Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

03/25/2010 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 267 SNOW MACHINE USE IN DALTON HWY CORRIDOR TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 267(TRA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 313 MAINTENANCE OF RAILROAD CROSSINGS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 267-SNOW MACHINE USE IN DALTON HWY CORRIDOR                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON announced that  the final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  267,  "An Act  relating  to  travel by  snow                                                               
machine  within  five miles  of  the  right-of-way of  the  James                                                               
Dalton Highway."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON,  as chair  of the  subcommittee on  HB
267, reported on the subcommittee work  on HB 267.  She explained                                                               
the subcommittee  agreed on  two things.   One,  the subcommittee                                                               
suggested that  the committee request  DOT&PF monitor  the number                                                               
of  new  recreational  users  through  a  permit  process.    The                                                               
subcommittee  did not  believe a  fee should  be charged  for the                                                               
permit,  but  in  case  any degradation  happened,  it  would  be                                                               
important to know how many snow  machines were in any given area.                                                               
The subcommittee envisioned  that the permit user  could access a                                                               
website  to  determine  whether   adequate  snow  was  available.                                                               
Secondly,  the  subcommittee   suggested  specific  access  sites                                                               
should be established along the  Dalton Highway corridor, such as                                                               
the  DOT&PF  could  identify  three   sites.    The  subcommittee                                                               
believed that  by limiting  access sites, it  would be  easier to                                                               
monitor  any damage.   Further,  she elaborated  that the  Dalton                                                               
Highway section  that typically receives  more snow  could handle                                                               
more snow  machines.  The  subcommittee determined it  would like                                                               
an annual review and report on the matter.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:39:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  stated  that  lastly the  subcommittee                                                               
requested  that  the  committee  require  recreational  users  to                                                               
maintain  safety   equipment.    The  Dalton   Highway  does  not                                                               
currently have  an Alaska State  Trooper (AST),  and historically                                                               
only  one  AST has  been  assigned  to  cover the  entire  Dalton                                                               
Highway  Corridor.   The committee  suggested opening  the Dalton                                                               
Highway  Corridor to  recreational access  only to  milepost 176.                                                               
She  stated that  Coldfoot is  located  at milepost  175 and  has                                                               
parking  facilities  and  a  hotel.    Most  of  the  e-mails  in                                                               
opposition expressed  concern about impact  to the area.   Of the                                                               
241  e-mails received,  98 were  in  favor and  143 were  against                                                               
recreational use  on the Dalton Highway.   District 7 and  8 were                                                               
the districts  most interested in  the access.   The subcommittee                                                               
suggested the  committee request  the area  be monitored  for any                                                               
impact on the land and animal migration.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:40:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked if the  activity is meant to  stay in                                                               
the  Dalton Highway  Corridor or  would  recreational users  have                                                               
access to areas off the corridor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON answered that recreational  users would                                                               
have access  to the  areas currently open  outside the  five mile                                                               
corridor.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:41:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON asked where residents are located.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON offered that  quite a few people live in                                                               
the Wiseman area,  which is above Coldfoot.   Those residents can                                                               
access  the  Dalton  Highway Corridor  and  are  not  restricted.                                                               
People  residing  outside  the  corridor can  access  the  Dalton                                                               
Highway Corridor.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:42:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked for  clarification on  whether people                                                               
currently living in Bettles can  ride their snow machines, but if                                                               
the person  is coming  up the road  is restricted  from accessing                                                               
the five miles along either side of the Dalton Highway.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON replied yes.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  would limit recreational users  to Milepost                                                               
175  at  Coldfoot,  but  would allow  access  across  the  Dalton                                                               
Highway Corridor into that area.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  stated  that  people cannot  transport                                                               
hunting  gear since  the hunting  regulations would  still apply.                                                               
Recreational  users  could  not   transport  animals  or  hunting                                                               
equipment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:43:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON  related her understanding that  the access would                                                               
be recreational.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:43:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 267, labeled  26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Version N was before the committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:44:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  ROONEY, Staff,  Representative P.  Wilson, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, as  staff to Representative P.  Wilson, Chair, House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee, referred  to the memorandum of                                                               
March  23, 2010,  from  Representative T.  Wilson,  Chair of  the                                                               
subcommittee, listing  four bulleted  points.  Version  N focused                                                               
on two points, permits and limiting  access to milepost 176.  She                                                               
explained  the changes  incorporated in  Version N.   On  page 1,                                                               
line 13-14,  to paragraph  (3), which  adds language  that limits                                                               
snow machine travel  to south of mile 176, at  Coldfoot.  Version                                                               
N  adds clarifying  language,  to  identify the  area  as "on  or                                                               
across  the  highway corridor"  to  be  certain that  the  access                                                               
included the highway corridor.  She  referred to page 2, lines 7-                                                               
8, which is the definition of highway corridor.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:45:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROONEY  referred to  page 2, lines  19-24 which  contains the                                                               
description of  the Dalton Highway  Corridor for  the prohibition                                                               
time period  between May  1 and  September 30.   She  referred to                                                               
proposed  Section  3, to  the  provision  established to  require                                                               
permits.      This    language   addresses   the   subcommittee's                                                               
recommendation for  recreational user permits.   The $25  fee was                                                               
added to encourage people to obtain  the permit since the goal is                                                               
to  obtain accurate  information  on the  number of  recreational                                                               
users.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:46:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  expressed   concern  that  limiting  the                                                               
recreational users  to a two-year  period may  increase activity,                                                               
or  overinflate   the  activity   during  the   two-year  period.                                                               
Recreational users  may feel the need  to plan a trip  during the                                                               
only  time  the   Dalton  Highway  Corridor  would   be  open  to                                                               
recreational  users.    He  suggested  the  permit  timeframe  be                                                               
extended to five years.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:48:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  pointed out that the  number of permits                                                               
is not limited  since the data is important.   She suggested that                                                               
the number could be limited to  100 permits, which could be based                                                               
on  a  lottery  similar  to  the Denali  Park  permitting.    She                                                               
suggested  limiting  numbers  rather than  keeping  the  proposed                                                               
sunset, offering  that it may  be easier on the  administrator to                                                               
have a designated number of people to permit.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN  related   his  understanding  that  one                                                               
reason for  the sunset date was  a report that would  provide the                                                               
number of permits issued, the  number of accidents, and any other                                                               
issues  that might  arise  so the  legislature  could decide  any                                                               
future use.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:50:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  SIROKY, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
outlined  some  suggestions.   She  asked  the committee  whether                                                               
Version  N  would  prohibit current  residents  living  north  of                                                               
Coldfoot from using the corridor  since these residents currently                                                               
are allowed access.  She commented  that the DOT&PF does not have                                                               
permitting  capabilities for  this  activity  and the  department                                                               
would have to  consider the number of personnel it  would need to                                                               
do so.   The DOT&PF  does not have any  enforcement capabilities.                                                               
Additionally, the  DOT&PF prefers  the maintenance crew  to limit                                                               
its duties to  road maintenance and not add duties  to assist the                                                               
public,  as  it would  impact  the  maintenance function  on  the                                                               
Dalton  Highway.   She offered  her belief  that the  language is                                                               
written so some aspects could  affect Department of Public Safety                                                               
and not just the DOT&PF.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:52:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked whether  the DOT&PF has considered how                                                               
recreational users would affect the trucking functions.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIROKY  related  that as  previously  mentioned  the  DOT&PF                                                               
envisions it would  place signs to limit the  "chain-up areas" at                                                               
base of hills for commercial  use only so recreational users will                                                               
know these  areas are off  limits to recreational vehicles.   The                                                               
DOT&PF  held  some  preliminary  discussions  with  the  trucking                                                               
industry  to  determine if  any  other  areas, such  as  pullouts                                                               
should  be   restricted.     The  truckers   did  not   have  any                                                               
recommendations.  Thus,  the DOT&PF would monitor  pullout use to                                                               
determine  if  any issues  arise.    She  anticipated that  if  a                                                               
pullout  is full  and the  next one  is full,  or if  all of  the                                                               
pullouts  for  a  long  stretch  are  filled  that  it  could  be                                                               
problematic.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:55:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIROKY, in  response to  Representative Petersen,  explained                                                               
the DOT&PF will  request funds to place signs  to restrict "chain                                                               
up"  areas to  commercial trucks  only.   In further  response to                                                               
Representative  Petersen,  she  explained the  "chain  up"  areas                                                               
would not be available to recreational users.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN asked  whether  all  vehicles should  be                                                               
required to have chains to drive.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIROKY was  not certain  whether DOT&PF  uses chains  on all                                                               
their  vehicles,  noting  that commercial  trucks  pulling  heavy                                                               
loads have greater need for chains.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:56:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MUNOZ  asked   the   subcommittee  whether   the                                                               
Department of Natural Resources provided input.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  answered that the DNR  did not respond.                                                               
The  subcommittee  received input  from  the  DOT&PF.   The  U.S.                                                               
Bureau of Land  Management (BLM) and Alaska Department  of Fish &                                                               
Game were contacted but also did not provide input.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:57:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ said  she thought  it would  be helpful  to                                                               
have the agency input.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  related  that  the bill  has  a  further                                                               
referral to the House Resources  Standing Committee, which is the                                                               
appropriate committee to review any land use issues.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  answered   that  may  be  reason  the                                                               
subcommittee did not receive any input.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:58:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN  offered his  belief  that  some of  the                                                               
subcommittee recommendations  may not be so  easily accomplished.                                                               
He inquired  as to  whether the committee  should try  to address                                                               
some  of   the  recommendations.     He  prepared   an  amendment                                                               
previously  to address  the cutoff  limit, but  Version N  limits                                                               
access to milepost 176, which he  thought was fine.  He suggested                                                               
since  the DOT&PF  does not  have a  permitting process  in place                                                               
that the committee may wish to consider an alternative.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:59:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  suggested that the  permit is a  land use                                                               
issue.  He suggested that the  BLM should issue the permit.  That                                                               
issue and  any ADF&G issues  for consideration could be  taken up                                                               
in the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:00:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  asked  whether   snow  machine  access  is                                                               
limited to any other areas in the region.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON answered that  the Yukon River Bridge is                                                               
the  beginning point  under the  bill and  from Fairbanks  to the                                                               
Yukon River is currently open to recreational user.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON reiterated the  Dalton Highway Corridor area adds                                                               
another 115 miles of recreational use.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ clarified that  recreational users have open                                                               
access in the Dalton Highway Corridor to the Yukon River Bridge.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON answered yes.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON moved to report  the proposed committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 267, labeled  26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN objected.   He said he did  not think the                                                               
bill  was   ready  to   move  since   all  of   the  subcommittee                                                               
recommendations have not been addressed in the bill.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:03:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON offered to pass  the subcommittee notes                                                               
and comments  along.  She  offered her belief that  the remaining                                                               
questions are resources issues.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:03:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON expressed concern that  the $25 permit fee is not                                                               
high  enough since  people may  ignore  the permit  requirements.                                                               
She suggested the fee should be in the $250 or $350 range.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  pointed out  that  currently,  people                                                               
could be  using the Dalton  Highway Corridor in violation  of the                                                               
current  law.    This  bill   will  actually  provide  additional                                                               
information, she said.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON agreed that  the information is important,                                                               
and that  $250 fine would  cause people  to apply in  advance for                                                               
the permit.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:05:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P.  WILSON made a motion  to adopt Amendment 1,  on page 3,                                                               
line 3, to delete $25 and insert $275.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:06:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON withdrew her motion to move the bill.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[The committee treated Amendment 1 as rescinded.]                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:06:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P.  WILSON made a motion  to adopt Amendment 1,  on page 3,                                                               
line 3,  to increase the  fee from $25 to  $375.  There  being no                                                               
objection,  Amendment  1 was  adopted.    [The committee  treated                                                               
Amendment 1 as Amendment 2.]                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:07:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON moved to report  the proposed committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 267, labeled  26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
as amended, out of committee  with individual recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Johnson, T. Wilson,                                                               
and P.  Wilson voted  in favor of  moving the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 267, labeled  26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
as  amended, from  the House  Transportation Standing  Committee.                                                               
Representatives Munoz and Petersen  voted against it.  Therefore,                                                               
the motion failed by a vote of 3-2.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:08:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to  rescind the  committee's action                                                               
to  move  the proposed  committee  substitute  (CS) for  HB  267,                                                               
labeled  26-LS1207\N,  Kane,  3/25/10,   out  of  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Johnson, T. Wilson,                                                               
Munoz,  and   P.  Wilson  voted   in  favor  of   rescinding  the                                                               
committee's action  to move HB  267, as amended.   Representative                                                               
Petersen voted against it.   Therefore, the committee's action to                                                               
rescind  its action  to move  the  proposed committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB 267, as  amended, labeled 26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
from committee passed by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:10:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  to report  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 267, labeled  26-LS1207\N, Kane, 3/25/10,                                                               
as amended, out of committee  with individual recommendations and                                                               
the  accompanying   fiscal  notes.     There  being   no  further                                                               
objection,   CSHB 267(TRA)   was    reported   from   the   House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 313 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRA 3/25/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 313
HB 267 Ver N.pdf HTRA 3/25/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 267