Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2006 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
= SB 261 REGULATION OF HWYS; TRAFFIC OFFENSES
Moved CSSB 261(TRA) Out of Committee
= SB 271 AUTHORIZE HWY PROGRAM PARTICIPATION
Moved SB 271 Out of Committee
= SB 300 MOTOR VEHICLE NEGATIVE EQUITY
Moved SB 300 Out of Committee
= SB 304 AIRPORT PARKING SHUTTLES/AIRPORT CHARGES
Moved SB 304 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                         March 9, 2006                                                                                          
                           1:37 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Charlie Huggins, Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 271                                                                                                             
"An  Act  authorizing  the  commissioner  of  transportation  and                                                               
public  facilities  to  participate in  certain  federal  highway                                                               
programs and  relating to that authorization;  relating to powers                                                               
of the  attorney general to  waive immunity from suit  in federal                                                               
court related to  those programs; and providing  for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
     MOVED SB 271 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 304                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  privileges of airport  parking shuttles                                                               
and to fees  or charges imposed on  a person who is  not a lessee                                                               
or holder of a privilege to use  the property or a facility of an                                                               
airport."                                                                                                                       
     MOVED SB 304 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 300                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to the  handling of  negative equity  in motor                                                               
vehicle transactions."                                                                                                          
     MOVED SB 300 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 261                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the  designation of traffic safety corridors;                                                               
relating  to the  bail  or fine  for an  offense  committed in  a                                                               
traffic  safety corridor  and to  separately accounting  for such                                                               
fines; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
     MOVED CSSB 261(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
BILL: SB 271                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AUTHORIZE HWY PROGRAM PARTICIPATION                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/08/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/08/06       (S)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/14/06       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/14/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 304                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AIRPORT PARKING SHUTTLES/AIRPORT CHARGES                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
02/21/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/06       (S)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/28/06       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/28/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/06       (S)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 300                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLE NEGATIVE EQUITY                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/14/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/14/06       (S)       TRA, L&C                                                                                               
02/23/06       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/23/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 261                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REGULATION OF HWYS; TRAFFIC OFFENSES                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/01/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/06       (S)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/06       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/09/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/06       (S)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mike Barton, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                              
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 271 and answered questions.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Peter Putzier, Senior Assistant Attorney General                                                                                
Transportation Section                                                                                                          
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions relating to SB 271.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
John Torgerson, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation                                                                                 
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                              
PO Box 196900                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK  99519-6900                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 304.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 300.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
John MacKinnon, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                             
of Highways and Public Facilities                                                                                               
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                              
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained SB 261, presented an amendment,                                                                
and answered questions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Jeff Ottesen, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Program Development                                                                                                 
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                              
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 261.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CHARLIE HUGGINS called the Senate Transportation Standing                                                               
Committee meeting to order at 1:37:22 PM.  Present were Senators                                                              
Albert Kookesh, Hollis French and Chair Charlie Huggins.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:37:48 PM                                                                                                                    
           SB 271-AUTHORIZE HWY PROGRAM PARTICIPATION                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS announced SB 271 to be up for discussion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  BARTON,  Commissioner,  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities  (DOTPF), emphasized  the importance of  SB 271                                                               
that   gives   the  state   the   ability   to  assume   National                                                               
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)  responsibilities for the Federal                                                               
Highway Administration.   This is  a pilot project that  is being                                                               
offered to  only four or  five other  states and probably  the 45                                                               
other states  would like to have  it.  It rounds  out the state's                                                               
roll  in  NEPA  and  is  akin to  the  state  assuming  fisheries                                                               
management.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He  said  that  Department of  Environmental  Conservation  (DEC)                                                               
would assume  management of  National Pollutant  Discharge System                                                               
(NPDS)  permits. The  fiscal  note was  on the  order  of half  a                                                               
million dollars, but  he felt that it would be  more expensive to                                                               
not  do it  and  felt  that Alaska  would  be  better served  and                                                               
perhaps even get some projects out a little sooner.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:40:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS said Alaska is one  of five states that are part of                                                               
the pilot  program - California,  Oklahoma, Ohio, and  Texas, are                                                               
the others. The program expires on  August 10, 2011, and he asked                                                               
if he thought it would be self-perpetuating.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON responded that 2011  is when the next highway                                                               
reauthorization would occur  and he thought all  states would get                                                               
this opportunity at that time.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGGINS said  the  state may  not  submit its  application                                                               
until  rule-making   is  complete   and  that   has  yet   to  be                                                               
accomplished.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON  replied that  was correct.  Federal Highways                                                               
was given nine months to put the rules together.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KOOKESH asked how far behind they are.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BARTON said  that  Federal  Highways anticipates  a                                                               
July/August timeframe.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS  said he thought  it would be reasonable  to assume                                                               
that would bite into the pilot time.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked if  the state would  take over  all federal                                                               
highway projects during the pilot program.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON answered that the  program is structured so a                                                               
state  could choose  to  apply  it selectively,  but  it was  his                                                               
intent to assume it for everything.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked   for  a  legal  opinion   as  to  whether                                                               
Section 1, on  page 1, line  7, should  be read as  "must" rather                                                               
than  "may"   in  reference  to  the   Attorney  General  waiving                                                               
immunity.  He thought  the  state  had to  waive  immunity if  it                                                               
assumed a project.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PETER PUTZIER, Senior  Assistant Attorney General, Transportation                                                               
Section, Civil  Division, Department of Law,  answered that there                                                               
is  a  potential   separation-of-powers  issue.  The  Legislature                                                               
couldn't direct  the Attorney General  to waive  immunity. Before                                                               
the  state  can  assume  duties, by  subsequent  memorandum,  the                                                               
Attorney General  would have  to weigh  in on  a project-specific                                                               
basis.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked  if  this  is part  of  a  six-year  pilot                                                               
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BARTON  replied yes  and  part  of it  has  already                                                               
passed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if worse  comes  to worse  and it  doesn't                                                               
work, is there a mechanism by which  the state can go back to the                                                               
way it was before.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON replied that  he didn't anticipate this being                                                               
a train wreck; rather he thought  it was a golden opportunity for                                                               
the state. He was sure there  was some escape mechanism if it was                                                               
really needed.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH opined  that the  state could  at least  consider                                                               
finishing its ongoing projects and just not take over any more.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON agreed that was one escape mechanism.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS said  this really allows the state  to take control                                                               
of its own destiny.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BARTON concurred.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:46:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  moved  to  report SB  271  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations.    Without  objection,  SB  271  was                                                               
reported from the Senate Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:47:10 PM                                                                                                                    
        SB 304-AIRPORT PARKING SHUTTLES/AIRPORT CHARGES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS announced SB 304 to be up for discussion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOHN TORGERSON,  Deputy Commissioner  of Aviation,  Department of                                                               
Transportation  and Public  Facilities (DOTPF),  informed members                                                               
that  he had  authorized  the state's  attorneys  to contact  the                                                               
attorneys for  Diamond to  see if there  was some  middle ground.                                                               
Their meeting  had not taken place  yet. He brought the  issue up                                                               
to the Airline  Committee that indicated it would  write a letter                                                               
to the committee outlining its position.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGGINS asked  whether there  was  further testimony  from                                                               
DOTPF. There were no further comments.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:51:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  moved  to  report SB  304  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations.   Without  objection,  SB   304  was                                                               
reported from the Senate Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS called an at-ease from 1:51:55 PM to 1:52:44 PM                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:52:51 PM                                                                                                                    
              SB 300-MOTOR VEHICLE NEGATIVE EQUITY                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS announced SB 300 to be up for discussion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RALPH SEEKINS,  sponsor of  SB 300,  explained that  the                                                               
intent was to put Alaskan-based  in-house financing on an "upside                                                               
down position"  for vehicles on  equal footing with  banks. Banks                                                               
are  primarily regulated  by federal  law  and the  non-regulated                                                               
institutions  have to  comply  with state  law.  This bill  would                                                               
eliminate  any   question  about   whether  practices   of  these                                                               
financial institutions would  comply with state law  and put them                                                               
on an equal  footing with federal law. He  clarified his comments                                                               
with illustrations.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked what the  outstanding prior balance referred                                                               
to.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  replied that it referred  to a car that  was not                                                               
worth as  much as the outstanding  loan amount on it.  He said it                                                               
is critical  to disclose these  amounts on a lease  because those                                                               
are regulated differently  and it could be  considered a personal                                                               
loan  if it's  not  disclosed properly.  It  is called  "negative                                                               
equity" in the auto business.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  reiterated that SB  300 removes the  question that                                                               
this kind of transaction complies with  state law. He asked if he                                                               
heard of any opposition.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he hadn't heard of any  objections. He even                                                               
asked  Ed  Sniffen,  Assistant  Attorney  General,  who  said  he                                                               
thought it was good legislation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGGINS  noted that  he  had  an  E-mail from  the  Alaska                                                               
Bankers Association stating it had no objection to it.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:01:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KOOKESH  moved to  report  SB  300 from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations   and  attached  zero   fiscal  note.                                                               
Without  objection,   SB  300  was   reported  from   the  Senate                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS called an at-ease from 2:01:25 PM to 2:05:47 PM.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:05:50 PM                                                                                                                    
          SB 261-REGULATION OF HWYS; TRAFFIC OFFENSES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS announced SB 261 to be up for discussion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOHN    MacKINNON,    Deputy    Commissioner,    Department    of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities (DOTPF), referred  to a map                                                               
showing  28  years' worth  of  accidents  on the  Seward  Highway                                                               
between Girdwood and  Potter's Marsh.  He remarked  that the high                                                               
accident rates  were mostly  the result of  driver behavior.   He                                                               
explained that the bill allows  segments of road to be identified                                                               
that  have a  high rate  of  accidents and  establishes a  safety                                                               
corridor  where  the  fines  are   higher  and  enforcement  more                                                               
stringent.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:08:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if the  designation  of "safety  corridor"                                                               
included a role  for the Department of Public  Safety (DPS) since                                                               
the state troopers enforce the law.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  replied  that he  wanted to  have                                                               
very close  coordination and cooperation  with the  Department of                                                               
Public  Safety.  He  said  the  original  bill  stated  that  the                                                               
department would  designate portions of  a highway to  be traffic                                                               
safety corridors and he had  proposed a clarifying amendment that                                                               
says the  commissioner of the Department  of Transportation shall                                                               
consult with commissioner of Public Safety as follows:                                                                          
                                                       24G-2                                                                    
                                                   2/21/2006                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                       
     Page 1, line 6, following "corridors":                                                                                   
          Insert "; fines"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "by posting signs at the beginning and end                                                                     
     of the corridor."                                                                                                          
          Insert ". The commissioner shall establish                                                                            
     criteria  for  the   designation  and  continuation  of                                                                    
     traffic   safety   corridors.   In   establishing   the                                                                    
     criteria, the  commissioner may consider  accident data                                                                    
     and reports, the type and  volume of vehicular traffic,                                                                    
     engineering  and traffic  studies,  and other  relevant                                                                    
     factors.   Before the  department designates  a traffic                                                                    
     safety  corridor, the  commissioner shall  consult with                                                                    
     the commissioner of public safety  and may consult with                                                                    
     other   local,  state,   and   federal  agencies   with                                                                    
     responsibility for traffic safety."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 10, following "AS 28.40.070.":                                                                                
          Insert   "The   department   shall   erect   signs                                                                    
     designating traffic  safety corridors and  alerting the                                                                    
     public   that  motor   vehicle  and   traffic  offenses                                                                    
     committed  within  a  corridor are  subject  to  double                                                                    
     fines."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 11, following "designation":                                                                                  
          Insert "of"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 12:                                                                                                           
          Delete "posting of"                                                                                                   
          Insert "erection of signs regarding"                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "posted"                                                                                                       
          Insert "on which signs have been erected                                                                              
     designating that portion"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 24:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
       "* Sec. 6. The uncodified  law of the State of Alaska                                                                
     is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                                
          TRANSITION. (a) Notwithstanding the requirements                                                                      
     of AS 28.40.070(b),  added by  sec. 4 of this  Act, and                                                                    
     AS 37.05.142  that fines  collected under  AS 28.40.070                                                                    
     for offenses committed in a  traffic safety corridor be                                                                    
     accounted  for  separately,  the  Alaska  Court  System                                                                    
     shall  deposit  such  money collected  in  the  general                                                                    
     fund.                                                                                                                      
          (b)  Subsection (a) of this section applies to                                                                        
     collections   at  a   court  location   where  separate                                                                    
     accounting  for traffic  safety corridor  fines is  not                                                                    
     achievable. The  administrative director of  the Alaska                                                                    
     Court   System   shall   notify   the   Department   of                                                                    
     Administration when  such a court  location is  able to                                                                    
     separately  account  for  fines imposed  and  collected                                                                    
     under AS 28.40.070 for offenses  committed in a traffic                                                                    
     safety corridor."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the remaining bill section accordingly.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:10:03 PM                                                                                                                    
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  said he had a  public meeting with                                                               
the State  Troopers in Wasilla  recently in which he  showed them                                                               
the department's highway  maps. He referenced the  one behind the                                                               
chairman  showing  the Knik/Goose  Bay  Road  that indicated  the                                                               
fatal accident locations for the  years 1977 through 2005. It was                                                               
the top  road in the state  as far as accidents  go. The Troopers                                                               
thought  it was  an  opportunity to  focus  enforcement in  those                                                               
areas.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  remarked that  the  maps  were valuable  and  he                                                               
wondered what  efforts the department  was making with  regard to                                                               
publicizing this  information.  He  emphasized that it  was worth                                                               
getting the word out beyond  this hearing. Most people would like                                                               
to be able to know where the accidents happen.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON  noted the  Wasilla  meeting  two                                                               
weeks ago and said that the  department would be meeting on April                                                               
 th                                                                                                                             
4   with the  joint Palmer/Wasilla  Chamber of  Commerce to  give                                                               
them  a  similar  presentation for  their  area.  The  Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna Borough has three bad  road segments that involved driver                                                               
behavior issues.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  said he is a  member of the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety Budget Subcommittee  and wanted to show these  maps to the                                                               
commissioner at some point.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON agreed  to provide him  with those                                                               
maps mounted.   Speaking to  the proposed amendment, he  noted it                                                               
would give the  commissioner of DOTPF direction  on what criteria                                                               
and factors to  consider in designating the  safety corridors and                                                               
requires consultation with the DPS  commissioner. The new Section                                                               
6 was  requested by the  court system and covered  accounting for                                                               
the double fines.  It allowed a portion of  the increased penalty                                                               
to  go  back   to  the  department  to  be   used  for  increased                                                               
enforcement and education programs.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He also provided the committee with  a draft of the criteria that                                                               
would be used in establishing  the traffic zones in their traffic                                                               
manual.  Being in  the manual  would allow  them to  make quicker                                                               
adjustments  if   certain  criterion  is  not   adequate  or  too                                                               
stringent.  It  also  contains   thresholds  for  triggering  and                                                               
decommissioning  traffic safety  corridors that  were recommended                                                               
by their traffic engineers.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:15:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  moved  to  adopt  Amendment  1,  labeled  24G-2,                                                               
2/21/2006. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MacKINNON explained  that using an average of                                                               
three years  to measure fatal,  plus major injury rate,  per mile                                                               
of corridor falls  was a minimum amount of time  to establish any                                                               
statistical  significance.  He  didn't   want  to  see  corridors                                                               
lasting forever  and didn't want  them put everywhere.  He didn't                                                               
want  more than  10 statewide  and preferably  only five  or six,                                                               
because when too many are used, they lose their impact.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:17:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS mentioned requiring headlights to be turned on.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MacKINNON acknowledged that could be done.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:17:38 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF   OTTESEN,  Director,   Division  of   Program  Development,                                                               
Department  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities, said  that                                                               
topic  had been  dear  to  his heart  for  about  20 years.  Both                                                               
Scandinavia and  Canada require  headlights year  round. Research                                                               
has shown  that in high latitude  locations, a lot of  the day is                                                               
at low sun angles and that  causes long shadows across the road -                                                               
and in  Alaska, we have  dirty cars.  The combination of  a grey,                                                               
dark car  in shadow  makes it hard  to see.  Mandatory headlights                                                               
have been shown  to reduce accidents by as much  as 20 percent in                                                               
those locations.  He couldn't think  of anything else  that would                                                               
yield such a benefit for such a low cost.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS said  he wanted to look at the  possibility of such                                                               
a mandatory requirement.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. OTTESEN said  he thought that would be  an excellent addition                                                               
to this bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH  opined that should  be part of the  criteria and                                                               
not part of the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS understood that and  he also wanted a definition of                                                               
"rural roads".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  said the  Parks Highway  would be                                                               
considered a rural road.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH asked if it wasn't in the city limits.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  OTTESEN explained  that the  definition of  rural and  urban                                                               
usually fell to the census  bureau definition, which looks at the                                                               
total population and density. Most of Mat-Su remains rural.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  added that  on the  rural highway                                                               
segments,  accidents are  mostly head-on  collisions and  running                                                               
off  the road,  whereas  in  urban situations,  they  tend to  be                                                               
intersection-related.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:21:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGGINS said  they had  also talked  about having  digital                                                               
read  out speed  signs and  asked if  that would  fit within  the                                                               
$5,000 budget for a corridor.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  replies  yes. That  would be  the                                                               
cost  of putting  up  non-electronic signs.  A  number of  reader                                                               
boards and speed carts are on order.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS asked if they were expensive.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER MacKINNON  replied they  are a  few tens  of                                                               
thousands. Small  signs that  are attached  to the  same standard                                                               
are more reasonably priced.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:22:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  asked if he was  confident that a large  number of                                                               
communities wouldn't qualify with the criteria he has drafted.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER MacKINNON replied yes.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS asked what others he anticipated qualifying.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON  replied in  the  Central  Region                                                               
between  Anchorage and  Seward, probably  three or  four segments                                                               
could be considered  safety corridors. In fact,  all the sections                                                               
could  be considered  as one  corridor. Wasilla  has three.  Data                                                               
from the Northern Region hadn't been crunched yet.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:24:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGGINS asked  if  making  a whole  segment  of highway  a                                                               
safety corridor was a good idea.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON  replied that  the  stretch  from                                                               
Potter  Marsh to  Girdwood definitely  fits the  criteria and  it                                                               
makes  sense  to  include  small stretches  that  don't  fit  the                                                               
criteria with the larger stretches.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:26:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   HUGGINS   asked  how   detailed   the   process  is   for                                                               
decommissioning the corridors.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON replied that  two of three  "Es" -                                                               
education and enforcement  - could be applied  immediately to any                                                               
corridor. Engineering  would involve reconstruction of  the road,                                                               
but  that  would  follow  in many  cases  and,  therefore,  takes                                                               
longer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGGINS said  there should  be a  review process  for this                                                               
issue next year.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  MacKINNON agreed  and said he  wouldn't pass                                                               
up an opportunity  to "blow our own horn." He  explained that his                                                               
highway engineers do highway  safety improvement programs (HSIP),                                                               
which are a lot of  little construction projects in sections that                                                               
have  high accident  rates.  As soon  as  those improvements  are                                                               
made, their  effectiveness is measured  - with an  almost instant                                                               
success rate.  "You put  the turn-lanes in  and you  start seeing                                                               
fewer and fewer accidents."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:30:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH said the bill  doesn't give the commissioner power                                                               
to  order that  headlights  lights be  on and  he  asked if  that                                                               
authority exist someplace else either in regulation or statute.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. OTTESEN said  he wasn't aware of that authority,  so it might                                                               
be a good  minor addition to this  bill.  He added  that he could                                                               
provide research.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  surmised that all  the committee  members thought                                                               
it would be a good idea.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:31:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS suggested the  aforementioned modification could be                                                               
made in the next committee of referral.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH moved to report  CSSB 261(TRA) from committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached fiscal  note.   Without                                                               
objection,   CSSB  261(TRA)   was   reported   from  the   Senate                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
CHAIR  HUGGINS  adjourned   the  Senate  Transportation  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting at 2:33:23 PM.                                                                                              

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