Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/16/2004 01:35 PM House TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 260-METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS/AREAS                                                                              
Number 0052                                                                                                                     
CHAIR HOLM announced that the only  order of business would be CS                                                               
FOR  SENATE   BILL  NO.   260(TRA)  am,   "An  Act   relating  to                                                               
metropolitan planning  organizations and  to the policy  board of                                                               
the   metropolitan  planning   organization  for   the  Anchorage                                                               
metropolitan  area;   relating  to  transportation   planning  in                                                               
federally recognized  metropolitan planning areas;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
Number 0089                                                                                                                     
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS, Alaska State  Legislature, speaking  as the                                                               
sponsor of  SB 260,  informed the committee  that it  should have                                                               
the following information:   the latest version of  the bill; the                                                               
sponsor statement for CSSB 260(TRA)am;  the sectional analysis of                                                               
CSSB  260(TRA)am;  the  zero  fiscal note;  and  a  letter  dated                                                               
February  22, 2001,  from the  regional director  of the  Federal                                                               
Highway Administration  (FHWA) aforementioned letter  relates the                                                               
sentiment  that legislative  members on  a metropolitan  planning                                                               
organization (MPO) doesn't constitute  a redesignation so long as                                                               
the members  of the MPO agree  to it.  The  committee should also                                                               
have a spreadsheet specifying the  amount of money over which the                                                               
Anchorage Metropolitan Area  Transportation Solutions (AMATS) has                                                               
had discretion.  He pointed  out that from 2004-2006 the approved                                                               
Transportation  Improvement   Program  (TIP)  amounts   to  $1.25                                                               
billion.   The  AMATS Policy  Committee, he  highlighted, has  an                                                               
enormous   amount  of   influence   and   discretion  over   road                                                               
construction,  maintenance, and  facilities  in  Anchorage.   The                                                               
committee should also have a flow chart of the makeup of AMATS.                                                                 
Number 0282                                                                                                                     
CHAIR HOLM inquired as to the  committee on which the two members                                                               
proposed by the legislation would sit.                                                                                          
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS specified that  those two members  would sit                                                               
on the AMATS Policy Committee.   He mentioned that the Department                                                               
of Transportation & Public  Facilities (DOT&PF) representative is                                                               
always  the chair  of the  AMATS  Policy Committee.   In  further                                                               
response to  Chair Holm,  Senator Ben  Stevens confirmed  that he                                                               
isn't changing  the structure of  AMATS.  He also  mentioned that                                                               
the AMATS Policy Committee originally  consisted of three members                                                               
and was amended  in 1999 to add  two more members for  a total of                                                               
five members.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  directed attention  to a  pie chart  in the                                                               
committee   packet   entitled    "Distribution   of   Federal-Aid                                                               
Transportation  Formula  Funds  Per  17  AAC  05.155-200."    The                                                               
aforementioned chart  specifies how funds for  transportation are                                                               
spent in Alaska.  The amount  of money being discussed under this                                                               
legislation is  27.8 percent of  the total, which equates  to the                                                               
$1.25 billion.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS pointed out  that the committee  should also                                                               
have  a list  of definitions  from  the Statewide  Transportation                                                               
Improvement Program (STIP).   The committee should  have the Code                                                             
of  Federal Regulations  (C.F.R.),  which is  the governing  body                                                             
over  the  formation  of  the   MPO  agreement.    Moreover,  the                                                               
committee should  have a  copy of the  MPO agreement  between the                                                               
Municipality  of  Anchorage  and  the   State  of  Alaska.    The                                                               
committee packet should  include a series of  letters dating back                                                               
to June 1974  forward.  He explained that he  included the latter                                                               
because  there  has  been  discussion  regarding  whether  adding                                                               
members is  a redesignation, which  means that the  memorandum of                                                               
understanding  would have  to be  redrawn.   Senator Ben  Stevens                                                               
offered his interpretation  that as long as  the changes proposed                                                               
don't change  the intent  of the MPO  agreement, then  it doesn't                                                               
constitute a redesignation.  If  the members agree to the change,                                                               
then it's an amendment rather  than a redesignation.  Senator Ben                                                               
Stevens  opined that  if CSSB  260(TRA)am  passes as  it is,  the                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage  won't agree  to it  as an  amendment,                                                               
which is the challenge.                                                                                                         
Number 0675                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS  turned  to the  sectional  analysis.    In                                                               
Section 1  the language requiring  the design to be  adequate for                                                               
at  least the  next  25  years is  deleted.    The engineers  and                                                               
planners agree with  the concept of trying to work  with MPOs and                                                               
traffic  consultants in  terms  of  understanding future  traffic                                                               
patterns.   However, the  requirement of  making a  road adequate                                                               
for  25  years  after  its construction  would  essentially  mean                                                               
looking into the future 30-32 years  because it takes up to seven                                                               
years to  design a road.   Seeing that far into  the future isn't                                                               
quite attainable,  and therefore this legislation  returns to the                                                               
original  language  of  the 20-year  requirement,  which  is  the                                                               
requirement  most planning  areas  use across  the  country.   He                                                               
noted that  the aforementioned  change was  at the  suggestion of                                                               
the engineers and DOT&PF.                                                                                                       
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS moved on  to Section 2, which  addresses the                                                               
MPO.     Under   Section   2,  AS   19.20.200  inserts   language                                                               
establishing  the MPO;  this  is language  that  hasn't been  [in                                                               
statute]  before.    Alaska  Statute  19.20.210  establishes  the                                                               
membership  of the  policy committee  of the  MPO, and  therefore                                                               
adds  the two  voting members  as specified  on page  2, line  25                                                               
through page 3,  line 4.  He  noted that the language  on page 2,                                                               
lines 25-26, is such that Eagle River could be included.                                                                        
Number 0860                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  HOLM highlighted  that Fairbanks  has a  Metropolitan Area                                                               
Transportation  Solutions, although  it doesn't  have the  policy                                                               
[structure of AMATS].                                                                                                           
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS  informed  the  committee  that  FMATS  was                                                               
established  in  2001  and  became  operational  in  2002.    The                                                               
language "for  populations greater than 200,000"  was included so                                                               
that FMATS wouldn't  be required to do this.   However, he opined                                                               
that at  some point FMATS  will want  to move in  this direction.                                                               
He  continued the  sectional analysis  with  AS 19.20.220,  which                                                               
provides  the  governor  and  the  commissioner  the  ability  to                                                               
approve a  TIP that's developed  by an MPO Policy  Committee with                                                               
the makeup  as designated in AS  19.20.210.  Section 3  inserts a                                                               
new section  that allows Anchorage's  MPO Policy Committee  to be                                                               
restructured   in  conformance   with   AS   19.20.210  and   the                                                               
restructuring must be performed in a  manner such that it isn't a                                                               
redesignation  of  the  Anchorage   MPO.    Senator  Ben  Stevens                                                               
highlighted  that a  redesignation doesn't  preempt any  planning                                                               
process, federal money, or the ability  for AMATS to operate.  If                                                               
[restructuring of an MPO] is  declared to be a redesignation, the                                                               
existing MPO stays in place  until the redesignation is ratified.                                                               
If  a redesignation  is declared,  the two  bodies negotiate  and                                                               
conclude  with  a  reformatted  agreement.   He  said  he  didn't                                                               
believe the aforementioned would be a bad thing.                                                                                
Number 1044                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH  inquired  as   to  the  fears  of  the                                                               
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS remarked that  the fear of  redesignation is                                                               
overstated because it's only a matter  of time [before it will be                                                               
necessary] to review  the agreement that's 30 years  old in order                                                               
to  determine   whether  other   municipal  entities   should  be                                                               
incorporated.   He emphasized that  his objective is to  open the                                                               
process  in order  to  involve  more people  with  regard to  the                                                               
determination   of  how   these  monies   are  used   within  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK turned  to  the sponsor  statement and  the                                                               
following   sentence  from   it:     "The   current  process   of                                                               
prioritizing  and  allocating  this  funding  for  transportation                                                               
projects  within Anchorage  is  difficult to  understand and  has                                                               
long been  the source of  discontent among  Anchorage residents."                                                               
She requested  that the  sponsor discuss  that and  whether there                                                               
are any projects that hindered  AMATS and DOT&PF from doing their                                                               
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  said that  De Armoun  Road resurfacing  and                                                               
relocation comes  to mind.   The aforementioned project  has been                                                               
through planning and  design.  However, when the  project was put                                                               
out  for public  comment in  the final  phase, it  was discovered                                                               
that most of  those living along De Armoun Road  weren't in favor                                                               
of  the  road redesign  and  relocation.   The  project  required                                                               
acquiring  a   significant  increase  in  right-of-way   and  the                                                               
demolition of  several homes.   While the project was  already in                                                               
the  TIP and  approved, the  community  said it  didn't want  the                                                               
project.   Therefore, the  project was  eventually taken  off the                                                               
TIP.   The aforementioned is an  example of a situation  in which                                                               
the local  community's concerns were  ignored up until  the final                                                               
step  in the  process.   Senator Ben  Stevens clarified  that his                                                               
intent  is to  have more  involvement through  the membership  of                                                               
legislators who can listen to  their constituents and voice their                                                               
concerns through the MPO Policy Committee.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  highlighted that  legislators  appropriate                                                               
funding  with DOT&PF  and  work with  the  federal T-21  funding.                                                               
However, the aforementioned process hasn't worked well either.                                                                  
CHAIR HOLM opined  that one of the problems is  a disconnect with                                                               
what [the  legislature] views as  important projects for  an area                                                               
and those  projects that are  actually on  the STIP.   With FMATS                                                               
and  AMATS in  the middle  of  this, [the  legislature] tries  to                                                               
maintain the power  of appropriation in order to have  a bit more                                                               
control with the projects.   Chair Holm remarked that the process                                                               
really has  no bearing on  whether the public agrees  with what's                                                               
going on and this legislation  seems to offer a better connection                                                               
between the  legislature and the  constituents and back  to FMATS                                                               
and AMATS.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  explained  that the  TIP,  as developed  by                                                               
AMATS and  approved by the  commissioner is rolled into  the STIP                                                               
and  the  [legislature]  has  no input.    The  legislature  only                                                               
approves  or disapproves  [the  funding];  [the legislature]  has                                                               
[always approved  the STIP funding].   He reiterated that  all he                                                               
