Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

02/09/2010 01:00 PM House TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Heard & Held
1:07:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 42,  Proposing amendments  to the                                                               
Constitution  of the  State of  Alaska creating  a transportation                                                               
infrastructure fund.                                                                                                            
1:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA ROONEY, Staff, Representative  Peggy Wilson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on  behalf  of the  sponsor,  Representative  Peggy                                                               
Wilson,  stated  that  HJR  42  would  propose  an  amendment  to                                                               
Alaska's constitution  to create a  transportation infrastructure                                                               
fund.  This  resolution would place before the  voters whether to                                                               
change  the Alaska  Constitution to  allow a  dedicated fund  for                                                               
capital transportation projects.                                                                                                
MS. ROONEY explained  that last session and  through the interim,                                                               
the committee  has had many  presentations from DOT&PF  and other                                                               
organizations  identifying challenges  of  transportation in  our                                                               
geographically challenged and diverse  state.  The committee held                                                               
hearings throughout  the state,  including flying to  villages to                                                               
view rural airports, which provide  the basic transportation into                                                               
and out of the communities.   The committee traveled on the urban                                                               
highways to  view the challenges on  Alaska's highways, including                                                               
safety,  congestion, and  deferred  maintenance.   The  committee                                                               
heard testimony  from the Alaska  Municipal League (AML)  and the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna  Borough, who  teamed together  to contract  an                                                               
independent study  on the fiscal challenges  of transportation in                                                               
Alaska.   The  National Conference  of State  Legislatures (NCSL)                                                               
provided information  on what other  states are doing  to address                                                               
transportation  needs, and  Larry Persily,  staff, Representative                                                               
Hawker,   compiled  funding   options  to   address  the   fiscal                                                               
shortfalls of Alaska's transportation  needs.  This resolution is                                                               
the culmination of  all of the work performed by  the DOT&PF, the                                                               
committee, and  research.  Alaska  needs to shoulder some  of the                                                               
responsibility  for its  transportation  costs.   Last year,  the                                                               
state received 87 percent of  its transportation funding from the                                                               
federal government, more  than any other state, per  capita.  The                                                               
new  pending  federal  reauthorization  bill  for  transportation                                                               
points  to less  funding for  states with  low populations,  like                                                               
Alaska.  State-funded  projects can be performed  more quickly as                                                               
they do not have the  same constraints and stringent requirements                                                               
that the federal  government imposes.  Thus,  more state projects                                                               
could be built if the state had access to a transportation fund.                                                                
MS. ROONEY stated that the time is  right to put this in place to                                                               
plan  a   smart,  long-range   solution  to   our  transportation                                                               
problems.   Alaska will  know the level  of funds  available from                                                               
year-to-year  to  provide  for  a  long-term  plan  that  can  be                                                               
implemented.   The proposed Alaska  Transportation Infrastructure                                                               
Fund  (ATIF)  will  grow  as  the  investment  returns  compound.                                                               
Additionally,  the motor  fuel tax  and the  vehicle registration                                                               
fees  will   generate  funds.     The  ATIF  could   generate  an                                                               
anticipated $65 million  the first year, which  would increase by                                                               
approximately $6 to $7 million per year.                                                                                        
1:11:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROONEY referred  to a colored graph in  the committee packets                                                               
detailing the  funding that would be  available for appropriation                                                               
each year.   One of the reasons that  the constitutional drafters                                                               
gave  for disallowing  dedicated funds  was to  avoid losing  the                                                               
ability to respond to public need.   An excerpt in members' green                                                               
packets contains an  excerpt from Governor Hickel's  State of the                                                               
State  address  in  the  early 1990s,  relating  to  a  dedicated                                                               
transportation fund.  She read:                                                                                                 
     This is  not as radical  a proposal as it  might sound.                                                                    
     Over  half the  states already  have the  same type  of                                                                    
     financing  arrangement.    In fact,  Alaska's  founding                                                                    
     fathers  supported this  exact  mechanism and  provided                                                                    
     for it  at statehood.   With a dedicated  fund Alaskans                                                                    
     will receive  more stable service  levels.  And  if new                                                                    
     revenues  are needed  to preserve  or improve  service,                                                                    
     Alaskans  will be  assured  that any  new  fee will  go                                                                    
     directly to their transportation system.                                                                                   
MS.  ROONEY  remarked  that Governor  Hickel's  comments  are  as                                                               
relevant now as  they were nearly 20 years ago.   The state needs                                                               
to  take action  now as  the  future and  well-being of  Alaska's                                                               
