Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/24/2009 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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01:33:46 PM Start
01:33:51 PM General Subject(s): Public Testimony – Hb 154
02:33:52 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 24, 2009                                                                                           
                         1:33 p.m.                                                                                              
 1:33:46 PM                                                                                                                   
 CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Stoltze called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
 to order at 1:33 p.m.                                                                                                          
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                              
 Representative Mike Hawker, Co-Chair                                                                                           
 Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                          
 Representative Bill Thomas Jr., Vice-Chair                                                                                     
 Representative Allan Austerman                                                                                                 
 Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                  
 Representative Anna Fairclough                                                                                                 
 Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                  
 Representative Les Gara                                                                                                        
 Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                    
 Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                      
 Representative Woodie Salmon                                                                                                   
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                               
 ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                 
 Joanna Wassillie, White Mountain; John MacKinnon, Executive                                                                    
 Director, Associated General  Contractors of  Alaska; Tom                                                                      
 Bryce, Alaska District Council of Labors;                                                                                      
 PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                   
 Rick Gifford, Manager of Kodiak Island Borough; Marv Smith,                                                                    
 Manager,  Bristol   Bay   Borough;  Gary   Hennigh,  City                                                                      
 Administrator, King Cove;  Amy  Titus, City  Clerk, White                                                                      
 Mountain;  Dan  Harrilson, Mayor,   White  Mountain; Aves                                                                      
 Thompson, Executive Director of Alaska Trucking Association;                                                                   
 Governor Bill Sheffield,  Anchorage; Tony Johansen, Great                                                                      
 Northwest Contractor, Fairbanks; Bruce  Carr, Director of                                                                      
 Strategic Planning, Alaska Railroad;                                                                                           
 ^GENERAL SUBJECT(S): Public Testimony - HB 154                                                                               
The  following  overview was  taken  in  log  note  format.                                                                     
Handouts will be  on file with the House  Finance Committee                                                                     
through  the 26th  Legislative Session,  contact  465-6814.                                                                     
After the 26th  Legislative Session they will be  available                                                                     
through the Legislative Library at 465-3808.                                                                                    
TIME        SPEAKER         DISCUSSION                                                                                      
1:33:51 PM Co-Chair         Indicated that the public testimony                                                               
            Stoltze         would only concern the DOT Surface                                                                  
                            Transportation portion of the stimulus                                                              
1:35:09 PM JOANNA           Spoke in support of the White Mountain                                                            
            WASSILLIE,      Public     Safety    Building.     She                                                              
            WHITE           acknowledged the need for the facility                                                              
            MOUNTAIN,       for the White Mountain Volunteer Fire                                                               
                            Department,  Village   Public   Safety                                                              
                            Officer and  equipment.  The community                                                              
                            has  received  $800,000  in  Community                                                              
                            Development Block Grants funds that is                                                              
                            contingent on legislative support.                                                                
1:37:30 PM  Representative  Asked who gave the $800,000 in funds to                                                           
            Austerman       the community.                                                                                    
1:37:46 PM  Representative  Asked what the amount of the request to                                                           
            Joule           the legislature.                                                                                  
1:38:06 PM Joanna           Indicated she was not sure but will get                                                           
            Wassille        that to the committee. She remarked the                                                             
                            amount  could   be   emailed  to   the                                                              
                            committee. She  related the importance                                                              
                            of the facility within the community.                                                             
1:40:38 PM JOHN             Spoke in support of HB 154. The                                                                   
            MACKINNON,      association represents 650 members                                                                  
            EXECUTIVE       across the state. He urged rapid                                                                    
            DIRECTOR,       passing of this bill to start awaiting                                                              
            ASSOCIATED      projects. He noted that delays keep                                                                 
            GENERAL         projects   from  moving   forward   in                                                              
            CONTRACTORS OF  Alaska's short construction season. He                                                              
            ALASKA,         related several projects that are ready                                                             
                            for bid.                                                                                          
1:43:32 PM Vice-Chair       Revealed concern that his community                                                               
            Thomas          will not see any stimulus projects. He                                                              
                            noted four projects for his community                                                               
                            and wanted  to  be assured  that local                                                              
                            hire policies  would  be  followed. He                                                              
                            wanted to know what to do to make sure                                                              
                            contractors hire locally.                                                                         
