Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

04/09/2009 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 165 AUTHORIZING TRANSFER OF RAILROAD LAND TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ SB 25 RICHARD DEWEY DUVALL FERRY TERMINAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SB 25-RICHARD DEWEY DUVALL FERRY TERMINAL                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  JOHNSON announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would be  SENATE BILL  NO. 25,  "An Act  naming the  South Mitkof                                                               
Island   ferry  terminal   the  Richard   'Dewey'  Duvall   Ferry                                                               
Terminal."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:29:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WESTON  EILER,   Staff,  Senator   Bert  Stedman,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking on  behalf  of the  bill sponsor,  Senator                                                               
Bert Stedman,  stated that  SB 25 would  honor Richard  Duvall, a                                                               
proponent  of marine  transportation  in Southeast  Alaska and  a                                                               
long term resident of Petersburg.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. EILER explained  that under AS 35.40.015, the  state may name                                                               
public works  infrastructure through  an act of  the legislature.                                                               
This  authority has  been  exercised over  40  times in  statute.                                                               
This  bill  would  name  the   South  Mitkof  Ferry  Terminal  in                                                               
Petersburg in  honor of Richard  "Dewey" Duvall.  Mr.  Duvall was                                                               
an  engineer by  trade, and  promoted improved  transportation in                                                               
Southeast  Alaska through  his service  to the  community and  as                                                               
part  of the  Inter-Island  Ferry Authority  (IFA).   Mr.  Duvall                                                               
served on  the Petersburg City  Council and was a  founding board                                                               
member of  IFA.  He was  instrumental in the construction  of the                                                               
South Mitkof  Island terminal.  After  the terminal's completion,                                                               
he served  as one  of the  ticket agents.   He recently  died and                                                               
SB 25 would  recognize Mr.  Duvall's contribution  and dedication                                                               
by naming the terminal in his  honor.  He mentioned that the bill                                                               
is  supported by  the  City of  Petersburg  and the  Inter-Island                                                               
Ferry Authority.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  SIROKY, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
explained that  the fiscal note is  for $1.2 thousand for  a sign                                                               
that  would  be  placed  on  the building.    She  recalled  that                                                               
recently another  bill was passed  from the  House Transportation                                                               
Standing  Committee with  a fiscal  note  that was  substantially                                                               
larger for a sign  to be placed on a bridge.   She explained that                                                               
signs for bridges  must have four posts.  Thus,  the cost is more                                                               
significant.  However, this fiscal note  is for a sign that is to                                                               
be placed  on an ATCO  building.  In  the event that  a permanent                                                               
building is erected, any additional  signs for the building would                                                               
be incorporated as part of the cost for the project.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN asked for the size of the proposed sign.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIROKY answered that the size has not yet been determined.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:32:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  JOHNSON remarked  that by  his calculation  the posts                                                               
would cost $1,600 for the bridge sign.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIROKY  agreed that  posts are  expensive and  explained that                                                               
they  must be  "breakaway" posts.   In  further response  to Vice                                                               
Chair  Johnson,  Ms. Siroky  explained  that  the sign  for  this                                                               
building would not have any posts.   She passed out photos of the                                                               
building and  the proposed sign.   In response  to Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, Ms.  Siroky related  that she was  not certain  when a                                                               
permanent building might  be built.  She offered  her belief that                                                               
the  IFA was  currently having  problems with  ridership.   Thus,                                                               
there are currently not any plans for constructing a building.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:34:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked   for  clarification  about  the                                                               
Inter-Island Ferry Authority (IFA).                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIROKY  related that the  IFA is  a ferry authority  that was                                                               
created  in   statute  as  a  result   of  significant  Southeast                                                               
community efforts.  The IFA then  purchased two ferries.  One day                                                               
ferry  provides daily  service  from Prince  of  Wales Island  to                                                               
Ketchikan.   The second day  ferry runs  from the north  Price of                                                               
Wales Island to the South  Mitkof terminal and provides access to                                                               
Petersburg and Wrangell.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN concurred with Ms. Siroky.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIROKY offered  her belief  that  the IFA  ferry serves  the                                                               
communities  of  Coffman Cove,  Petersburg,  and  Wrangell.   She                                                               
related her  understanding that  the IFA  has cutback  service on                                                               
the northbound schedule due to local travel reductions.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:36:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  JOHNSON  asked  if  the ferry  is  a  private  ferry                                                               
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIROKY  reiterated that  the  IFA  was created  through  the                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  elaborated that the IFA  was created due                                                               
to challenges facing  the Alaska Marine Highway  System (AMHS) to                                                               
provide adequate  service to Southeast  communities.   He related                                                               
his  understanding  that  that   the  ferry  schedules  had  been                                                               
infrequent and  often changed, so  the communities served  by the                                                               
AMHS  grew  quite  frustrated.    The  communities  came  to  the                                                               
legislature  and requested  to  create an  authority  which is  a                                                               
quasi-state  authority.   He related  that the  IFA Authority  is                                                               
incorporated  by  the  communities   of  Ketchikan,  Hollis,  and                                                               
Coffman Cove.   The state  funded a  day ferry vessel  which runs                                                               
daily.   He  related  that the  southern  route ridership  serves                                                               
Ketchikan and  Hollis.  He  opined that ridership  has stabilized                                                               
in  that route.    He related  that  in the  past  few years  the                                                               
legislature has appropriated some operating  funds to the IFA for                                                               
the  northern  route  until  its ridership  is  stabilized.    He                                                               
offered that the  IFA day ferries take pressure off  the AMHS and                                                               
provide daily service.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:38:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN,  in  response to  Vice  Chair  Johnson,                                                               
explained  the vessels  are small  day boats,  with small  crews,                                                               
that carry cars  and passengers.  He offered to  request that the                                                               
IFA present to the committee next year.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:39:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested that  the committee  may wish                                                               
to meet in the community or on  the ferry to learn more about the                                                               
AMHS and the IFA.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN,  in  response to  Vice  Chair  Johnson,                                                               
explained that ridership is currently up.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIROKY pointed  out that it is appropriate  to recognize that                                                               
the IFA has demonstrated how  successful day ferry vessels can be                                                               
when service is regularly provided.   She opined that the IFA has                                                               
also  demonstrated how  economical it  can  be to  operate a  new                                                               
vessel.   She explained that the  AMHS has reviewed the  model as                                                               
it plans for future AMHS day vessels.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  JOHNSON encouraged  the AMHS's  to use  an evaluation                                                               
process for any new ferries.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:40:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIROKY,  in response  to Representative  Gruenberg, explained                                                               
that  the   Southeast  Transportation  Plan  includes   AMHS  day                                                               
ferries,  potentially   providing  service  between   Juneau  and                                                               
Hoonah.   Currently AMHS  vessels run from  Juneau to  Haines and                                                               
north to  Skagway.  She  noted the M/V Fairweather  also provides                                                               
service  from  Juneau to  Sitka  several  times  per week.    She                                                               
reiterated the success of the IFA day vessels.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR JOHNSON after first  determining no one else wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 25.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved  to report SB 25  out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:43:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                

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