citizens is  critically dependent upon a  reliable transportation                                                               
system.  The change to  Alaska's constitution proposed in HJR 42,                                                               
which allows  for a dedicated  transportation fund, is  needed to                                                               
create and  maintain a modern and  reliable transportation system                                                               
for Alaska.                                                                                                                     
1:13:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   referred   to  the   term   "special                                                               
registration fee" and asked whether it was a term of art.                                                                       
BRIAN  KANE,  Attorney,  Legislative Legal  Counsel,  Legislative                                                               
Legal   and  Research   Services,  Legislative   Affairs  Agency,                                                               
identified  two  subsections  in  the  vehicle  registration  fee                                                               
section  identify certain  license plates  special fees  that are                                                               
accounted  for   separately.    The  special   registration  fees                                                               
collected  in  those subsections  would  still  be accounted  for                                                               
separately,  while the  generic  fee would  be  deposited in  the                                                               
dedicated transportation fund.                                                                                                  
1:15:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  recalled  her  prior  discussions  with  legal                                                               
counsel, identifying one  of the special plates  as the veterans'                                                               
license plates.   She further recalled  that she did not  want to                                                               
change the  way those  fees were handled,  or interfere  with the                                                               
special  designation  in  any  way.    She  understood  that  the                                                               
standard  vehicle  registration fees  would  be  directed to  the                                                               
dedicated transportation fund.                                                                                                  
MR. KANE  agreed.   He related that  the specific  military plate                                                               
fee accounting structure and purpose would still be in place.                                                                   
1:16:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked for the amount of the fees.                                                                      
MR. KANE  referred to  AS 28.10.421  (d) and  (f).   He explained                                                               
that  those  subsections  would be  exempted  from  the  proposed                                                               
dedicated transportation fund.   He explained that the subsection                                                               
relates to  fees for vehicles,  including vehicles  whose primary                                                               
purpose  is  for  historical exhibition,  Alaska  National  Guard                                                               
personnel,  Iditarod, recipients  of the  purple heart,  Iditarod                                                               
race finishers,  and other similar categories.   Typically, these                                                               
funds are  deposited to  a special account  to support  a certain                                                               
goal or purpose.                                                                                                                
1:17:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P. WILSON  asked for clarification that  these groups would                                                               
be exempted under the resolution.                                                                                               
MR. KANE answered yes.                                                                                                          
1:18:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred  to page 1, line 14  of HJR 42,                                                               
which identifies  the revenue  source as any  state tax  on fuel.                                                               
He asked whether the tire tax is exempted from the resolution.                                                                  
MR.  KANE responded  that  it  is not  explicitly  exempted.   He                                                               
explained that  the taxes identified  are taxes on fuel  used for                                                               
the  propulsion of  motor vehicles,  so fuel  is limited  to fuel                                                               
used for motor vehicles.  He said  he does not believe the tax on                                                               
tires is involved.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  wondered whether  it was the  intent of                                                               
the sponsor  to exclude taxes on  tires or if the  sponsor wanted                                                               
to include other taxes.                                                                                                         
CHAIR P.  WILSON answered  that it  was her  intent to  limit the                                                               
revenue to the state tax on fuel as identified in HJR 42.                                                                       
1:19:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROONEY,  in response to  Representative Munoz,  answered that                                                               
she does not  have the specific figure for the  87 percent of the                                                               
state's  transportation  budget  funded by  the  Federal  Highway                                                               
Administration (FHWA).                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ asked  for  examples of  other states  that                                                               
have implemented  dedicated transportation  funds, and  the ratio                                                               
of state to federal funding.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  P.  WILSON  related  that  Alaska  receives  more  federal                                                               
funding than any other state.   The Alaska delegation has advised                                                               
legislators that  other states  are upset  since Alaska  does not                                                               
pay in as  much as it receives in transportation  funding.  Under                                                               
the  new   federal  transportation  reauthorization   bill  under                                                               
consideration,   as   currently   crafted,  states   with   lower                                                               
populations  will not  fare  as well  as  more densely  populated                                                               
states.   She affirmed the state's  need to plan and  take action                                                               
to  assure the  state's transportation  needs can  be met.   This                                                               
resolution will help with this process.                                                                                         
1:22:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ said she thought  this resolution is a great                                                               
direction to take.   She expressed interest in  knowing how other                                                               