1:44:39 PM  John MacKinnon  Noted that earlier  higher budgets had                                                            
                            been good for construction and outside                                                              
                            bidders expressed interest. He reported                                                             
                            that the national stimulus money would                                                              
                            probably keep out-of-state contractors                                                              
                            working in  their own states.  He said                                                              
                            that  there  are those  in  the  state                                                              
                            monitoring resident hire.                                                                         
1:45:56 PM Vice-Chair       Reported that often employment is from                                                            
            Thomas          out of town when locals are capable of                                                              
                            doing this work.                                                                                  
 1:46:38 PM  Representative Acknowledged  that  the state  can  not                                                           
             Gara           mandate local hire, but a contractor or                                                             
                            union can themselves select local hire                                                              
                            to compete for these jobs.                                                                        
 1:47:50 PM  John MacKinnon  Agreed with  Representative Gara  that                                                           
                            many contractors have a good record for                                                             
                            local hire and some do not.                                                                       
 1:48:32 PM  Representative Stressed  that a substantial amount  of                                                           
             Gara           government   money   is   received   by                                                             
                            contractors and the government should                                                               
                            look more favorably on those who do                                                                 
                            resident hire.                                                                                    
 1:49:36 PM  John MacKinnon Reported  that his contractors do  work                                                           
                            toward local hire.                                                                                
 1:50:00 PM TOM      BRYCE, Asked for support for Mr. MacKinnon and                                                           
             ALASKA         urged support for HB 154.                                                                           
             COUNCIL     OF                                                                                                     
 1:51:45 PM  RICK  GIFFORD, Spoke  in  support of  HB 154  and  the                                                           
             MANAGER     OF Kodiak resurfacing project outlined by                                                              
             KODIAK ISLAND DOT as shovel ready.                                                                               
             testified via                                                                                                      
 1:53:15 PM  Representative Asked if  the resurfacing project was a                                                           
             Fairclough     higher priority than the chemical                                                                   
                            storage building.                                                                                 
 1:53:44 PM  Rick Gifford   Noted that that the DOT airport project                                                           
                            was also important but the community                                                                
                            would like to see the resurfacing done.                                                           
 1:54:10 PM  Representative Asked  for  priority list  of  projects                                                           
             Fairclough     from Kodiak.                                                                                      
 1:54:28 PM  Rick Gifford   Declared that road resurfacing was more                                                           
 1:54:40 PM  Representative Thought that the airport stimulus funds                                                           
             Gara           were separate from road money and it                                                                
                            was not an either or situation.                                                                   
             Co-Chair       Agreed that Representative Gara was                                                                 
             Stoltze        correct.                                                                                          
 1:55:27 PM AT EASE                                                                                                           
 1:59:35 PM RECONVENED                                                                                                        
 1:59:51 PM  MARV    SMITH, Spoke   in  support   of  funding   for                                                           
             MANAGER,       expansion of the port of Bristol Bay.                                                               
             BRISTOL    BAY He  indicated the borough has submitted                                                             
             BOROUGH        a request of $3.1 million for this                                                                  
             testified  via project. He  thanked the legislature of                                                             
             teleconferenceearlier   funding.  The local  community                                                             
             ,              has   contributed   $1   million.   The                                                             
                            community has also received funding                                                               
                            from the  Denali  Commission and  BBDC                                                              
                            through local  company.  The community                                                              
                            has total commitment for this project.                                                              
                            The project  is shovel ready  and $2.8                                                              
                            million needed to finalize second part                                                              
                           of project.                                                                                        
2:03:45 PM  GARY   HENNIGH, Spoke of a program need to be added to                                                            
            CITY            the stimulus package. He requested $1.5                                                             
            ADMINISTRATOR,  million to finish a 5-year, $9 million                                                              
            KING      COVE local project. He noted this final                                                                   
            testified  via  phase of asphalt paving is ready to be                                                              
            teleconferencecompleted.  Urged support for DOT to add                                                              
            ,               this project to the stimulus funds.                                                               
2:06:42 PM  Representative  Asked for  clarification  on the  King                                                            
            Austerman       Cove project.                                                                                     
2:06:55 PM  Gary Hennigh    Replied this  is a  major  overall and                                                            
                            upgrade of  4.5 miles  of  city street                                                              
                            system in downtown King Cove.                                                                     