is  attempting is  a  broader representation  on  the MPO  Policy                                                               
Committee, which develops the TIP.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK  asked if this  legislation has  anything to                                                               
do with SB 71 from last year.                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  replied no.  "This is  accountability on how                                                               
the projects  are prioritized across  all the money, not  just in                                                               
transportation  enhancements, but  road projects,  transportation                                                               
enhancements,   pedestrian   facilities   --  it's   all   across                                                               
everything," he explained.                                                                                                      
Number 1410                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK pointed  out that  the only  two appointees                                                               
[that  sit  on the  MPO  Policy  Committee]  are the  DOT&PF  and                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Conservation (DEC)  representatives                                                               
while the other three members  are elected officials.  Therefore,                                                               
she  questioned   why  the  [MPO  Policy   Committee]  should  be                                                               
broadened if the members are already elected at the local level.                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS highlighted  that currently all three elected                                                               
officials who are members of  the [MPO Policy Committee] are from                                                               
east Anchorage.  In fact,  the Anchorage Assembly members who sit                                                               
on  [the  MPO  Policy  Committee]  are  from  the  same  assembly                                                               
district.   Therefore, he proposed  the argument that  the entire                                                               
metropolitan  area  isn't  being   represented  by  the  assembly                                                               
members,  although he  acknowledged that  the mayor  does provide                                                               
city-wide  representation.   Still,  Senator  Ben Stevens  opined                                                               
that the more people involved  with the planning process provides                                                               
more  access  to  a  greater   diversity  of  constituents.    He                                                               
emphasized that  [the MPO Policy Committee]  has great discretion                                                               
over the future planning of the city, which has grown.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  asked  if  this  legislation  would  be  a                                                               
problem for those projects currently under way.                                                                                 
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS  replied  no,  and  pointed  out  that  the                                                               
effective date of  the change will occur with  the development of                                                               
the next TIP, which is July 1, 2005.                                                                                            
Number 1546                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  noted his  agreement that  there should                                                               
be more input into this process,  especially in light of the fact                                                               
that there is no state or federal input.                                                                                        
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS  turned  attention   to  a  chart  entitled                                                               
"Centerline  Miles  by  Functional Class  and  Ownership",  which                                                               
illustrates  that through  the  memorandum  of understanding  the                                                               
state  has deferred  maintenance  to  the city  in  the ratio  of                                                               
almost 3:1.   He  acknowledged that there  has been  the argument                                                               
that  this  legislation  attempts  to take  control  of  a  local                                                               
process, which he refuted.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH related  his view that in  order for the                                                               
legislature  to appropriate  funds  efficiently,  it should  have                                                               
representation on the board.                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS clarified that  the people being added to the                                                               
process would be elected within the MPO area.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  commented that  this is  something that                                                               
could be reviewed for Fairbanks.                                                                                                
Number 1761                                                                                                                     
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  turned to [Amendment 1],  which he requested                                                               
be offered on his behalf.  Amendment 1 read as follows:                                                                         
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Three"                                                                                                        
          Insert "Four"                                                                                                         
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Two"                                                                                                          
          Insert "Three"                                                                                                        
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Two voting members"                                                                                           
          Insert "At least one member designated by the                                                                         
     municipalities  and at  least one  member appointed  by                                                                    
     the governor shall be public  members who reside within                                                                    
     the metropolitan  area and who  are not  elected public                                                                    
      officials.  The public members shall serve for three-                                                                     
     year terms.                                                                                                                
          (b)  Two nonvoting members of the policy board of                                                                     
      a metropolitan planning organization that is subject                                                                      
     to (a) of this section"                                                                                                    
     Reletter the following subsections accordingly.                                                                            
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  said  that  Amendment 1  is  an attempt  to                                                               
compromise  between his  desire to  open up  the process  and the                                                               
difficulty some  have with allowing  legislators to  be involved.                                                               
Therefore,  Amendment 1  would add  two more  members to  the MPO                                                               
Policy  Committee,  one  of  which would  be  designated  by  the                                                               
municipality and  the other designated  by the governor,  both of                                                               
which would be  nonelected public officials.   The amendment also                                                               
changes  the  legislative  members' involvement  such  that  they                                                               
would remain  on the committee,  but would be  nonvoting members.                                                               
With  the adoption  of Amendment  1,  the membership  of the  MPO                                                               
Policy Committee would increase to  9 members, two of which would                                                               
be nonvoting legislators.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK expressed  concern with  creating a  larger                                                               