states are  leveraging their state  support with  federal support                                                               
to  better assess  the anticipated  return and  whether the  fund                                                               
will meet the transportation needs.                                                                                             
MS. ROONEY offered to provide  some information from the National                                                               
Conference of State Legislatures on other states.                                                                               
1:22:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  remarked that this resolution  is a great                                                               
start.   The  state  could  put tons  of  money  in the  proposed                                                               
dedicated transportation fund  and it would still  not be enough.                                                               
He said  that the legislature  needs to start somewhere  and that                                                               
is the reason that he is supportive of this resolution.                                                                         
CHAIR  P. WILSON  commented that  that  most of  the states  with                                                               
dedicated transportation  fund have taxes as  revenue sources for                                                               
the   fund.     Additionally,  almost   all  other   states  have                                                               
implemented a state sales tax or state income tax, or both.                                                                     
1:23:36 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN  HORSCHEL, Member,  Associated  General Contractors  (AGC);                                                               
and  Acme Fence  Company,  stated  he has  been  interested in  a                                                               
dedicated transportation fund  for over five years.   He recalled                                                               
advertising  that depicted  potholes.   The  Lower  48 roads  are                                                               
better roads  and he  is willing to  pay for  transportation that                                                               
provides a  safer experience  for his family.   He  applauded the                                                               
committee's efforts to create  the dedicated transportation fund.                                                               
He stated that AGC is behind this resolution and he is also.                                                                    
MR. HORSCHEL, in response to  Representative Johnson, stated that                                                               
he is speaking  on behalf of the AGC and  that the AGC's official                                                               
position is in support of HJR 42.                                                                                               
KEVIN WELKER,  Alaska Manager, Key  Corporation, stated  that his                                                               
company  works throughout  the U.S.   He  stated that  many other                                                               
states have  a dedicated  transportation fund  in place  and this                                                               
approach works well.   He stated that  a dedicated transportation                                                               
fund will  provide the  opportunity for  Alaska to  plan projects                                                               
for five to  ten years out.   This will also bridge  the gap from                                                               
one administration  to the  next and give  Alaska the  ability to                                                               
direct funding for specific purposes.   He stated that when he is                                                               
fueling his  vehicle he will  know that  a certain amount  of the                                                               
motor fuel tax  will help fix the  roads.  He said  he was raised                                                               
in Alaska  and would like  to see  roads maintained and  new ones                                                               
1:26:58 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN   MCKINNON,    Executive   Director,    Associated   General                                                               
Contractors  (AGC), stated  that the  AGC  is in  Juneau for  its                                                               
annual fly-in so many contractors are  in town.  He stated that a                                                               
dedicated transportation  fund is  long overdue  and has  been an                                                               
AGC  priority  for years.    He  acknowledged the  transportation                                                               
needs in Alaska.   This is a good time to  start.  This dedicated                                                               
transportation  fund  would  spin   off  state  dollars  for  new                                                               
construction  projects.     He  recalled  the   majority  of  the                                                               
transportation projects are federally  funded.  Speaking from his                                                               
prior  experience as  a  Deputy Commissioner  of  the DOT&PF,  he                                                               
related  that a  federally-funded  project is  more difficult  to                                                               
build.   The  rule of  thumb is  that a  federal dollar  is worth                                                               
about $.75.  A state dollar  will stretch further and better meet                                                               
Alaska's needs than federal funding.                                                                                            
1:28:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked for  examples of  state-built roads                                                               
that demonstrate efficiencies.                                                                                                  
MR. MCKINNON recalled the  Glenn/Bragaw Interchange in Anchorage.                                                               
That  project   timeframe  from  the  funding   appropriation  to                                                               
contract spanned  about 22 months.   He speculated that  it would                                                               
probably have taken at least twice  as long to go through the EIS                                                               
phase  using   the  federal  process.     He  related   that  the                                                               
environmental permits are  still required at the  state level but                                                               
the National Energy  Policy Act (NEPA) process  is avoided, which                                                               
results in considerable time savings.                                                                                           
MR.  MCKINNON  stated  that  the   average  time  to  conduct  an                                                               
Environmental  Impact  Statement  (EIS) takes  about  36  months,                                                               
which  takes  the   project  into  the  design   phase,  not  the                                                               
construction phase.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON recalled  that the  project was  designed                                                               
and  built in  about the  same  time as  it would  have taken  to                                                               
perform an EIS.                                                                                                                 
1:30:40 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF   OTTESEN,  Director,   Division  of   Program  Development,                                                               
Department  of Transportation  & Public  Facilities (DOT&PF),  in                                                               
