Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 17

03/22/2016 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 319 Out of Committee
                  HB 230-NAMING ARCTIC MAN WAY                                                                              
1:14:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES announced that the first order of business would                                                                
be House Bill No. 230, "An Act designating Pipeline Road 34-ALP-                                                                
3 as Arctic Man Way."                                                                                                           
1:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER,   Alaska  State  Legislature,   as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HB 230, regarding  the Arctic Man Ski and Snow                                                               
classic  ("Arctic  Man").    He   paraphrased  from  the  sponsor                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
     This Act  designates Trans-Alaska Pipeline  Access Road                                                                    
     34-ALP-3  at mile  197.5 of  the Richardson  Highway as                                                                    
     Arctic  Man Way  in honor  of the  historic Arctic  Man                                                                    
     Race held in  the HooDoo Mountains every  April for the                                                                    
     past 30 years.                                                                                                             
     The Arctic Man is one  of the World's Toughest Downhill                                                                    
     Ski  races, and  an  exciting snowmobile  race, all  in                                                                    
     one.  The  skier begins at a summit  elevation of 5,800                                                                    
     feet and drops  1700 feet in less than two  mile to the                                                                    
     bottom of  a narrow canyon  where he meets up  with his                                                                    
     snowmobiling partner.                                                                                                      
     The snowmobiler meets the skier,  on the go, with a tow                                                                    
     rope  and pulls  the skier  2 1/4  miles uphill  at top                                                                    
     speeds of up  to 86 mph.  The skier  and the snowmobile                                                                    
     then separate and  the skier goes over the  side of the                                                                    
     second  mountain and  drops another  1200  feet to  the                                                                    
     finish line.                                                                                                               
     This race  brings together thousands of  spectators and                                                                    
     participants from  all over the  world.  Legend  has it                                                                    
     that  the race  began  as  a result  of  a bet  wagered                                                                    
     between skiers  and snow machine riders,  and was later                                                                    
     developed into an annual race by Howard Thies.                                                                             
     The  Arctic  Man Race  has  also  adopted other  family                                                                    
     events,   creating  a   festive  atmosphere   for  both                                                                    
     spectators and participants.                                                                                               
       Pipeline Road 34-ALP-3 leads to the area where the                                                                       
       race is held annually, and therefore will be aptly                                                                       
     renamed as Arctic Man Way.                                                                                                 
1:18:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER directed attention  to the committee packet                                                               
to  highlight  a  photo of  then  gubernatorial  candidate,  Bill                                                               
Walker, participating in  the 2014 race, and the  fiscal note for                                                               
$200 from the Department of  Transportation and Public Facilities                                                               
(DOTPF).  A  land use permit issued by the  Department of Natural                                                               
Resources  (DNR)  for  the  area  used  for  parking  during  the                                                               
festival,  he  explained, and  the  Arctic  Man organization  has                                                               
agreed  to  purchase   the  road  sign  and   contribute  to  the                                                               
installation cost.                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  noted the  discrepancy between  the cost  of the                                                               
fiscal  note  and  the  cost   quoted  in  the  letter  from  the                                                               
organizations   President,  Howard   Thies.     He  offered   his                                                               
assumption  that  the difference  might  be  attributable to  the                                                               
labor costs.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER clarified that  the initial, DOTPF estimate                                                               
was  $800-$1,000, which  the Arctic  Man organization  pledged to                                                               
fund, as  indicated in the  letter from Howard  Thies, President,                                                               
dated 2/8/16 [available  in the committee packet].   He explained                                                               
that, given an existing post for  mounting the sign, the cost was                                                               
able to  be reduced.   Representative  Colver said  signage would                                                               
conform to highway standards and DOTPF specifications.                                                                          
1:20:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  questioned why the fiscal  note covers materials                                                               
and  doesn't  include  installation  costs,  and  asked  for  the                                                               
sponsor's assurance, guaranteeing the amount represented.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER  responded   that  there   would  be   no                                                               
expectations  for the  state to  cover the  cost of  the sign  or                                                               
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  questioned whether  the Arctic  Man organization                                                               
would still be  willing to cover costs exceeding  the $200 fiscal                                                               
note.  Additionally,  she asked if the legislature  is allowed to                                                               
name a road without installing associated signage.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER   offered   his   assumption   that   the                                                               
legislature could nominate naming/renaming  for any facility, but                                                               
whether or not a sign is  required presents a separate issue.  He                                                               
stated his  understanding that  under HB  230 the  legislature is                                                               
simply  recognizing a  name,  and that  the  official name  would                                                               
remain [Pipeline Road 34-ALp-3].                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HUGHES questioned whether public safety is a concern.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER answered  yes.  He explained  that the area                                                               
is through  a mountain pass  and the  road can easily  be missed,                                                               
especially  in  times  of  inclement  weather,  which  frequently                                                               
occurs between  Delta Junction  and Glennallen.   He said  a sign                                                               
could help  prevent people  unfamiliar to  the area  from getting                                                               
lost as well  as help direct emergency responders.   He said that                                                               
the Alaska  State Trooper  presence has been  scaled back  to the                                                               
current fiscal situation faced by the state.                                                                                    
1:25:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  pondered how  the sign  would be  positioned and                                                               
its  visibility  to  drivers  traveling  at  high  speed  on  the                                                               
Richardson Highway.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  explained that  the plan  is to  install a                                                               
standard road  marker sign and not  an early indicator sign.   He                                                               
said  the  road  north  of  Paxson  was  built  to  the  original                                                               
standards  and,  thus,  is  very  narrow;  DOTPF  is  working  to                                                               
complete  incremental  upgrades.    The area  represents  a  very                                                               
difficult  stretch  of  highway  which is  closed  at  times  for                                                               
various  reasons.   He  pointed  out  that double  tanker  trucks                                                               
frequently  traverse the  Richardson Highway  between Valdez  and                                                               
the  North  Pole  refinery  and  there  have  been  a  number  of                                                               
accidents,  as well  as oil  spills.   Upgrading the  corridor to                                                               
meet public safety standards is an anticipated priority.                                                                        
1:28:41 PM                                                                                                                    
HOWARD THIES,  President, Arctic Man  Ski and Snow  Classic, said                                                               
the 2016 marks the event's  thirty-first anniversary, and that it                                                               
is the primary fundraiser for the organization.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  asked whether  Arctic Man  would cover  the cost                                                               
for signage, should it exceed the current $200 fiscal note.                                                                     
1:30:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. THIES explained that the  board met and approved the expense.                                                               
He  expressed  concern  that  the  sign  may  be  stolen,  as  it                                                               
represents a piece of memorabilia.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR HUGHES asked  if Arctic Man is willing  to help maintain                                                               
the sign and assure that there are no costs to DOTPF.                                                                           
MR. THIES  stated that  as long  as the  sign doesn't  go missing                                                               
once  a  week,  the  organization  is  happy  to  help  with  any                                                               
associated maintenance costs.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR HUGHES announced that HB 230 would be held over.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB230 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRA 3/22/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 230
HB0230 ver A.pdf HTRA 3/22/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 230
HB230-Fiscal Note-DOT-DES-1-30-16.pdf HTRA 3/22/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 230
HB230 Sectional Analysis.pdf HTRA 3/22/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 230
HB230 Supporting Documents-Letter Howard Theis 2-8-2016.pdf HTRA 3/22/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 230