board, and inquired  as to what will happen if  this larger board                                                               
doesn't [accomplish what the sponsor intended].                                                                                 
SENATOR BEN STEVENS answered that  there could be another change.                                                               
He highlighted that  [Anchorage] has a small MPO.   He maintained                                                               
his belief in "the more members, the better."                                                                                   
CHAIR  HOLM noted  that the  Fairbanks North  Star Borough  has a                                                               
budget of  about $100 million and  [its MPO] has 11  members.  He                                                               
surmised  that   Senator  Ben  Stevens  is   attempting  to  have                                                               
representation from all districts in the area.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH commented  that roads  spread across  a                                                               
municipality, and  therefore one would  want to represent  all of                                                               
them.  He asked if there  is any district designation on specific                                                               
seats [of the MPO Policy Committee].                                                                                            
SENATOR BEN STEVENS replied no.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   STEPOVICH   expressed   his  belief   that   the                                                               
legislators should be  voting members because they are  as much a                                                               
part of the municipality as the other members.                                                                                  
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS agreed, but  reiterated that Amendment  1 is                                                               
an attempt  to compromise and  meet the objective of  more public                                                               
involvement in the AMATS Policy Committee process.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  stated that  the legislators  should be                                                               
voting  members because  they are  involved in  the appropriation                                                               
process  and are  members of  the municipality.   He  opined that                                                               
having voting legislative members would benefit the community.                                                                  
CHAIR HOLM turned to public testimony.                                                                                          
Number 2162                                                                                                                     
CRAIG    LYON,   Coordinator,    Anchorage   Metropolitan    Area                                                               
Transportation  Solutions  (AMATS),  Municipality  of  Anchorage,                                                               
Transportation  Planning  Manager, noted  that  he  has sent  the                                                               
committee  some  materials,  including a  position  statement,  a                                                               
letter  from the  Federal Highway  Administration dated  March 5,                                                               
and a  copy of the  resolution passed by the  Anchorage Assembly.                                                               
As Senator Ben Stevens related,  AMATS was established in 1976 as                                                               
a multi-agency team  to plan and fund  the transportation systems                                                               
in  the  Anchorage and  Chugiak-Eagle  River  areas when  federal                                                               
funds are  used.  Federal  funding accounts for about  90 percent                                                               
of   public   monies   being   spent   to   develop   Anchorage's                                                               
transportation system.   The  $1.25 million  in the  TIP accounts                                                               
for all  federal monies spent  on transportation projects  in the                                                               
AMATS  area.   The  AMATS  Policy  Committee controls  about  $40                                                               
million  a year.    He  related that  the  policy committee,  the                                                               
primary  decision-making  body  for  AMATS,  is  responsible  for                                                               
annually  approving  the  transportation plan  and  programs  and                                                               
providing policy direction to the AMATS process.                                                                                
MR.  LYON  informed  the  committee   that  the  Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage  is  opposed  to  CSSB  260(TRA)am  for  the  following                                                               
reasons.   Firstly, there  is the  matter of  local control.   He                                                               
reminded the committee that MPOs  were established by the federal                                                               
government   to    prioritize   the   expenditure    of   federal                                                               
transportation dollars  within certain  urbanized municipalities.                                                               
Adding  two  more state  positions  to  the  MPO would  tilt  the                                                               
balance  away from  local control.   The  current process  allows                                                               
local citizens  the opportunity to discuss  transportation issues                                                               
with his or her local  representative.  Having two legislators on                                                               
the  committee would  decrease public  participation because  the                                                               
citizens  couldn't  meet  with two  legislative  members  of  the                                                               
policy committee because they would  be in Juneau for four months                                                               
of the  year.  Secondly,  this legislation would  be inconsistent                                                               
with federal law.  In a letter  dated March 5, 2004, the FHWA has                                                               
stated:   "The  actions   suggested   in  this   bill  would   be                                                               
inconsistent  with federal  regulations that  govern MPOs.   This                                                               
bill would,  in effect, cause  a restructuring  and redesignation                                                               
of  the MPO  that  would have  to  be agreed  upon  by the  local                                                               
governing  body and  the governor."   In  testimony given  May 1,                                                               
2001,  in  the  House  Community and  Regional  Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee, the  director of the Federal  Highways Division office                                                               
in Juneau  explained that it  was acceptable  for the MPO  to add                                                               
membership when the government units and the governor agreed.                                                                   
MR. LYON  said that  as the  sponsor pointed  out, there  isn't a                                                               
problem with a legislator serving on  an MPO, but it depends upon                                                               
"how  they get  there."   This  legislation purports  to add  the                                                               
legislators unilaterally,  which, according to  federal highways,                                                               
would be  inconsistent with the  federal regulations  that govern                                                               
MPOs.  In the 300-400 MPOs  around the country, there are no MPOs                                                               
that  have  legislators   as  members.    Hawaii   used  to  have                                                               
legislators  sitting  on  its  MPO, but  the  process  became  so                                                               
politicized  that members  of [Anchorage's]  MPO  and members  of                                                               
several other  MPOs were sent to  Hawaii in an attempt  to remedy                                                               
the  process.    Therefore,  Hawaii  no  longer  has  legislators                                                               
serving  on  the  MPO.    Having  legislators  on  an  MPO  isn't                                                               
something that is utilized throughout the [country].                                                                            
TAPE 04-9, SIDE B                                                                                                             