response  to  Representative  Johnson,   answered  that  the  EIS                                                               
process  takes approximately  5 to  7  years to  complete if  the                                                               
project has  any complexity  at all.   However, he  recalled that                                                               
nationally it  is approaching  an average  of 12  to 13  years to                                                               
complete  the  process.   He  recalled  that the  Cooper  Landing                                                               
project was  initiated in 1975  and is  the oldest active  EIS in                                                               
the country,  and the  project is still  several years  away from                                                               
construction.    He  stated  that   using  state  funds  provides                                                               
significant  advantages.   The Elmore  Road Extension  Project in                                                               
Anchorage provides  an example  of a project  that he  was unsure                                                               
would have ever  been built due to  the substantial environmental                                                               
1:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked  whether an  EIS is  required for                                                               
all projects in Alaska.                                                                                                         
MR. OTTESEN  responded that some  type of  environmental document                                                               
must be done if a federal  permit is involved, which is typically                                                               
the  case.   However, the  EIS  is processed  through the  agency                                                               
issuing the  permit, which is often  issued by the U.S.  Corps of                                                               
Engineers.   Although technically  the environmental  document is                                                               
still  considered  a federal  EIS  document,  the U.S.  Corps  of                                                               
Engineers process is  simpler and faster process.   He speculated                                                               
that since the  FHWA deals with so many highway  projects and has                                                               
been  subject to  so much  litigation,  that the  agency is  very                                                               
protective and wants to insure that it will not lose in court.                                                                  
1:33:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked for instances  in which the project is                                                               
already  undergoing  an  EIS process  and  is  under  litigation,                                                               
whether the state could take a larger role.                                                                                     
MR. OTTESEN surmised which project  she might be referring to and                                                               
offered to report back.   He recalled a project under litigation,                                                               
that  the  permits and  right-of-way  have  been rescinded.    He                                                               
offered that the  state would likely have to start  over and none                                                               
of the  previous work would  be valid.   He further  recalled the                                                               
case  he was  referring to  is currently  under appeal  so it  is                                                               
technically still active.                                                                                                       
1:34:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN   asked  how  many  projects   that  are                                                               
currently being worked on would qualify as state projects.                                                                      
MR. OTTESEN  answered that typically  the decision on  whether to                                                               
fund a  project with state or  federal funds is made  at the time                                                               
of appropriation  of the  Capital Improvement  Budget (CIB).   He                                                               
said that  essentially determines  the funding  type in  the CIB;                                                               
and the decision is not as much  a department decision as it is a                                                               
budgetary  decision made  through the  budget process,  including                                                               
that  the  CIB  is  submitted  to  the  legislature  for  funding                                                               
approval.   In  further response  to Representative  Johansen, he                                                               
related  that  the  DOT&PF's  currently  has  a  list  of  active                                                               
projects by funding type for the CIB.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  understood him to say  that the decision                                                               
for funding projects  strictly from general fund  dollars is made                                                               
entirely by  the legislature  and that the  DOT&PF does  not make                                                               
any internal decisions.  He related  that he is frustrated by the                                                               
perception that  the DOT&PF has magical  powers after legislative                                                               
appropriation that  differs from  the legislature's  decisions on                                                               
projects.   He  asked whether  it is  the legislature's  specific                                                               
role to  determine which  projects that  will qualify  as general                                                               
fund projects instead of using federal funding.                                                                                 
MR.  OTTESEN related  that some  circumstances exist  in which  a                                                               
community might  be pursuing  a project,  but not  enough general                                                               
fund funding is  available to complete the project  so the DOT&PF                                                               
cannot award the  bid.  The option is to  wait for another budget                                                               
cycle,  but in  those  instances, the  DOT&PF  would use  federal                                                               
funds to  fund the project.   The decision  would be made  by the                                                               
DOT&PF design team, within the three regions.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  asked whether,  in  fact,  some of  the                                                               
decisions can  be made by the  DOT&PF to take the  project out of                                                               
the general fund category.                                                                                                      
MR.  OTTESEN answered  yes.   The DOT&PF  could make  the choice.                                                               
However, while  the DOT&PF  can make  the choice,  the department                                                               
cannot spend  federal funds  without the  legislature's approval.                                                               
He  related a  scenario in  2002  using GO  bonds.   Many of  the                                                               
projects  were  underfunded  at the  time  of  the  appropriation                                                               
request.  Thus,  a $10 million project may have  been budgeted as                                                               
a $5 million project, but due  to inflation the project becomes a                                                               
$20 million project.  In  that scenario the department can either                                                               
attempt  to find  a  way  to make  up  the  difference using  $15                                                               
million in federal funds or let  the funds lapse since not enough                                                               
funds are available to complete the  project.  He agreed that the                                                               
instance left  complicated choices,  and the department  lost the                                                               
flexibility offered  when using general  funds.  He asked  if the                                                               
reverse  could  happen, if  a  federal  funded project  could  be                                                               
funded  with general  fund dollars.    He answered  no, that  the                                                               
DOT&PF does not  have the ability to do so.   In further response                                                               
to Representative  Johansen, he  answered he  did not  recall the                                                               
specific matching funds for this  year, but that the general fund                                                               
match is typically $40 to $45  million per year for the FHWA, and                                                               
other funds are requested for aviation and transit.                                                                             
CHAIR  WILSON  offered  to  have   the  DOT&PF  come  before  the                                                               
committee to provide the detailed process, if needed.                                                                           
1:41:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  related  that   HJR  42  requires  the                                                               
dedicated transportation fund to be  managed as an endowment.  He                                                               
asked if  he was correct that  in order for an  endowment to work                                                               
that the  state would provide  funding and use the  interest from                                                               
the dedicated transportation fund for projects.                                                                                 
MR.  OTTESEN advised  that he  was not  involved in  drafting the                                                               
resolution, but agreed conceptually.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG surmised the  state would initially need                                                               
15 to  20 times the  annual budget amount  of $15 to  $20 million                                                               
MR. OTTESEN related his understanding  on a similar measure under                                                               
consideration a  few years  ago that it  was anticipated  that on                                                               
average  the  fund would  receive  an  8  percent return  on  the                                                               
investment,  would  spend  5  percent and  use  the  remaining  3                                                               
percent to inflation-proof the fund.                                                                                            
1:43:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON remarked that HJR  42 is limited to  placing the                                                               
matter  on  the ballot  for  voters  to  decide  if they  want  a                                                               
dedicated transportation fund.   She stated that  a separate bill                                                               
would  determine sources  of revenue  for the  proposed dedicated                                                               
transportation  fund  and  questions  concerning  that  could  be                                                               
addressed  at  the time  the  bill  is  being considered  by  the                                                               
1:43:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG agreed.  He  referred to page 2, lines 4                                                               
5 of HJR 42, relating  to capital projects for transportation and                                                               
related facilities.  He asked  whether that would include rolling                                                               
stock, such as buses.                                                                                                           
CHAIR P.  WILSON related  that matter  would better  be addressed                                                               
during the discussion of HB 329.                                                                                                
1:44:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked whether it would  be possible for                                                               
the  legislature  to  fund  the endowment  and  then  reduce  the                                                               
transportation funding from the general fund.                                                                                   
MR. OTTESEN  responded that the legislature  is the appropriating                                                               
body and  could choose to  make decisions about funds  outside of                                                               
the endowment for the proposed dedicated transportation fund.                                                                   
CHAIR P.  WILSON, after first  determining no one else  wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HJR 42.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN stated  that  HJR 42  would establish  a                                                               
fund to  accomplish a  specific goal.   He expressed  interest in                                                               
understanding the rules that would  apply for DOT&PF's use of the                                                               
proposed dedicated  fund.  He  said that he supports  the concept                                                               
of the  dedicated transportation  fund, but at  the same  time he                                                               
wants the  legislature retains the decision-making  authority for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON inquired as to  whether DOT&PF has taken a                                                               
position on HJR 42 and  the concept of a dedicated transportation                                                               
FRANK RICHARDS, Deputy Commissioner,  Office of the Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of   Transportation  &  Public   Facilities  (DOT&PF)                                                               
responded   that   the  DOT&PF   supports   the   concept  of   a                                                               
transportation fund, but does not  have an opinion on the funding                                                               
mechanism.      He  acknowledged   that   the   state  has   many                                                               
transportation needs  across the  modes and would  appreciate and                                                               
support the funds to address the needs.                                                                                         
1:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to report  HJR 42 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  objected for  the purposed of  making a                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether  the  DOT&PF supports  a                                                               
constitutional amendment  for dedicated transportation fund.   He                                                               
remarked that he  is aware of only two  exceptions, the Permanent                                                               
Fund and the Constitutional Budget  Reserve Fund.  Otherwise, the                                                               
legislature has  not adopted a  dedicated fund.  He  related that                                                               
Mr.  Richards  will be  speaking  on  behalf  of the  DOT&PF  and                                                               
administration, noting that this  will set precedent to authorize                                                               
other dedicated funds in the  state's constitution.  He clarified                                                               
his  query,  asking  whether the  DOT&PF  supports  the  proposed                                                               
dedicated transportation fund rather placing it in statute.                                                                     
1:50:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHARDS  answered that  the concept of  whether to  create a                                                               
dedicated fund is in the purview of the voters of the state.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  understood  that   to  mean  that  the                                                               
administration does not have a position.                                                                                        
MR.  RICHARDS  agreed.    He  stated  that  the  DOT&PF  and  the                                                               
administration would  wait for the  outcome of the  resolution to                                                               
create a dedicated transportation fund,  as to whether it will be                                                               
approved by the legislature and the general public vote.                                                                        
1:50:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  that he supports the  concept of a                                                               
dedicated  transportation  fund,  but  has  grave  problems  with                                                               
dedicating  a  transportation  fund  in  the  constitution.    He                                                               
remarked  that  he  has  not supported  dedicated  funds  in  the                                                               
constitution in  the past since it  will open the door  for other                                                               
dedicated  funds.    The  constitutional  convention  provided  a                                                               
specific provision that there shall  be no dedicated funds unless                                                               
established by a  constitutional amendment.  He said  he does not                                                               
want his position misinterpreted.   He stated that the concept of                                                               
prohibiting   dedicated   funds   was   good   enough   for   the                                                               
constitutional  framers.   He  remarked  that  he was  interested                                                               
whether the administration had taken a position on that issue.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  agreed that this would  set a precedent.                                                               
He agreed that the constitutional  framers did not want dedicated                                                               
funds, which  has worked  well so  far.   However, he  thinks the                                                               
people of  Alaska should be  allowed to express their  opinion on                                                               
this.  Thus, he offered his support for HJR 42.                                                                                 
1:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON asked for  any other reliable mechanisms                                                               
to obtain transportation funding.                                                                                               
MR.  RICHARDS  clarified  that  if she  was  asking  for  revenue                                                               
streams  specifically  for  capital  investments  used  by  other                                                               
states that a variety of  means exists, ranging from special tax,                                                               
motor fuel  tax, and  bonding capacities.   He related  that most                                                               
other states have specific  responsibilities for highway systems.                                                               
In  Alaska,  the state  has  the  ability  to spend  the  federal                                                               
dollars on  all road systems.   The National Conference  of State                                                               
Legislatures provided  a range of  funding options for  states to                                                               
1:54:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR P.  WILSON remarked that  during the interim  the committee                                                               
spent a full day discussed transportation funding options.                                                                      
1:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHARDS,  in response to  Representative T.  Wilson, related                                                               
that  the  current  federal transportation  reauthorization  bill                                                               
that   has  passed   out  the   U.S.  House   of  Representatives                                                               
Infrastructure  Committee  does not  provide  a  rosy future  for                                                               
Alaska since it favors high  density urban areas with populations                                                               
over  500,000.    Over  20   percent  of  the  funding  would  be                                                               
prohibited  from  coming  to  Alaska   since  it  does  not  have                                                               
population centers over 500,000.   Funding for other major modes,                                                               
including  high-speed rail,  freight rail,  or intercity  transit                                                               
reduces the  amount of funding  for highways from the  motor fuel                                                               
1:55:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  explained   that  Fairbanks  was  not                                                               
eligible for  the federal stimulus  funding, since it was  one of                                                               
the communities  disallowed by  federal rules.   She  thanked the                                                               
sponsor for bringing this issue  forward.  She characterized this                                                               
resolution as a step in right direction.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  remarked that Fairbanks joined  the rest                                                               
of the state in having to compete for transportation dollars.                                                                   
1:56:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  to report  HJR42 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HJR 42 was reported  from the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        
CHAIR P. WILSON  stated that she was very proud  of the committee                                                               
for its work on this issue.                                                                                                     
1:57:47 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 329 Sponsor Stmt.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 329
HB 329 AK Trans Finance Study.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 329
HJR 42 Sponsor Stmt.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HJR 42
HJR 42 Resolution ATIF.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HJR 42
HJR 42 Exec Summary AK Trans Finance Study.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
ATIF values w-out taxes.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 329
fund values with taxes.pdf HTRA 2/9/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 329