2:07:53 PM AMY       TITUS, Spoke in support of the White Mountain                                                            
            CITY     CLERK, Public Safety funding. She turned over                                                              
            WHITE  MOUNTAIN testimony  to   the  mayor   of  White                                                              
            testified via Mountain.                                                                                           
2:08:21 PM  DAN  HARRILSON, Spoke  for  support in  finishing  the                                                            
            MAYOR,    WHITE White Mountain  Public Safety Building                                                              
            MOUNTAIN        project. He indicated that the design                                                               
            testified  via  phase is completed and ready to go out                                                              
            teleconferencefor   bids. He  noted that fires  in the                                                              
            ,               community could be dealt with faster                                                                
                            with this building and equipment.                                                                 
2:10:10 PM Co-Chair         Asked that information on this project                                                            
            Stoltze         be sent to the committee.                                                                         
2:10:24 PM  AVES  THOMPSON, Spoke in support of funding in HB 154.                                                            
            EXECUTIVE       He emphasized that funding for these                                                                
            DIRECTOR    OF  projects  meets  urgent  transportation                                                             
            ALASKA          needs throughout the state. He believed                                                             
            TRUCKING        this would provide meaningful, well                                                                 
            ASSOCIATION     paying jobs for Alaskans.                                                                         
            testified via                                                                                                       
2:11:51 PM  GOVERNOR  BILL  Urged the support for funding the Port                                                            
            SHEFFIELD,      of Anchorage to be added to the                                                                     
            ANCHORAGE       stimulus bill in the amount of $20                                                                  
            testified  via  million. He  reported  this would  add                                                              
           teleconferenceabout 400 jobs to the state.                                                                         
2:13:52 PM  Representative  Asked about  the $20  million  for the                                                            
            Fairclough      port and wondered about the readiness                                                               
                            for  the project  to  go  forward this                                                              
 2:14:20 PM  Bill Sheffield Reported that some  work is in progress                                                           
                            and there were other contracts that can                                                             
                            move forward if  the money is received.                                                             
                            He  stressed that the north end of  the                                                             
                            port  must be completed  by the end  of                                                             
 2:15:19 PM  Representative Asked  if all the funding was  in place                                                           
             Fairclough     for this years phasing to complete that                                                             
 2:15:33 PM  Bill Sheffield Replied they do  not. He indicated that                                                           
                            the  $20  million would  give them  $40                                                             
                            million that  would finish the projects                                                             
                            and  start  on  other projects  in  the                                                             
                           north end.                                                                                         
 2:16:26 PM  Representative Asked  again if this project  was short                                                           
             Fairclough     $40 million to complete.                                                                          
 2:16:40 PM Bill Sheffield Replied yes.                                                                                       
 2:17:03 PM  TONY JOHANSEN, Spoke in support of HB 154. He reported                                                           
             GREAT          this money would mean work for Alaskan                                                              
             NORTHWEST      contractors this summer. He affirmed                                                                
             CONTRACTOR,    the short construction season in Alaska                                                             
             FAIRBANKS      and delays reduce pay checks for                                                                    
             testified via workers.                                                                                           
 2:20:03 PM  BRUCE    CARR, Reported  the  railroad  is   the  only                                                           
             DIRECTOR    OF public transportation provider eligible                                                             
             STRATEGIC      to receive transportation funds in two                                                              
             PLANNING,      programs. He noted funds received by                                                                
             ALASKA         the railroad do not diminish any funds                                                              
             RAILROAD       received by any other transit agency in                                                             
             testified  via Alaska  or   any  DOT  road  funds.  He                                                             
             teleconferenceindicated   that  the  stimulus  package                                                             
             ,              pushed additional funds in into regular                                                             
                            formula  programs at $25.8  million. He                                                             
                            reported   that  a  list   of  eligible                                                             
                            projects will be presented to the Board                                                             
                            of  Directors on April 1 for review and                                                             
 2:24:15 PM Co-Chair        Asked that the list of projects be sent                                                           
             Stoltze        to    the    co-chairs    office    for                                                             
 2:24:25 PM  Representative Agreed  that one part of money must  go                                                           
             Gara           to the railroad. He also understood                                                                 
                            that  railroad also gets a  set portion                                                             
                            of the federal transit money. He wanted                                                             
                            to know if that was correct.                                                                      
 2:24:54 PM Bruce Carr      Replied that was not correct. He                                                                  
                            indicated there were two different pots                                                             
                            of  money. He  indicated there are  two                                                             
                            tiers, the bus tier and fixed guide way                                                             
                            tier of money. He noted the railroad is                                                             
                            the  only one receiving the fixed guide                                                           
                           way money.                                                                                         
2:26:01 PM  Representative  Asked what statute  requires a portion                                                            
            Gara            to go to the fixed guide way as opposed                                                             
                            to the bus tier.                                                                                  
2:26:19 PM Bruce Carr       Replied that the railroad is in the                                                               
                            federal statute as  a fixed  guide way                                                              
                            railroad operator and that is how they                                                              
                           are funded.                                                                                        
2:26:35 PM  Representative  Asked if the fixed  guide way money is                                                            
            Gara            national money just dedicated to                                                                    
                            railroads, but is there any other money                                                             
                            being received under the stimulus bill                                                              
                            that  is  also   available  for  other                                                              
                            transit projects..                                                                                
2:26:54 PM Bruce Carr       Indicated that the railroad was only                                                              
                            getting funds under the fixed guide way                                                             
2:27:13 PM  Representative  Believed  he  understood that  federal                                                            
            Gara            transit money was directed in a high                                                                
                            proportion toward the railroad.                                                                   
2:27:27 PM Bruce Carr       Replied that the fixed guide way tier                                                             
                            has  two   pieces   to   the  formula;                                                              
                            passenger  rail  miles  and  passenger                                                              
                            revenue coach miles.  He reported that                                                              
                            original   determination  by   federal                                                              
                            transit  administration included  only                                                              
                            Anchorage area for counting mileage and                                                             
                            now entire system is  eligible for the                                                              
                            formula money.                                                                                    
2:28:36 PM  Representative  Asked  if  this  impacts  other  money                                                            
            Gara            available for other transit programs.                                                             
            Bruce Carr      Replied not in Alaska.                                                                            
2:28:44 PM Co-Chair         Asked   that   the   railroad  funding                                                            
            Stoltze         received is its entitled formula not                                                                
                            going to Washington DC to advocate for                                                              
                            a separate allotment.                                                                             
2:28:56 PM Bruce Carr       Noted that the stimulus package is by                                                             
                            formula only and distributed by FTA.                                                              
2:29:18 PM  Representative  Reported  that his  take  on  stimulus                                                            
            Gara            package is to decrease dependence on                                                                
                            fossil fuels. He wondered if there are                                                              
                            any projects to enhance commuter rail.                                                            
2:29:54 PM Bruce Carr       Replied that there is a project in                                                                
                            Seward to idle down to electrical power                                                             
                            and shut  down engines. He  noted that                                                              
                            the project  in Fairbanks  will reduce                                                              
                            time to get through the terminal which                                                              
                            will reduce  fuels  and  emissions. He                                                              
                            indicated they are  looking to  DEC to                                                              
                            apply for EPA  funds to further reduce                                                              
                            railroad emissions.                                                                               
 2:31:37 PM Co-Chair        Indicated that public testimony was                                                               
             Stoltze        closed.                                                                                           
 2:31:49 PM Co-Chair        Noted that city manager of Whittier                                                               
             Hawker         provided    testimony   for    eligible                                                             
                            projects and he asked for a written the                                                             
                            report to be added to the committee                                                                 
 2:32:30 PM  Representative Noted  three groups, Bristol Bay,  King                                                           
             Fairclough     Cover, Anchorage, asked for additions                                                               
                            to the package and wondered if they                                                                 
                            will qualify for consideration.                                                                   
 2:33:04 PM Co-Chair        Indicated these projects will be                                                                  
             Stoltze        investigated.                                                                                     
 2:33:20 PM Representative Requested       a     Department      of                                                           
             Gara           Transportation     representative    be                                                             
                            available for the next meeting on this                                                              
             Co-Chair       Agreed that would be a good idea.                                                                 
 2:33:40 PM  Representative Asked  what was the next step  for this                                                           
             Austerman      bill.                                                                                             
 2:33:52 PM Co-Chair        Replied that the House will continue to                                                           
             Stoltze        work with the Senate and the bill will                                                              
                            then come back before the committee.                                                              
 The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 PM                                                                                           

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