line 11 provides  that a non-resident who is at least  16 years of                                                              
age  and  who has  a  valid  driver's license  issued  by  another                                                              
jurisdiction  [may drive]  a  Vespa or  moped,  however an  Alaska                                                              
driver's  license  must  be  obtained  after a  90-day  period  of                                                              
entering  the  state.  There  is dispute  among  attorneys  as  to                                                              
whether or not  that exemption applies to motor  driven cycles. In                                                              
our  state   there  is  an   M1  qualification  that   applies  to                                                              
motorcycles  and  an  M2 qualification,  which  applies  to  Vespa                                                              
scooter, mopeds,  etc. In  most states  a driver's license  allows                                                              
you to use  a Vespa or a moped;  in Alaska it doesn't.  This would                                                              
provide that tourists who are getting  off a ship and want to rent                                                              
one can do  it. If they stay,  they can't. This has nothing  to do                                                              
with  discussions on  the  bill so  far, but  it  does provide  an                                                              
economic opportunity for tourism entrepreneurs.                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY asked  if  this  would apply  to  dirt bikes  or                                                              
SENATOR ELTON replied that drivers  would need an M1 qualification                                                              
on  their   driver's  license.  This   only  applies  to   the  M2                                                              
MR. MIKE KRIEBER, staff to Representative  Kohring, explained that                                                              
HB 397 would exempt the license requirement for off road bikes.                                                                 
SENATOR  ELTON  said  there  was a  difference  of  opinion  among                                                              
attorneys  about  whether  language on  page  1  of HB  397  would                                                              
actually  allow  his  constituent   to  have  the  vehicle  rental                                                              
business.  He said  this is  a common  business  in other  tourism                                                              
destinations and would  provide an economic opportunity  for a lot                                                              
of people.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD asked if the City and  Borough of Juneau can allow it                                                              
now without a state law.                                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON replied that state law prevails.                                                                                  
SENATOR  WARD  asked   Mr.  Hosack  what  he   thought  about  the                                                              
MR. HOSACK responded  that they would have some  concerns over it.                                                              
Anyone  operating a  motorcycle in  Alaska is  required to  have a                                                              
motorcycle  endorsement, either  M1  or M2,  the M2  is for  small                                                              
bikes under 50  cc. He would be concerned if  the amendment allows                                                              
non-residents  a  privilege  that  is not  allowed  to  residents,                                                              
especially  over the  size of  the  power of  a vehicle  and in  a                                                              
crowded   city   environment   such  as   in   some   southeastern                                                              
communities. He opposed the amendment.                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON said he could understand DMV's concern and stated:                                                                
     I would  just suggest  that if  other jurisdictions  are                                                                   
     licensing  people for the  operation of these  machines,                                                                   
     we  ought to  reciprocate unless  they are  going to  be                                                                   
     here for longer than 90 days.                                                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR said he would object  to the amendment only because                                                              
he thought it was  covered by language on paragraph  2 on line 11.                                                              
He is  somewhat surprised  by the  response from  DMV and  thought                                                              
they might amend the legislation to include it.                                                                                 
SENATOR WARD said part of the problem  is that some states provide                                                              
for  a  driver's license  that  authorizes  a  person to  drive  a                                                              
motorcycle, too. Those 16 year olds  from those states who come to                                                              
Alaska would be able to rent a motorcycle,  but Alaskan kids would                                                              
not because Alaska  now has dual licensing. In  Nevada one license                                                              
covers all, like it used to here.                                                                                               
MR.  KRIEBER  said   that  all  ages  are  required   to  have  an                                                              
endorsement for motorcycles.                                                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR asked what impact  this would have on stand up two-                                                              
SENATOR  ELTON  replied that  his  understanding  is that  in  the                                                              
legislation  regarding  personalized  motor  vehicles  no  license                                                              
would be required and the legislation  limited the restrictions on                                                              
where they could go.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WILKEN  clarified that under regulation  2.455, section 3,                                                              
it is legal in Fairbanks to drive  on a road if you're making your                                                              
way to a trail.  The city has a prerogative to  adopt that policy.                                                              
You  can also  ride on  a bridge  as  long as  you don't  obstruct                                                              
traffic and  obey traffic rules.  He commented, "At least  in this                                                              
city, they  can have  a 13-year old  on a snow  machine on  a city                                                              
street going to the trail and it would be legal."                                                                               
SENATOR WARD said that is in violation of state law.                                                                            
SENATOR ELTON  said that  he was ready  to vote on  the amendment,                                                              
which inserted on page 2, after line  7, "a person who is at least                                                              
16 years of age with a valid driver's license."                                                                                 
SENATOR TAYLOR noted that this amendment  shifts the intent of the                                                              
bill from just off road vehicles to on road.                                                                                    
SENATOR WARD added and to out-of-state people.                                                                                  
SENATOR TAYLOR said  it didn't mention anything about  the size of                                                              
the vehicle.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON responded  that the  definition of  a motor  driven                                                              
cycle is 50 cc's or less.                                                                                                       
SENATOR TAYLOR asked what something above 50 cc's called.                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON replied  that would be a motorcycle  requiring an M1                                                              
qualification on the driver's license.                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY asked  if the  amendment would  require a  title                                                              
SENATOR  ELTON  replied that  from  opinions  he has  received  it                                                              
SENATOR  WARD maintained  his objection  because it treats  Alaska                                                              
citizens as second class people.                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY  asked for  the  vote. SENATORS  TAYLOR,  ELTON,                                                              
WILKEN voted  in favor; SENATORS  WARD and COWDERY  voted against;                                                              
and Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                    
SENATOR WARD moved  to pass SCS CSHB 397(TRA)  from committee with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
SENATOR WILKEN said it is a dangerous bill.                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  agreed and thought  they should spend a  little bit                                                              
of time  to figure out  how to make it  work so that  it addresses                                                              
the  safety issue  and  the different  kinds  of  uses across  the                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR  said they wouldn't  have this bill before  them if                                                              
it weren't for a bizarre incident.  He thought that there had been                                                              
great testimony,  but it  is a complicated  subject. He  said that                                                              
watercraft  in the  Bush is  one  of our  single biggest  killers.                                                              
There were  no objections and it  was so ordered. People  will act                                                              
irresponsibly,  but he asked  how to  regulate that. He  remarked,                                                              
"We're killing more  people on snow machines than  we are by drunk                                                              
drivers  and yet we're  falling all  over ourselves  down here  to                                                              
penalize  and  pass  laws  and  do   additional  things  on  drunk                                                              
CHAIRMAN  COWDERY  called  for the  vote.  SENATORS  ELTON,  WARD,                                                              
TAYLOR, and COWDERY  voted in favor; SENATOR WILKEN  voted against                                                              
and the bill passed from committee as amended.                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN COWDERY adjourned the meeting at 5:30 p.m.                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects