Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/17/2015 01:00 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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01:03:29 PM Start
01:04:20 PM Confirmation Hearing: Board of Marine Pilots
01:15:44 PM Confirmation Hearing: Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (dotpf)
01:37:41 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner - Department of Transportation
Marc Luiken
Board of Marine Pilots
Shirley Marquardt - Unalaska
David Arzt - Homer
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                       February 17, 2015                                                                                        
                           1:03 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Peter Micciche, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Click Bishop, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
     Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                                   
          Shirley Marquardt                                                                                                     
          David Arzt                                                                                                            
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
     Commissioner - Department Of Transportation and Public                                                                   
     Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                                                       
          Marc Luiken                                                                                                           
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SHIRLEY MARQUARDT                                                                                                               
Unalaska, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Board of Marine Pilots nominee                                                                            
DAVID ARZT                                                                                                                      
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Board of Marine Pilots nominee                                                                            
MARC LUIKEN, Commissioner-designee                                                                                              
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Commissioner-designee for DOTPF                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:03:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PETER  MICCICHE called  the Senate  Transportation Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:03  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Bishop, Stedman, Egan, and Chair Micciche.                                                                  
^CONFIRMATION HEARING: Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                   
                     CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                  
                     Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                 
1:04:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE said  the committee  would take  up confirmations                                                               
and invited  Shirley Marquardt to  tell them  why she would  be a                                                               
good candidate for the Board of Marine Pilots.                                                                                  
1:04:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SHIRLEY  MARQUARDT, Board  of  Marine  Pilots nominee,  Unalaska,                                                               
Alaska, said she had been living  in Dutch Harbor for the last 34                                                               
years and  has been interested in  serving on the board  for four                                                               
or  five years.  She has  had the  opportunity to  work with  the                                                               
Pilot's organization  in Western  Alaska on several  high profile                                                               
safety issues  protecting the marine environment  including their                                                               
emergency  towing system  that the  City of  Unalaska and  Alaska                                                               
Marine Pilots put together that  the Coast Guard has placed along                                                               
the Aleutian Chain,  as well. She has also worked  with the board                                                               
on an  emergency mooring buoy  and winter severe storm  rules for                                                               
the thousands of commercial trampers  and freighters operating in                                                               
the local marine waters on an annual basis.                                                                                     
She said the busiest time of  the year is winter when the weather                                                               
is  the  worst.  She  has  seen  first-hand  what  an  incredibly                                                               
valuable tool the  state has to ensure the safe  transit of those                                                               
vessels with  its pilotage program.  She appreciated  the program                                                               
that looks for qualified applicants  and the steps people have to                                                               
go through  to train over a  three-year period in order  to allow                                                               
them  to apply  for  the unlimited  master's  license, which  the                                                               
marine  pilot holds.  Nothing is  left to  chance; everything  is                                                               
learned, relearned, and relearned over and over again.                                                                          
CHAIR MICCICHE  said she serves as  mayor of a community  that is                                                               
dependent  upon safe  marine traffic  and mooring  and asked  the                                                               
typical makeup  of the Board  of Marine  Pilots. Is she  the only                                                               
non-professional in the group?                                                                                                  
MS.  MARQUARDT  answered  there  are two  public  and  two  pilot                                                               
members and  two members  from a  ships agent  organization. From                                                               
the  public side,  she realizes  the  value of  safe pilotage  in                                                               
keeping their robust commerce industry going.                                                                                   
SENATOR BISHOP  looked at her  employment history and  asked what                                                               
kind of heavy equipment she drives at Samson Tug and Barge.                                                                     
MS. MARQUARDT answered  she drives top picks,  45-ton fork lifts,                                                               
running gear, and cranes.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  STEDMAN  said he  had  worked  with Ms.  Marquardt  over                                                               
several years on  various issues and thought she would  be a fine                                                               
member of the board.                                                                                                            
1:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   EGAN  supported   Senator  Stedman's   words  and   her                                                               
CHAIR MICCICHE agreed with the others' comments.                                                                                
MS. MARQUARDT thanked  them for their trust and said  she will do                                                               
her level  best to be  fair and  knowledgeable and make  the best                                                               
decisions for the State of Alaska.                                                                                              
1:11:49 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID ARZT, Board  of Marine Pilots nominee,  Homer, Alaska, said                                                               
he is  a marine pilot  based in  Dutch Harbor, Unalaska,  and his                                                               
region  covers the  western portion  of  the state.  He has  been                                                               
associated with this pilotage group  for 10 years. Prior to that,                                                               
he had 20 years of  sea-going experience and an unlimited tonnage                                                               
master's license going in and out  of Valdez and up Cook Inlet to                                                               
Nikiski.   He also worked  shore-side with BP shipping  in Prince                                                               
William Sound for a couple of years.  He has been a member of the                                                               
Board  of Marine  Pilots  for  four years  as  one  of the  chief                                                               
CHAIR  MICCICHE  thanked  him  for his  service  and  finding  no                                                               
questions,  remarked on  the  high  level of  comfort  he has  in                                                               
knowing Mr. Arzt is involved when  he is dealing with shipping on                                                               
large  tank vessels  and  as part  of  a family-owned  commercial                                                               
fishing operation when large tank vessels come by.                                                                              
^CONFIRMATION     HEARING:     Commissioner,    Department     of                                                               
Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                                    
                      CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                                                  
 Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                           
CHAIR MICCICHE  invited Commissioner-designee Luiken to  give the                                                               
committee a history lesson.                                                                                                     
1:15:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MARC LUIKEN, Commissioner-designee,  Department of Transportation                                                               
and Public Facilities  (DOTPF), said it is a  privilege to appear                                                               
before  them today  and  to  serve his  state.  His  focus is  to                                                               
organize  the  department  to meet  the  budget  challenges  that                                                               
Alaska is  currently facing by  consolidating where  possible and                                                               
creating  efficiencies throughout  the  department. Changes  made                                                               
now have to  be sustainable for the long-term and  he will strive                                                               
to minimize  the impacts to  core services  that are so  vital to                                                               
Alaskans every day.                                                                                                             
In  FY16, the  department is  looking at  reducing its  operating                                                               
budget  by $12  million,  he  said. This  equates  to  about a  4                                                               
percent reduction  from the  prior fiscal year  and leads  to the                                                               
elimination  of nine  full-time,  three part-time  and four  non-                                                               
permanent positions spread across the entire department.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  LUIKEN  said  that  during this  period  of  fiscal                                                               
uncertainty  it   is  ever  more   important  to   foster  better                                                               
communications  with  stakeholders:  the  way he  and  his  staff                                                               
communicate   with  the   legislature  and   enhancing  how   the                                                               
department  communicates  and  involves  the  public.  They  must                                                               
better  explain  what  they  can  and cannot  do  and  be  better                                                               
listeners.  Every  Alaskan has  the  potential  to add  value  to                                                               
project design  and delivery and  he recognizes that much  can be                                                               
gained by involving them in the decision making.                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN said the department  will explore new revenue                                                               
generating  opportunities like  a  4.5 percent  increase in  AMHS                                                               
fares and introducing landing fees  at the Deadhorse airport, one                                                               
of the  most important transportation  hubs for the  North Slope.                                                               
By 2017,  they believe  that revenue  generated from  the landing                                                               
fees will offset the cost  of operating the airport. In addition,                                                               
they will consider recommendations from the AMHS tariff study.                                                                  
1:20:07 PM                                                                                                                    
He said  he began his tenure  as commissioner by bringing  back a                                                               
couple of familiar  faces. He saw a need for  leaders to fill the                                                               
top positions in the organization, which  is why he is pleased to                                                               
have Steve Hatter  rejoin as the Deputy Commissioner.  He is very                                                               
talented  with  a very  similar  background  to his.  During  his                                                               
previous  tenure he  made outstanding  progress  in the  aviation                                                               
arena. As a  result of his leadership, the air  carriers that use                                                               
the Alaska  International Airport system signed  an unprecedented                                                               
10-year user agreement.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN  said he also asked  Deputy Commissioner Mike                                                               
Neusel  to rejoin  as deputy  for the  Marine Highway  System; he                                                               
brings over  30 years  of marine and  leadership experience  as a                                                               
former  Coast  Guard  Captain,  with  12  of  those  years  being                                                               
stationed in Alaska.                                                                                                            
Deputy  Commissioner   John  Binder  will  continue   to  oversee                                                               
statewide aviation for the department.  He is a proven leader who                                                               
recently stepped up  to fill the commissioner's  duties until the                                                               
beginning of February.                                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER   LUIKEN  said   his  first   priority  is   to  the                                                               
organization;  his  vision  as commissioner  will  focus  on  the                                                               
department's  core mission  and functions:  mobility, access  and                                                               
commerce. As  a department, they  must continue to  provide safe,                                                               
environmentally   responsible   and  sustainable   mobility   for                                                               
travelers, and improve access and  opportunity for individual and                                                               
Alaskan businesses as well as  access to Alaska's vast resources.                                                               
Finally,  they will  support commerce  to  help Alaska's  economy                                                               
His second priority will be  focused on the department's culture;                                                               
the Department  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities (DOTPF)                                                               
must   be  one   department  rather   than  three   independently                                                               
operational  regional entities.  Their  service  will reflect  an                                                               
attitude of responsibility and service  to the public rather than                                                               
arrogance  or  superiority.  They   will  strive  for  continuous                                                               
improvement,  operating in  the  learning mode.  To ensure  these                                                               
changes stick, they will measure  their performance regularly and                                                               
publish  the  results so  Alaskans  will  be  able to  hold  them                                                               
COMMISSIONER  LUIKEN said  they must  also become  efficient with                                                               
their most important  resource, their people. They  stand to lose                                                               
up to  30 percent  of the  employees in the  next five  years due                                                               
primarily to the age of  the workforce and retirement. Therefore,                                                               
their desire  is to  create an organization  that people  want to                                                               
join and  be part of,  one that encourages growth  and recognizes                                                               
and rewards collaboration and innovation.  He will also strive to                                                               
build  an organization  that is  accountable to  the legislature,                                                               
one  which  promotes   integrity,  transparency  and  outstanding                                                               
He  said  the  DOTPF  already has  an  incredibly  dedicated  and                                                               
professional  workforce and  he is  privileged to  serve them  in                                                               
this  capacity. His  goal  is  to give  them  the resources,  the                                                               
training and  the focus to be  even better. Now he  is excited to                                                               
have the  opportunity to  serve this great  state full  time with                                                               
all his strength, skill and ability.                                                                                            
1:23:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN said he thought  the department should accelerate                                                               
the  Marine  Highway  tariff  increases  to  address  the  budget                                                               
challenges. He also asked him to  explain a little about his role                                                               
as a  vice commander of the  11th Air Force in  reorganization of                                                               
headquarters and reduction of manpower.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN  answered that it took  place at headquarters                                                               
PACAF in  Honolulu, Hawaii,  and as  with any  reorganization one                                                               
looks for efficiencies  and redundancy in work,  and reduction in                                                               
staff.  He looked  for creative  ways to  minimize the  impact to                                                               
personnel  as much  as possible,  similar  to what  the state  is                                                               
doing  now:   eliminating  positions   that  aren't   filled  and                                                               
combining positions. He has done  this many times in the military                                                               
in various command positions.                                                                                                   
SENATOR STEDMAN  asked what  he found  when he  came back  to his                                                               
position as commissioner.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  LUIKEN answered  that he  felt he  had made  a good                                                               
start, but his goal back then is  the same as his goal is now: to                                                               
have  a single  organization  -  you'll get  the  same answer  no                                                               
matter what  region you go to.  He is encouraged to  see that the                                                               
department has made progress. As  an example, over the last year,                                                               
the  Northern Region  was  without a  regional  director and  Rob                                                               
Campbell from  Central Region  stepped in to  oversee both.  As a                                                               
result, they  are communicating much  more regularly  and sharing                                                               
best practices and processes that  may have been different in the                                                               
SENATOR EGAN said  he was really pleased to have  Mr. Luiken back                                                               
and pleased that  he recognizes the AMHS as part  of the national                                                               
highway system.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR BISHOP  asked if  the gasline  infrastructure is  still a                                                               
priority and a focus of the department.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN  answered yes;  the department  has continued                                                               
working on the Richardson, Parks,  and Dalton highways to prepare                                                               
them  for that  work that  includes  quite a  bit of  renovation,                                                               
restoration  or replacement  of many  of  the bridges  on all  of                                                               
those highways.                                                                                                                 
1:30:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP asked  if he had appointed someone  as director of                                                               
the Northern Region.                                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN answered no, but it was forthcoming.                                                                        
CHAIR MICCICHE  thanked him for his  service and said that  he is                                                               
inheriting a different  organization and asked if he  had a focus                                                               
and  some sort  of objective  on  operating a  leaner and  meaner                                                               
department and  how would  he describe  his first  actions moving                                                               
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN  answered that he  has several ideas  and the                                                               
first is to  build the right leadership team, which  he is in the                                                               
middle of doing  now. He wants to make sure  of getting the right                                                               
people to  carry this department  forward. The other areas  he is                                                               
looking at  are to consolidate  and standardize. Those  two alone                                                               
will help create efficiency and  that will impact the budget. His                                                               
sole focus  is to  adjust to  budget realities  without impacting                                                               
services as much as possible.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  a  lot  of the  decisions  made on  DOTPF                                                               
projects were made  with a different fiscal outlook  and asked if                                                               
those projects are being re-evaluated.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LUIKEN said there is  a great opportunity in putting                                                               
the next  four-year Statewide Transportation  Improvement Program                                                               
(STIP)  together to  review those  projects. The  federal capital                                                               
funding has been  pretty steady for many years  and should remain                                                               
so for  the next  few years.  That gives  them an  opportunity to                                                               
improve  the system  and  expand where  possible  to support  the                                                               
economy.  He said  they will  maybe start  by updating  the state                                                               
long-range transportation plans.                                                                                                
1:35:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  if he  is  re-evaluating his  leadership                                                               
philosophy with  reorganization and  asked if it's  possible that                                                               
the current titles on the  chart may change significantly even at                                                               
the higher titles.                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  LUIKEN  answered  yes;  that is  an  option  he  is                                                               
SENATOR  BISHOP moved  to  forward  all three  names  to a  joint                                                               
session  saying that  signing  the report  does  not reflect  the                                                               
intent by any members to vote  for or against the confirmation of                                                               
the  individuals  during  any further  sessions.  There  were  no                                                               
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               
1:37:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE, finding no further business, adjourned the                                                                      
Senate Transportation Standing Committee meeting at 1:37 p.m.                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Marc Luiken Resume for Commissioner of Transportation.pdf STRA 2/17/2015 1:00:00 PM
Shirley Marquardt Resume Board of Marine Pilots.pdf STRA 2/17/2015 1:00:00 PM
Captain David Arzt Resume Board of Marine Pilots.pdf STRA 2/17/2015 1:00:00 PM