Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

04/07/2009 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SB 142-TRANSFER RAILROAD LAND TO DOTPF:FAIRBANKS                                                                              
1:05:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL  NO. 142,  "An  Act  authorizing the  conveyance  of                                                               
certain  land   of  the  Alaska   Railroad  Corporation   to  the                                                               
Department   of  Transportation   and   Public  Facilities;   and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
1:05:41 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF   STEPP,   Staff,   Senator  Joe   Paskvan,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  on  behalf  of  the   prime  sponsor,  Senator  Joe                                                               
Paskvan, stated  that the Department  of Transportation  & Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOT&PF)  is   planning  on  reconstructing  Illinois                                                               
Street, which provides primary access  to downtown Fairbanks from                                                               
the  north.   Additionally other  streets intersect  Illinois and                                                               
Barnette  Streets, which  add to  the travel  demands and  safety                                                               
concerns along this corridor.                                                                                                   
MR. STEPP  referred to a  map in members'  packets.  In  order to                                                               
complete this project  the DOT&PF needs to  acquire full interest                                                               
of approximately  five acres  of property.   The  Alaska Railroad                                                               
Corporation  requires legislative  approval  for  this action  to                                                               
proceed.   This bill  would provide authority  for the  DOT&PF to                                                               
use cash,  land of equal  value or a  combination of both  to the                                                               
ARRC.   There is no  additional fiscal impact since  DOT&PF costs                                                               
are part  of the construction cost  of this project.   The DOT&PF                                                               
and  the  ARC  support  the bill.    Additionally,  the  Downtown                                                               
Association   of  Fairbanks   and  the   Fairbanks  Visitor   and                                                               
Convention Center support the project.                                                                                          
1:08:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. STEPP,  in response to Chair  Wilson answered that he  is not                                                               
aware of  any opposition.  He  related that the project  has been                                                               
fully vetted publically in Fairbanks.                                                                                           
1:08:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. STEPP, in response to  Representative Johnson, explained that                                                               
the five acres of land do  not form a perfect rectangle, but wrap                                                               
around  the  project  area.    He  related  that  the  boundaries                                                               
encompass the area.                                                                                                             
MARY  SIROKY, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
referred members  to some maps  in their packets.   She explained                                                               
that  the highlighted  area represent  parcels that  DOT&PF would                                                               
receive from the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC).                                                                            
1:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON inquired whether  any buildings are on the                                                               
property that is designated to be conveyed to DOT&PF.                                                                           
JOHN BENNETT, Right-of-Way Chief,  Northern Region, Department of                                                               
Transportation & Public Facilities  (DOT/PF), answered that there                                                               
are not  any buildings on the  land that will be  conveyed to the                                                               
MR.  BENNETT, in  response to  Representative Johnson,  explained                                                               
that the investigation for hazardous  waste is currently ongoing.                                                               
He  further explained  that the  department  has identified  some                                                               
HAZMAT [hazardous materials] that will  need to be dealt with and                                                               
that a consultant is also checking for any soil contamination.                                                                  
1:12:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON asked whether the  HAZMAT [hazardous materials] will                                                               
be taken care of prior to the transfer.                                                                                         
MR. BENNETT answered that passage of  SB 142 would grant the ARRC                                                               
the  authority to  convey the  land to  the state.   However,  he                                                               
indicated that  the DOT&PF  would still  need to  proceed through                                                               
the acquisition process,  including appraisals, negotiations, and                                                               
document preparation.  Thus, the  DOT&PF will have information on                                                               
any soils contamination prior to the land transfer.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  stated that  he would like  to go  on the                                                               
record that  he does not  want to  transfer land that  creates an                                                               
environmental cleanup situation.   He opined that  the DOT&PF and                                                               
the ARRC  would lose his  support for  the land transfer  if that                                                               
environmental situation occurs.                                                                                                 
1:13:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SIROKY,  in response to  Chair Wilson, explained  that DOT&PF                                                               
will  use the  land for  the roadway,  the right-of-way,  and for                                                               
sidewalks.  She stated that all  of the land is important for the                                                               
structure and construction of the road.                                                                                         
1:14:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA   GUARDINO,   MPO   Coordinator,   Fairbanks   Metropolitan                                                               
Transportation System  (FMATS), stated that FMATS  is funding the                                                               
Illinois   construction    project   from    its   transportation                                                               
improvement  program.   She  related that  the  project has  been                                                               
included in  their program  since 1985, and  is currently  in the                                                               
right-of-way  acquisition  phase.    This bill  will  enable  the                                                               
DOT&PF to  acquire the land  from the  ARRC that is  necessary to                                                               
reconstruct the Illinois  Street.  She pointed out that  is a top                                                               
priority project  for the  FMATS policy  committee.   The initial                                                               
stage of the  project, the Barnette Street Bridge,  is planned to                                                               
be  built this  winter.   The FMATS  hopes the  remainder of  the                                                               
project will begin construction in late  2010 or early 2011.  She                                                               
highlighted that the critical path  for the project is successful                                                               
acquisition of right-of-way to construct  the project as planned.                                                               
Given  that it  is necessary  for the  legislature to  convey the                                                               
land,  and the  ARRC has  approved  the land  transfer and  FMATS                                                               
encourages the committee to support SB 142.                                                                                     
1:15:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  who  will be  the ultimate  owner,                                                               
whether  it  will  be  a  state  road or  if  the  land  will  be                                                               
transferred to the City of Fairbanks.                                                                                           
MS. SIROKY  offered her belief that  the road will remain  on the                                                               
state inventory.                                                                                                                
MS.  GUARDINO  responded  that  portions  of  the  land  will  be                                                               
maintained by the  City of Fairbanks and some  will be maintained                                                               
by the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB).                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON inquired  as  to  whether ownership  will                                                               
also belong  to the City of  Fairbanks and the FNSB.   He offered                                                               
his preference to  have the land conveyed to the  either the City                                                               
of Fairbanks or the FNSB.                                                                                                       
MS.  SIROKY  explained that  Illinois  Street  is a  state  road.                                                               
While some  maintenance agreements may  be in place, she  was not                                                               
aware of  any intention  by DOT&PF  to transfer  the land  to the                                                               
City of Fairbanks or the FNSB.                                                                                                  
1:18:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON inquired  as  to  whether anything  would                                                               
prevent the road transfer.                                                                                                      
MS. SIROKY offered to provide that information later.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  reiterated  his  belief  that  the  land                                                               
should be  transferred.  He  added that  in his district  he also                                                               
advocates  that upgrades  be  made and  then  transferred to  the                                                               
1:19:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WILSON noted  that  the  bill has  one  more committee  of                                                               
referral to the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                    
MS. GUARDINO offered that she  reviewed the maintenance agreement                                                               
for this  project.  She  detailed that  the DOT&PF has  agreed to                                                               
accept  ownership   and  maintenance  responsibilities   for  all                                                               
signal,  illumination,   and  bridge  features.     The  City  of                                                               
Fairbanks  has   agreed  to  accept  ownership   and  maintenance                                                               
responsibilities  for all  new roadway,  sidewalks, signage,  and                                                               
drainage  facilities including  seasonal surface  maintenance for                                                               
Illinois, Barnette,  and Cushman  Street bridges.   And  the FNSB                                                               
has  agreed   to  assume  the  responsibility   to  maintain  the                                                               
landscaping, she related.                                                                                                       
MR. BENNETT  related his experience  has been that even  when the                                                               
state transfers maintenance responsibilities  to a city, that the                                                               
DOT&PF typically retains  the title of the land.   He opined part                                                               
of the reason is due to  the federal obligations in using federal                                                               
funds,  since the  federal agency  has specific  requirements for                                                               
management  and  disposition of  the  right-of-way.   He  further                                                               
opined that  adhering to the  policy is more easily  managed when                                                               
the state retains the title to the land.                                                                                        
1:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WILSON, after  first  determining no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 142.                                                                                     
1:22:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ moved  to report  SB 142  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no  objection, SB  142 was reported  from the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 142 fact sheet.pdf HTRA 4/7/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 142
sb142 backup.pdf HTRA 4/7/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 142
SB142 sponsor stmt.pdf HTRA 4/7/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 142
SB24 sponsor stmt.pdf HTRA 4/7/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 24
SB24 Backup.pdf HTRA 4/7/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 24