MR. LYON  informed the  committee that on  February 3,  2004, the                                                               
Anchorage   Assembly    voted   to   oppose    CSSB   260(TRA)am.                                                               
Additionally,  the State  and Local  Government Committee  of the                                                               
Anchorage Chamber  of Commerce voted  for the Board  of Directors                                                               
to oppose this legislation.  Mr.  Lyon then turned to the size of                                                               
the MPO, and  reminded the committee that within  the boundary of                                                               
this MPO there is one  municipality.  However, in Fairbanks there                                                               
is  Fairbanks and  North Pole,  which  means that  there must  be                                                               
representatives  from  each  local  government unit.    When  the                                                               
Anchorage  MPO was  designated there  wasn't the  need for  other                                                               
groups to  be represented, which is  why it is comprised  of five                                                               
MR.  LYON addressed  the 90:10  split with  the 90  percent being                                                               
federal monies coming through to the  MPO.  The 10 percent is the                                                               
state's match, which  is decreasing and in some  cases going away                                                               
completely.  Therefore,  it seems ironic that in a  time when the                                                               
state is actually  decreasing the amount of funding  the state is                                                               
providing  to  the  process, there  is  legislation  proposed  to                                                               
increase the membership of the policy committee.                                                                                
Number 2210                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH said that  he was having difficulty with                                                               
the distinction  between local  and nonlocal  because legislators                                                               
are elected by  the people in the community and  are also members                                                               
of the community itself.                                                                                                        
MR. LYON acknowledged that legislators  are elected by the people                                                               
in the  legislator's local  district.   However, for  purposes of                                                               
federal  highways  and how  this  relates  to these  statutes,  a                                                               
legislator is considered  a member of a state body  rather than a                                                               
local body.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH highlighted  that  two  members of  the                                                               
policy  committee   aren't  elected,  but  are   members  of  the                                                               
community.  He indicated that local roots are important.                                                                        
MR. LYON  said that he didn't  disagree.  However, the  MPOs were                                                               
established to  provide local officials  a sense of  ownership in                                                               
the process.   According to the  FHWA, the local members  are the                                                               
members of a  local governing body not  locally elected officials                                                               
who represent people on a state body.                                                                                           
Number 2140                                                                                                                     
CHAIR HOLM asked  if Mr. Lyon agreed that the  local folks aren't                                                               
putting any money into this program.                                                                                            
MR.  LYON  disagreed,   and  pointed  out  that   every  time  an                                                               
individual purchases  gasoline or a  new set  of tires he  or she                                                               
puts money into the program.                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLM  offered, "The 10  percent match that  we put in  as a                                                               
state  is  our ...  part  ....   The  people  that  ... would  be                                                               
supporting you  would be your representatives  from the Anchorage                                                               
area for  AMATS who would be  giving you the 10  percent match to                                                               
the federal  ... highway money  coming in."  Therefore,  he asked                                                               
Mr.  Lyon if  he felt  there should  be some  oversight from  the                                                               
folks giving that 10 percent match.                                                                                             
MR. LYON  reiterated that the FHWA  established this organization                                                               
such  that  the local  officials  would  have  the lead  role  in                                                               
acquiring  those federal  monies.   Therefore, he  suggested that                                                               
[AMATS]  provides 90  percent of  the funds  because the  federal                                                               
government has  provided that money  to [AMATS] to  determine how                                                               
to  spend it,  while the  legislature has  provided the  other 10                                                               
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS directed  attention  to  23 U.S.C.  134(b),                                                               
which specifies:                                                                                                                
    (b)     Designation     of    Metropolitan     Planning                                                                   
     Organizations. -                                                                                                           
     (1) In general. -                                                                                                        
     To  carry  out   the  transportation  planning  process                                                                    
     required  by  this  section,  a  metropolitan  planning                                                                    
     organization  shall be  designated  for each  urbanized                                                                    
     area with a population  of more than 50,000 individuals                                                                    
     by agreement between the Governor  and units of general                                                                    
     purpose  local government  that  together represent  at                                                                    
     least 75 percent of  the affected population (including                                                                    
     the central city or cities  as defined by the Bureau of                                                                    
     the Census); or                                                                                                            
     in   accordance   with    procedures   established   by                                                                    
     applicable State or local law.                                                                                             
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  explained  that per  the  above, local  law                                                               
doesn't supersede state  law rather it refers to  "State or local                                                               
Number 2022                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK  directed attention  to the  resolution from                                                               
the Anchorage Municipal  Assembly, which is in  opposition to the                                                               
passage  of SB  260.    Lines 31-33  of  the  resolution read  as                                                               
follows:  "WHEREAS,  this change would, in effect,  be removing a                                                               
strong local voice in  Anchorage's transportation system planning                                                               
and design,  and would be  inconsistent with  Federal regulations                                                               
governing metropolitan  planning organizations;".   However, this                                                               
legislation specifies  that there  must be agreement  between the                                                               
local governing  body and the  governor.  If the  local governing                                                               
body  and the  governor don't  agree, the  [AMATS] TIP  and Long-                                                               
Range Transportation Plan  (LRTP) will be in jeopardy.   She then                                                               
turned  to  the  March  5,  2004,  letter  from  the  FHWA,  U.S.                                                               
Department of  Transportation, and highlighted the  following:  "                                                               
... we  are of  the opinion that  the proposed  State legislative                                                               
requirement  would   unilaterally  add   members  to   the  AMATS                                                               
governing  board above  and beyond  the MPO's  existing structure                                                               
and by-laws,  thereby likely constituting a  formal redesignation                                                               
of the  AMATS governing board."   From  the same letter  she also                                                               
highlighted the  following:  "...  the State  legislature without                                                               
the  consent and  support  of local  officials  and the  Governor                                                               
would  appear to  be inconsistent  with the  intent of  23 U.S.C.                                                               
134."   She  noted that  she  is concerned  with the  conflicting                                                               
SENATOR   BEN  STEVENS   opined   that   there  is   [conflicting                                                               
information]  because  of  the  perceived  power  struggle.    He                                                               
further opined:                                                                                                                 
     Those  that have  the power  over the  appropriation of                                                                    
     this money --  the five people that  meet behind closed                                                                    
     doors and produce  transportation improvement plans ...                                                                    
     and they bring  them out to meetings that  occur once a                                                                    
     month at 1:00 in the  afternoon where there's no public                                                                    
     involvement, and that they approve  them with no public                                                                    
     debate,  and  they  spend  the  money  with  no  public                                                                    
     approval.   There is ...  a conflicting  position here.                                                                    
     And my  position is ...  to open  this up and  get more                                                                    
     public involvement.  If ...  the AMATS Policy Committee                                                                    
     and the Mayor of  Anchorage won't accept legislators as                                                                    
     public  involvement  why  won't they  accept  increased                                                                    
     members of the public  as increased public involvement.                                                                    
     And Mr.  Lyon's refusal  to address the  amendment that                                                                    
     ... all  of us  in this room  understand the  impact of                                                                    
     it.   There is inconsistency  and there  is conflicting                                                                    
     positions on this.  But  those that are controlling the                                                                    
     money  don't  want  to  give up  any  control  and  any                                                                    
     exertion  of public  involvement in  this.   ... that's                                                                    
     what this entire effort on my  behalf is:  ... to exert                                                                    
     public involvement  in the ... planning  process.  And,                                                                    
     by the way, the letter from  Mr. Miller ... in March of                                                                    
     2001  is ...  in total  conflict with  the letter  from                                                                    
     March  of  2004.   So,  to  add to  ...  Representative                                                                    
     Masek's confusion, we have letters  coming out of FHWA;                                                                    
     one from  Washington, DC, and  I find it ironic  that a                                                                    
     local  government  agency has  to  go  all the  way  to                                                                    
     Washington, DC,  the largest bureaucracy on  the planet                                                                    
     to  say we  want you  to support  our local  government                                                                    
CHAIR HOLM commented,  "It does sound a  little bit inconsistent,                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG asked  if the  Municipality of  Anchorage has                                                               
the understanding  that SB  260 is  being introduced  because the                                                               
state is reducing its road construction contribution.                                                                           
MR. LYON said  that the municipality isn't  suggesting any reason                                                               
behind this legislation than that stated by its sponsor.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  clarified his  question as  follows:   "I was                                                               
just saying  that the  increase in state  oversight comes  as the                                                               
state  is   reducing  its  contribution   ....    Is   that  your                                                               
understanding that  the only reason  for this bill is  that we're                                                               
not putting as  much contribution into road  construction so that                                                               
we  want more  control over  the federal  dollars?   Is that  the                                                               
city's position?"                                                                                                               
MR.  LYON  specified that  the  aforementioned  isn't the  city's                                                               
position.   The point is that  it's ironic that at  the time when                                                               
fewer funds are being funneled  to the municipalities and cities,                                                               
in  terms  of   a  matching  program,  the   state  through  this                                                               
legislation wants more oversight.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE OGG said that he  doesn't have the impression that                                                               
this  legislation  [is  being  introduced]  because  the  state's                                                               
contribution to road construction is  decreasing.  He then turned                                                               
attention  to  the  last  bullet  on page  2  of  the  additional                                                               
position  statements from  the Municipality  of Anchorage.   That                                                               
bullet  says:   "Politicizing  the process  - Adding  legislators                                                             
will   further  politicize   the  process,   making  an   already                                                               
confusing, labored,  at times  misunderstood process  even worse,                                                               
not  better."    The  aforementioned seems  to  acknowledge  that                                                               
presently  the AMATS  process is  "confusing,  labored, at  times                                                               
misunderstood process".                                                                                                         
Number 1675                                                                                                                     
MR.  LYON related  that  anyone  involved in  an  MPO around  the                                                               
country would  say that it's  a confusing process  and Byzantine,                                                               
at  best.   The "Politicizing  the process"  bullet [is  derived]                                                             
from the experience  in Hawaii where legislators  were members of                                                               
the  MPO,  which  lead  the  process  to  become  convoluted  and                                                               
politicized to the  point at which the legislators  are no longer                                                               
members of the MPO.  Mr.  Lyon pointed out that Alaska can review                                                               
what it  has done in  the past and say  that the problems  in the                                                               
past necessitate  this drastic step.   On the other  hand, Alaska                                                               
could look forward under the  new Administration in Anchorage and                                                               
Juneau and attempt  to work together to get some  roads built and                                                               
congestion solved.                                                                                                              
MR. LYON informed the committee that  FHWA was in Anchorage for a                                                               
three-day  workshop.   He  explained  that  although the  federal                                                               
legislation may  not specifically  say that local  officials must                                                               
be  the lead,  the federal  officials who  recently visited  said                                                               
that the  local officials should have  the lead.  With  regard to                                                               
the AMATS process, the meetings  aren't held behind closed doors.                                                               
In fact, the  public is invited and able to  testify at any point                                                               
during the  proceedings.  At  the last policy  committee meeting,                                                               
there  was a  request to  have  evening and  weekend meetings  in                                                               
order to achieve more public involvement.                                                                                       
CHAIR HOLM inquired as to how  long Mr. Lyon has been involved in                                                               
the AMATS program.                                                                                                              
MR. LYON answered  that he has been involved since  July 8, 2003.                                                               
In further response to Chair  Holm, Mr. Lyon specified that AMATS                                                               
has been a functioning MPO since 1976.                                                                                          
CHAIR  HOLM remarked,  "And  only now  you're  offering that  you                                                               
could  have weekend  meetings  or you  could  have meetings  that                                                               
might help the public enter into the process."                                                                                  
MR. LYON said  that he wasn't sure.   He noted that  since he has                                                               
been with AMATS there have been evening meetings.                                                                               
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  referred to a letter dated  [June] 25, 1974,                                                               
the  second  paragraph  of  which   begins  as  follows:    "This                                                               
organization,  the  Anchorage  Metropolitan  Area  Transportation                                                               
Study (AMATS), is headed by  a Policy Committee consisting of the                                                               
Mayor  of  the  City  of  Anchorage, the  Mayor  of  the  Greater                                                               
Anchorage Area  Borough, and the  Commissioner of Highways."   In                                                               
1974 Anchorage was a small  community that barely made the 50,000                                                               
threshold.  He  then highlighted portions of  the third paragraph                                                               
of  this letter  as  follows:   "... it  is  essential that  each                                                               
governmental  agency  involved  have   a  proper  share  of  both                                                               
decision-making   authority   and   actual   responsibility   for                                                               
implementation  of   the  planning  process.     ...  too  often,                                                               
designation of one specific governmental  entity to implement the                                                               
continuing  planning  process  has   resulted  in  abdication  of                                                               
responsibility  by  those  agencies  and  local  governments  not                                                               
directly involved in actually achieving results."                                                                               
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS mentioned  that he had  a meeting  with FHWA                                                               
when recently  in the state during  which the FHWA told  him that                                                               
one  would  have  to  go  back to  the  original  intent  of  the                                                               
memorandum of understanding that formulated  the MPO.  As long as                                                               
changes are agreeable  to the entities involved with  the MPO and                                                               
it doesn't  change the  intent of the  agreement, it's  merely an                                                               
amendment.   However, the  fear is that  the changes  proposed in                                                               
the legislation  will cause redesignation.   Senator  Ben Stevens                                                               
commented  that  to  him  redesignation isn't  such  a  bad  idea                                                               
because  [AMATS] is  working under  an agreement  that's over  30                                                               
years old.   In terms of  meeting public demand and  concerns, he                                                               
questioned  what  would  be  so  bad  about  redesignation.    He                                                               
highlighted  that during  a redesignation  nothing constitutes  a                                                               
discontinuation of  any federal process.   Therefore, he surmised                                                               
that the Municipality  of Anchorage, the Mayor  of Anchorage, and                                                               
the Anchorage  Assembly don't want  a redesignation  because they                                                               
have diminished authority.                                                                                                      
MR. LYON  said that he wanted  to be sure what  Amendment 1 would                                                               
achieve.  He related his  understanding that with the adoption of                                                               
Amendment 1 the  policy committee would have  nine members, which                                                               
would include two nonvoting  legislators; four representatives of                                                               
the  Municipality of  Anchorage consisting  of one  public member                                                               
and   three  members   of  the   local   government;  and   three                                                               
representatives  from  the  State  of Alaska  consisting  of  one                                                               
public member, one  member from DOT&PF, and one  member from DEC.                                                               
He asked if his understanding is correct.                                                                                       
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  agreed and clarified that  Amendment 1 would                                                               
change the  policy committee such  that it would consist  of nine                                                               
members, two  of which would  be nonvoting legislators  and seven                                                               
of which  would be voting members.   Of the voting  members, four                                                               
members would be from the  municipality and three from the state.                                                               
Therefore,  the  changes under  Amendment  1  would be  that  the                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage  would appoint  one public  member and                                                               
the governor would appoint one public member.                                                                                   
Number 1232                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  moved that the  committee adopt  Amendment 1,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Three"                                                                                                        
          Insert "Four"                                                                                                         
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Two"                                                                                                          
          Insert "Three"                                                                                                        
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Two voting members"                                                                                           
          Insert "At least one member designated by the                                                                         
     municipalities  and at  least one  member appointed  by                                                                    
     the governor shall be public  members who reside within                                                                    
     the metropolitan  area and who  are not  elected public                                                                    
      officials.  The public members shall serve for three-                                                                     
     year terms.                                                                                                                
          (b)  Two nonvoting members of the policy board of                                                                     
      a metropolitan planning organization that is subject                                                                      
     to (a) of this section"                                                                                                    
     Reletter the following subsections accordingly.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  objected, and  specified that  he would                                                               
like   the  voting   members  to   come  from   the  legislature.                                                               
Therefore, he suggested an amendment  to Amendment 1, which would                                                               
delete the word "nonvoting" in subsection (b).                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGG objected to the  amendment to Amendment 1.  He                                                               
opined that a legislator's job is  to vote in the legislature not                                                               
in [other  committees outside  of the  legislature].   He further                                                               
opined that the  point of a legislator being on  the AMATS Policy                                                               
Committee  is  to  observe  and bring  back  information  to  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH related  his  view, "I  just think  the                                                               
vote would express the intent of the money appropriated."                                                                       
CHAIR HOLM noted his  disagreement with Representative Stepovich.                                                               
He said he  understood Senator Ben Stevens to make  the case that                                                               
the  legislative   members  are  validated  as   members  of  the                                                               
community, but not heavy handed members over AMATS.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  said, "This whole bill  is dealing with                                                               
the intent of the appropriations  ...."  He surmised that Senator                                                               
Ben Stevens is concerned with  how the appropriations are handled                                                               
within AMATS and  the legislators are placed on  the AMATS Policy                                                               
Committee  to  oversee   those  appropriations.    Representative                                                               
Stepovich withdrew his amendment to  Amendment 1 [and removed his                                                               
objection to Amendment 1].                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK objected to Amendment 1.                                                                                   
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Stepovich, Kohring,                                                               
Ogg,  and Holm  voted in  favor of  Amendment 1.   Representative                                                               
Masek voted against it.  Therefore,  Amendment 1 was adopted by a                                                               
vote of 4-1.                                                                                                                    
Number 0995                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING noted  his support  of this  legislation.                                                               
He agreed that it's time to  revise the AMATS process in light of                                                               
the  fact that  the  Anchorage  area has  grown.    He noted  his                                                               
further   agreement  that   increasing  the   public  involvement                                                               
improves the  process.  Moreover,  this seems to be  an effective                                                               
manner in which to manage organizations in the Lower 48.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG  said that  he  likes  the approach  of  this                                                               
legislation.     However,   the  effective   date  clause   seems                                                               
problematic because should there be  a failure of the governor to                                                               
enter into  an agreement with  the municipality,  the legislation                                                               
could be in  effect with no agreement.   Therefore, he questioned                                                               
what would happen if no agreement is reached.                                                                                   
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  explained that the current TIP  is in effect                                                               
until 2006.   Therefore,  this legislation  would go  into effect                                                               
and   the   new   TIP   would   be   developed   for   2007-2009.                                                               
Theoretically,  the parties  would have  until July  1, 2007,  to                                                               
come to  agreement.  He  agreed that there  would be a  period of                                                               
uncertainty as described by Representative Ogg.                                                                                 
Number 0750                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH asked  if  Mr. Lyon  agreed that  there                                                               
should be state input on this matter.                                                                                           
MR. LYON opined  that there isn't a problem with  regard to state                                                               
input on this as there is such currently.                                                                                       
CHAIR HOLM inquired as to the will of the committee.                                                                            
Number 0717                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH moved  to  report  CSSB 260(TRA)am,  as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK objected.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGG said that he  didn't have a problem, but hoped                                                               
that the  sponsor would address  the [possibility of  there being                                                               
no agreement between the governor and the municipality].                                                                        
The committee took an at-ease from 2:59 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.                                                                       
Number 0666                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGG expressed the desire  to be sure that the ball                                                               
isn't dropped because of the agreement and the effective date.                                                                  
CHAIR HOLM commented that perhaps  that could be reviewed between                                                               
now  and the  next hearing  on the  legislation.   He highlighted                                                               
that  AMATS has  been in  existence since  1976, and  weekend and                                                               
evening  meetings came  up  because of  Senator  Ben Stevens  not                                                               
because of  AMATS or the  Municipality of Anchorage.   Obviously,                                                               
the aforementioned is an issue for his constituents.                                                                            
[SB 260 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects