Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/17/2004 02:08 PM Senate TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
             SB 260-METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATIONS                                                                     
The committee took up SB 260.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  WAGONER  moved  to   adopt  the  [proposed]  CS,                                                              
version   Q,  [labeled   23-LS1493\Q,   Utermohle,  2/17/04]   for                                                              
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS, sponsor of SB  260, said that the CS  was an                                                              
improved version of  the original bill; he began  his testimony by                                                              
explaining that the  bill itself relates to metropolitan  planning                                                              
organizations  (MPOs) for urbanized  areas of  at least 50,000  in                                                              
population.    Essentially  this  bill adds  two  members  to  the                                                              
policy  committee  of  the  Anchorage  Metropolitan  area  transit                                                              
system,  which is  the  Anchorage MPO.    Those two  members,  one                                                              
person from  the House and  one from the  Senate, would  each have                                                              
at  least 50  percent  of  his/her  district residing  within  the                                                              
Anchorage  metropolitan area  boundary.  He  emphasized that  this                                                              
was the  third attempt  at getting  this through the  Legislature.                                                              
The  first  attempt   passed  this  body  and  ran   into  a  time                                                              
constraint in  the House;  the second  attempt passed both  bodies                                                              
and was vetoed by the prior administration.                                                                                     
SENATOR  STEVENS continued  that the  intent and  language of  the                                                              
bill  is  to  open  up  the  AMATS  (Anchorage  Metropolitan  Area                                                              
Transportation Study)  policy process.  The existing  AMATS policy                                                              
committee consists  of five people:   three from the  municipality                                                              
and two  from the state.   The committee oversees  the expenditure                                                              
of  federal and  state  money  within the  Anchorage  metropolitan                                                              
area  for  the maintenance,  upgrade,  and  re-surfacing  of  both                                                              
state and  local roads.   The  process is  convoluted and  obscure                                                              
and "neither the  public nor we understand how that  process works                                                              
very  well."   Legislators  receive a  transportation  improvement                                                              
plan  (TIP)  approved  by the  policy  committee  and  can  either                                                              
approve of it or  not.  Motivation behind supporting  SB 260 is to                                                              
enable  the  Legislature   to  have  a  better   understanding  of                                                              
projects, to  further Anchorage  area residents  to have a  better                                                              
understanding  of  the prioritization  of  projects,  and for  the                                                              
Legislature   to   possibly   express   a  wider   view   of   the                                                              
prioritization  process within  the  AMATS policy  committee.   SB
260  comes  with  a great  deal  of  opposition  from  the  people                                                              
currently on  the policy  committee.   He remarked, "That  doesn't                                                              
surprise me at all  because they control that process."   He noted                                                              
that  although it's  been said  that this  is an  attempt to  take                                                              
over control, "that's not what this intent is at all."                                                                          
SENATOR  STEVENS referred  to the  graph -  included in  committee                                                              
packet  -  as  he outlined  the  changes  in  the  [proposed]  CS,                                                              
beginning  with  Section  1,  AS 19.20.200.    The  CS  eliminates                                                              
language from the  original bill that requires the  Legislature to                                                              
establish each  MPO.  This allows  the MPO to be  established when                                                              
required  by   FHWA  (Federal  Highway  Administration,   "Federal                                                              
Highways")  with no  involvement  by the  Legislature.   He  added                                                              
that this is a conforming change with FHWA regulation.                                                                          
SENATOR  STEVENS  continued  that the  next  change  adds  "policy                                                              
board" under  Section 1 [AS  19.20.210] to clarify  the membership                                                              
of  the MPO  decision-making  body for  a metropolitan  area  with                                                              
more  than 200,000  residents.   Again,  this  is consistent  with                                                              
federal  code.   The  third change  adds  language  to expand  the                                                              
makeup  of  the   policy  board  to  include   additional  members                                                              
representing   other    agencies   operating   major    modes   of                                                              
transportation, to be  appointed by the governor.   Again, this is                                                              
consistent with  federal code.  This  gives the ability,  if other                                                              
modes  of transportation  are created  or  come into  play in  the                                                              
future to  "have a  seat at the  table."   The fourth change  adds                                                              
language  to expand  the makeup  of  the policy  board to  include                                                              
additional  non-voting members  to be appointed  by the  governor.                                                              
Again,  this  conforms to  DOT  and  federal  policy.   The  fifth                                                              
change adds language  allowing the governor to approve  of the TIP                                                              
or  TIP  amendment that  is  prepared  by  the MPO  policy  board,                                                              
organized  in accordance  with [AS]  19.20.210.   Senator  Stevens                                                              
pointed out that this was a major change to the bill.                                                                           
SENATOR  STEVENS   said  the  next  [sixth]  change   in  language                                                              
reflects the  policy board makeup  of an MPO.   It also  maintains                                                              
the  intent language  in  the original  version  that the  changes                                                              
implemented  by this bill  do not constitute  a re-designation  of                                                              
the  MPO.    The last  change  extends  the  effective  date  from                                                              
October 1, 2004  - which corresponds to the federal  fiscal year -                                                              
to  now coincide  with the  introduction  or the  adoption of  the                                                              
next TIP [July 1, 2005].                                                                                                        
SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT asked  if Anchorage Municipal  Assembly's                                                              
resolution [AR No.  2004-37], which refers to this  legislation as                                                              
a re-designation,  was  passed prior  to the drafting  of the  CS.                                                              
He also referenced  Senator Stevens' indication that  this was not                                                              
a re-designation.                                                                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS  acknowledged this issue  as one of  the conflicts                                                              
in interpretation of  the language; the MPO states that  this is a                                                              
re-designation while  we (as the sponsor  of the bill)  are saying                                                              
that this  is not a  re-designation.  He  said he understood  from                                                              
FHWA that  this does  not constitute a  re-designation as  long as                                                              
there's an agreement  between the two entities.   The Assembly and                                                              
the Municipality  are saying "it does"  and that's the  reason why                                                              
they  are   not  going   to  agree   with  it.     "So,  it's   an                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT  referred  to the stated  concern that  passage                                                              
of this  legislation would  potentially jeopardize federal  funds,                                                              
and  said,  "You  don't  believe  that  this  jeopardizes  federal                                                              
funds,  and if  there was  any credibility  to  that argument,  it                                                              
would be  something that they would  control.  If they  refused to                                                              
agree, that  would be  a decision that  they would  make.   And if                                                              
that caused  any problem  with the  federal funds,  that would  be                                                              
something  that  they  would  control."   He  asked  if  this  was                                                              
SENATOR  STEVENS responded  that an  MPO  was established  between                                                              
the  municipality  and  the  administration,  DOT.    The  TIP  is                                                              
developed  by  the  MPO  and submitted  to  DOT;  DOT  can  either                                                              
approve it or not,  then sends it to us, and we  either approve it                                                              
or  not.   The language  to add  legislative members  to the  MPO,                                                              
from FHWA's  perspective, will  not jeopardize  funding.   Section                                                              
1,  AS 19.20.220  - the  fifth  change -  gives  the governor  the                                                              
authority  to   approve  or  disapprove   of  the  TIP   amendment                                                              
developed by  the MPO, as  long as there  is compliance  with this                                                              
piece   of  legislation.     He   said  his   answer  to   Senator                                                              
Therriault's  question of  whether this  would jeopardize  funding                                                              
from the  FHWA, was  no.   But does  it give authority  to DOT  to                                                              
approve of  a TIP developed  by an MPO  that does not  include the                                                              
makeup [suggested  in] this bill?   The answer  is yes.   He asked                                                              
Mr. Otteson  if this  was correct and  received confirmation  that                                                              
it was.                                                                                                                         
SENATOR  GEORGIANNA LINCOLN  said she  had a  number of  questions                                                              
and  asked if  there would  be other  testimony  today.   CO-CHAIR                                                              
COWDERY responded  that one  person [Mr.  Craig Lyon] was  online.                                                              
Senator  Lincoln  stated  that  she   had  just  received  the  CS                                                              
[version Q].   She commented  that the  previous member  had asked                                                              
if the  resolution - which  she noted had  been in her  folder but                                                              
other  members didn't  have  -  referred to  SB  260 and  not  the                                                              
amended version because  the resolution was passed  on February 3,                                                              
[2004].    She referred  to  the  seven outlined  changes  in  the                                                              
[proposed] CS,  and wondered  about Anchorage Assembly's  concerns                                                              
or  the  concerns  of the  Anchorage  Chamber  of  Commerce's  one                                                              
committee  that  had expressed  opposition.    In looking  at  the                                                              
resolution   and  the   attachment   from  the   Municipality   of                                                              
Anchorage,  concern regarding  local control  had been  mentioned.                                                              
She  said  she  would  like to  hear  the  sponsor's  response  to                                                              
tilting the balance  away from local control, "and  if anything in                                                              
the amended language has changed that aspect."                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR COWDERY  offered a response,  "I'm locally  elected there                                                              
too.   In fact, in my  district, I got  more votes than  the mayor                                                              
got - considerably  more votes - and so I figure that  I'm just as                                                              
much local  as anybody  on the AMATS  or anybody  else."   He said                                                              
when he goes back  to his district, he hears complaints  about the                                                              
decisions made by AMATS, and "we have no say in it."                                                                            
SENATOR STEVENS  responded to Senator  Lincoln by saying  first of                                                              
all, the issue   - taken up by the subcommittee of  the Chamber of                                                              
Commerce  - elected  not to  endorse  the resolution  to the  full                                                              
chamber.   Unless  something has  changed  in the  last week,  the                                                              
executive committee of the Chamber has not taken this up.                                                                       
SENATOR   LINCOLN  directed   attention   to  page   two  of   the                                                              
"Municipality  of Anchorage,  Position  on State  Senate Bill  260                                                              
[2/6/04]" and referred to the heading of "Municipal opposition."                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  mentioned that Mr.  Lyon had been at  the meeting                                                              
and  could speak  to this.   He  reiterated that  this involved  a                                                              
subcommittee  of the  Chamber  of Commerce;  the  full Chamber  of                                                              
Commerce did not endorse this.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  LINCOLN   read,  "...the   State  and  Local   Government                                                              
Committee  of the  Anchorage  Chamber of  Commerce  voted for  the                                                              
board of directors not to support SB 260."                                                                                      
SENATOR STEVENS  said, "That's  correct, but it  was not  the full                                                              
chamber or  the executive committee of  the Chamber."  He  said it                                                              
was referred to  the Chamber's subcommittee on  Transportation and                                                              
Government Policy,  and "that's where  it's been, that's  where it                                                              
sits."   He said he  didn't want to  argue semantics with  Senator                                                              
Lincoln,  but the  executive committee  of  the Anchorage  Chamber                                                              
has not voted on this issue.                                                                                                    
SENATOR LINCOLN said  she understands that, she was  just pointing                                                              
out "this committee was the one that voted no."                                                                                 
SENATOR  STEVENS  said, moving  to  the  issue of  local  control,                                                              
"We're not asking  Senator Olson from Nome to serve  on a local, a                                                              
decision-making body  within the Anchorage MPO.  We're  not asking                                                              
Senator Wagoner  from Kenai  to serve on  a local management  body                                                              
within  the Municipality  of Anchorage.    Nor does  the bill  say                                                              
that  somebody from  Anchorage will  serve on  the Fairbanks  MPO.                                                              
This is  a local  issue."  It  is an  issue pertaining to  locally                                                              
elected  officials  within  the  MPO,   or  within  the  Anchorage                                                              
boundary.    As   Co-Chair  Cowdery  stated,  he  has   to  answer                                                              
questions   about   AMATS  that   have   been  approved   by   the                                                              
Legislature,   yet    there   is   no   understanding    of   that                                                              
prioritization process.                                                                                                         
SENATOR STEVENS continued,  "It's all done with five  people on an                                                              
obscure  board  that  meets  once a  month,  and  the  agenda  has                                                              
already  been  determined, and  the  outcome  and the  tables  are                                                              
already approved before  the board meets."  He agreed  that it's a                                                              
local issue,  adding, "I'm representing  the constituents  from my                                                              
locality who  are asking me to  go into that policy  committee and                                                              
say,  'show us  how it  works.   How do  they come  up with  these                                                              
prioritization processes?   Why are these projects  ranked? Why do                                                              
they go through  a ranking process  where a project can be  on the                                                              
list for  seven years  and in  one meeting,  have it knocked  off?                                                              
And then another  project is funded instantaneously.'   So it is a                                                              
local issue,  Senator Lincoln, and  I'm from that locality  and so                                                              
are the people that I represent."                                                                                               
SENATOR  LINCOLN  suggested  that  Senator  Stevens  look  at  the                                                              
Municipality of  Anchorage's position  on this issue,  reiterating                                                              
that she was solidly  behind local control.  She  then asked about                                                              
the  suggestion that  SB 260  would be  inconsistent with  federal                                                              
regulations  that govern MPOs,  and questioned  whether it  was in                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS  replied that he had  answered this earlier.   The                                                              
Municipality  and the  Assembly,  and  Mr. Lyon  -  who works  for                                                              
AMATS - stated  all along that this constitutes  a re-designation.                                                              
Senator Stevens  said it was  his understanding from  meeting with                                                              
FHWA that it does  not constitute a re-designation as  long as the                                                              
two entities  having the bylaws of  the MPO agree that  it doesn't                                                              
constitute a re-designation.   "It's difficult to  understand, but                                                              
the MPO and  the state have an  agreement, and then the  FHWA says                                                              
yes or no  to the agreement."   If both of those parties  agree to                                                              
the change,  then the FHWA says  it's not a re-designation.   From                                                              
FHWA's perspective,  if there  is an agreement,  there won't  be a                                                              
re-designation; it would  be an amendment to the MPO.   "They have                                                              
to be in agreement."                                                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN asked, "Who has to be in agreement?"                                                                            
SENATOR STEVENS replied, "The Municipality and the state."                                                                      
SENATOR LINCOLN asked, "The state, being us?"                                                                                   
SENATOR  STEVENS replied,  "DOT."   He remarked  that before  this                                                              
bill  was  even heard  in  Senate  CRA [meeting  of  2/9/04],  the                                                              
Assembly  had  passed  resolution [AR  No.  2004-37,  February  3,                                                              
2004].    He said  that  things  change  as they  go  through  the                                                              
process,  and  before  there  was  even  a  public  hearing,  this                                                              
position had  been taken.   He drew attention  to the sentence  on                                                              
page  2 of  Mr.  Lyon's testimony  and  read as  follows:   "In  a                                                              
January 2004  conversation between  U.S. Transportation  Secretary                                                              
Norm  Mineta and  Mayor Mark  Begich,  Secretary Mineta  expressed                                                              
support  for   retaining  the   current  composition  of   AMATS."                                                              
Senator   Stevens  said,  "I've   asked  Mr.   Lyon  for   support                                                              
documenting that  statement, and  he hasn't ...  and this  is not,                                                              
in my mind, support of that documentation."                                                                                     
2:30 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR   LINCOLN   commented  that   it   is  not   unusual   for                                                              
organizations  or  government  entities  to  have  resolutions  on                                                              
legislation as  a way to  have input into  amended versions.   She                                                              
asked  how   the  bill's  amended   version  conforms   to  AMAT's                                                              
SENATOR  STEVENS  stated  that  the  [amended  version]  does  not                                                              
address  those  concerns   and  that  "they  will   not  like  the                                                              
changes."   He added,  "they may like  one of  them, but my  money                                                              
will be  that they will  not like the  changes.  They  didn't like                                                              
it from the beginning, and they won't like it now."                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN said,  "Well it's your community,  Senator Stevens                                                              
and it's something  you're going to have to deal with."   She said                                                              
her  other question  was  the  objection that  adding  legislators                                                              
"confuses,  politicizes the  process"  and it  had been  mentioned                                                              
that legislators  would not be there  for five months of  the year                                                              
to attend meetings.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  STEVENS   responded  that   if  involving  more   elected                                                              
officials with  the spending of  public money is politicizing  the                                                              
process,  then "that's an  oxymoron."   He said  the intent  is to                                                              
open  the  system  up  for  involvement,  to  determine  how  this                                                              
process works.   He said he  didn't think of this  as politicizing                                                              
the  process, but  of  opening  it up  to  more public  input  and                                                              
public debate.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER  pointed out  that  legislative  representatives                                                              
would  be away  for four  months, not  five, and  that there's  no                                                              
reason why participation  couldn't take place  via teleconference.                                                              
For  the record,  he  brought  the  committee's attention  to  the                                                              
previous CRA  meeting during which  three or four people  from the                                                              
public testified on  SB 260 who were fairly upset  with AMATS; all                                                              
testified  in support of  SB 260  because of  the desire for  more                                                              
equitable  representation.   One  woman  testified  that   it  was                                                              
difficult to track  the projects because things jumped  around too                                                              
much.   He pointed  out that  it was interesting  that the  public                                                              
testified   in  favor   of  the   bill  while   people  from   the                                                              
municipality opposed the bill.                                                                                                  
2:35 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR DONNY  OLSON asked if adding  two members would  bring the                                                              
committee from five to seven [members].                                                                                         
SENATOR STEVENS indicated confirmation.                                                                                         
SENATOR OLSON asked about the qualifications of new members.                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS replied that this information was in the bill.                                                                  
SENATOR OLSON  asked about  legislators who  own property  and pay                                                              
taxes in Anchorage.                                                                                                             
SENATOR STEVENS  referred to  the language  on page  2, lines  7 -                                                              
18: "elected from a district," emphasizing the word "elected."                                                                  
SENATOR  OLSON asked  if owning  property and  paying taxes  would                                                              
make one eligible.                                                                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS  reiterated, "You have  to be an elected  official                                                              
from  that  area."    Senator  Stevens  distributed  a  letter  in                                                              
response  to  Senator  Lincoln's  concern.   He  said  the  letter                                                              
pertained  to the piece  of legislation  that passed  out of  both                                                              
bodies  but   was  vetoed  by   the  prior  administration.     He                                                              
referenced  the  last   three  lines  of  the  letter   from  FHWA                                                              
[February 22,  2001] [original punctuation provided],  "...Federal                                                              
regulations   do  not   preclude   the  participation   of   State                                                              
legislators  on the AMATS  Policy Board."   He  said this  doesn't                                                              
trigger a re-designation.                                                                                                       
SENATOR LINCOLN said,  "To that point, but you failed  to read the                                                              
whole sentence."   She read:   "Providing the provisions  of Title                                                              
23 [CFR]  Section 450 are followed,"  [Federal regulations  do not                                                              
SENATOR   STEVENS  suggested   that   Mr.  Otteson   address   the                                                              
requirements under  which an  MPO must operate,  "which we  are in                                                              
full compliance with."                                                                                                          
MR. JEFF OTTESEN,  Director of Program Development,  Department of                                                              
Transportation  &  Public  Facilities (DOT&PF),  told  members  he                                                              
wanted  to point  out what  the U.S.  code  says about  MPOs.   He                                                              
said,  "MPOs are  the  creation of  the  federal  government.   In                                                              
Title 23,  Section 134,  and very briefly,  the designation  of an                                                              
MPO shall be done  by agreement between the governor  and units of                                                              
local government."   There will be  a signature from  the governor                                                              
and a  signature from  key members of  local government,  which in                                                              
Anchorage's case  is the Municipality  of Anchorage.  He  said, as                                                              
an  aside,  that  throughout  the  country  MPOs  are  often  very                                                              
complex,   sometimes   having   hundreds    of   different   local                                                              
governments   involved,  and   in   some  cases   crossing   state                                                              
boundaries, like St.  Louis and Portland, Oregon, etc.   "So we've                                                              
got a fairly simple one by comparison."                                                                                         
MR.  OTTESEN continued,  "They also  shall be  done in  accordance                                                              
with procedures  established  by applicable  state or local  law."                                                              
Clearly state  law can have an  influence on the structure  of the                                                              
MPO.   "The structure of  the MPO board,  the policy board,  shall                                                              
have  three classes  of  membership:   local,  elected  officials;                                                              
officials  of public  agencies that  administer  or operate  major                                                              
modes  of transportation  in  the  metropolitan  area -  and  that                                                              
might be a transit  agency, DOT, a railroad, airport  or seaport -                                                              
and there's  provision here for all  of those possibilities  to be                                                              
included;  and finally,  appropriate  state officials."   He  said                                                              
there  is no  definition  of whether  that's  an  appointed or  an                                                              
elected state  official, adding that  "it does not say  who should                                                              
have the  lion's share of  the seats in  the federal law,  it just                                                              
says  three  classes  of  membership,  all  to  be  determined  by                                                              
agreement  between  the  governor  and  local  elected  officials,                                                              
subject to state law."                                                                                                          
SENATOR LINCOLN asked if he referenced Section 134.                                                                             
MR.  OTTESEN said  "Yes, of  the U.S.  code."   He clarified  that                                                              
[FHWA's] letter  referenced the CFR,  the regulations and  not the                                                              
U.S. code.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  LINCOLN referred  to  the letter  of  February 22,  2001,                                                              
which  mentions Title  23 CFR  Section 450,  and said,  "Providing                                                              
the provisions of  that section are followed,  federal regulations                                                              
do not  preclude the  participation of  state regulators on  AMATS                                                              
policy board."   She asked  if this was  consistent with  what Mr.                                                              
Ottesen had just read regarding the three classes of membership.                                                                
MR. OTTESEN replied  that the CFR are the  regulations promulgated                                                              
by the  U.S. DOT and  have to be  promulgated under the  authority                                                              
of the  U.S. code.   One  is statute  and one is  regulation.   He                                                              
said, "So  yes, I believe the  statute really is a  governing body                                                              
of law,  and I  would add that  other MPOs  around the country  do                                                              
have elected state  legislators as a part of  their organization."                                                              
He pointed to Honolulu as an example.                                                                                           
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked Mr. Ottesen  if Title 23 CFR  [Section] 450                                                              
was consistent with what he had just read.                                                                                      
MR. OTTESEN  replied that he  would like to  have a copy  of "450"                                                              
to be absolutely  certain, but believed  that what was  being said                                                              
was  that providing  450 was  followed, it  seems consistent  with                                                              
the overarching  Title 23 in  U.S. code.   He added that  it seems                                                              
consistent  with  practices of  MPOs  around the  country,  noting                                                              
that Honolulu  has had  legislators  on its board  since the  mid-                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN  said she would  like Mr.  Ottesen to take  a look                                                              
at this and get back to [her].                                                                                                  
MR. OTTESEN said that  at the right time, he would  be happy to do                                                              
MR.    CRAIG   LYON,    AMATS   (Anchorage    Metropolitan    Area                                                              
Transportation  Study)  Coordinator,  Municipality  of  Anchorage,                                                              
testified via  teleconference that he  had not received a  copy of                                                              
the [proposed]  CS so it  was difficult to  comment on all  of the                                                              
     AMATS  was established  in 1976 as  a multi-agency  team                                                                   
     set  up   to  work  together   to  plan  and   fund  the                                                                   
     transportation  system  in the  Anchorage  and  Chugiak-                                                                   
     Eagle  River areas when  federal funds  are being  used.                                                                   
     Federal  funding  accounts  for   about  90  percent  of                                                                   
     public  monies   being  spent  to  develop   Anchorage's                                                                   
     transportation system  and averages about $40  million a                                                                   
     year in Anchorage.                                                                                                         
     Basically the  metropolitan planning organizations  were                                                                   
     established by  the federal government for  the purposes                                                                   
     of  prioritizing  the  expenditures   of  these  federal                                                                   
     dollars.   And the idea was  to tilt the balance  toward                                                                   
     local  controls so  that the  local  officials would  be                                                                   
     able to  determine what  they thought  was best for  the                                                                   
     local communities.                                                                                                         
     The   current   process  allows   local   citizens   the                                                                   
     opportunity  to   discuss  transportation  issues   with                                                                   
     their local  representatives, in opposition I  guess, to                                                                   
     what  some people  have said.   While  you yourself  and                                                                   
     all  the members of  the committee  are locally  elected                                                                   
     officials,  it's   our  understanding  in   the  federal                                                                   
     government's      eyes,     the     Federal      Highway                                                                   
     Administration's  eyes,  a  state legislator  is  not  a                                                                   
     local    representative.        They   are    a    state                                                                   
     representative,  though  they  may be  locally  elected.                                                                   
     That's our  understanding from  Federal Highways ...  as                                                                   
     I've said  in the past,  Federal Highways has  stated in                                                                   
     the  past, both  in writing  and in  testimony that  the                                                                   
     actions  suggested in  the  bill would  be  inconsistent                                                                   
     with federal regulations that govern MPOs.                                                                                 
     I  do have  the letter  that's  dated October  29   that                                                                   
     talks about  whether or not  legislators can serve  on a                                                                   
     policy committee.   And we have stated in the  past that                                                                   
     there's  absolute truth  that legislators  can do  that,                                                                   
     they've done  that in Hawaii for  quite some time.   The                                                                   
     question  is  how  do  they  get  on  there,  and  if  a                                                                   
     Legislature  unilaterally decides  that  they should  be                                                                   
     on there, that's  when you get the sticking  point.  And                                                                   
     the  April 5,   2001  letter from  the  director of  the                                                                   
     Office of  Metropolitan Planning  and Programs from  the                                                                   
     Federal Highways  says they have  been asked to  comment                                                                   
     on  similar legislation  in  other  states and  in  each                                                                   
     case  they  bring  the same  general  observation.    An                                                                   
     action  by  the  Legislature  without  the  consent  and                                                                   
     support  of  local  officials  and  the  governor  would                                                                   
     appear   to    be   inconsistent   with    the   federal                                                                   
     regulations.    And  it  would  then  indeed  be  a  re-                                                                   
     So  it's not  whether they  can  be on  there, it's  how                                                                   
     they  actually get on  there that  is the  key.  In  the                                                                   
     past  I  have -  in  the  CRA Committee  I  mentioned  a                                                                   
     meeting with  a conversation between [indisc.]  for Norm                                                                   
     Mineta  and  Mayor   Mark  Begich  -  where   the  [U.S.                                                                   
     Transportation]  Secretary  expressed  support  for  the                                                                   
     current  composition  of  AMATS.   Senator  Stevens  has                                                                   
     asked for  documentation of  that.   And we are  working                                                                   
     on  that.   As  soon as  we  have information  from  the                                                                   
     Secretary, we will forward that on.                                                                                        
     So  I  just  want  to  clear   up  the  part  about  the                                                                   
     municipal  Assembly.   The Anchorage  Assembly did  vote                                                                   
     on February  3rd to oppose  this particular bill  - they                                                                   
     did not see  the CS obviously because it just  came out.                                                                   
     And the  Anchorage Chamber of  Commerce, their  board of                                                                   
     directors   asked  the   State   and  Local   Government                                                                   
     Committee to  look at this  piece of legislation  and to                                                                   
     decide  whether or  not they should  pass it  on to  the                                                                   
     full board  for their support.   The vote was 6 to  4 at                                                                   
     that  State  and  Local  Government  Committee,  not  to                                                                   
     forward  it on to  the board of  directors for  support.                                                                   
     I guess the  executive committee or the board  - I'm not                                                                   
     sure exactly  how they're  made up -  but they asked  if                                                                   
     they  could look  at that  piece  of legislation  again.                                                                   
     The State  and Local Government  Committee formed  an ad                                                                   
     hoc  committee  to  deal  with   transportation  issues.                                                                   
     They  have not,  we have  not  met yet  to discuss  that                                                                   
     bill  or to  discuss any  transportation-related  issues                                                                   
     at  all.   So Senator  Stevens  is correct  in that  ...                                                                   
     that  it  was  just  the  State   and  Local  Government                                                                   
     In  conclusion,  it's  our  understanding  from  Federal                                                                   
     Highways,  and  we  haven't  seen  anything  to  suggest                                                                   
     otherwise,  that  re-designation,  which  is  what  this                                                                   
     bill would  do, in the  form we looked  at it, which  is                                                                   
     the original version  of SB 260, a re-designation  would                                                                   
     be  inconsistent  with  their  statutes,  their  federal                                                                   
     regulations, and  if a re-designation occurs,  then they                                                                   
     would  consider that  there was  not  a functioning  MPO                                                                   
     process  in Anchorage.   If  there's  not a  functioning                                                                   
     process,  then  federal  dollars  are in  jeopardy.    I                                                                   
     believe that it  might have been Senator  Therriault who                                                                   
     suggested that  if the local Assembly just agrees  to it                                                                   
     then the  non-agreement would not  be there.   They just                                                                   
     accepted  it.   I  guess  the  key is  that  what  we're                                                                   
     looking for  is local  control and I'm  sure we can  all                                                                   
     agree   that  your   local  control   ...  people   from                                                                   
     different sections  of the state may not be  the best to                                                                   
     decide  on  these prioritizations  of  federal  dollars,                                                                   
     but the local groups should be.                                                                                            
     The Federal Highways  have determined, as far  as we can                                                                   
     tell, that  a locally  elected and state  representative                                                                   
     or  state Senator  is not  a local  official, they're  a                                                                   
     state official  ... I  haven't had a  chance to look  at                                                                   
     the  CS and I  guess I  would request  that at the  very                                                                   
     least to  hold the bill  over until we  get a chance  to                                                                   
     take a  peek at it and see  if any of our  concerns have                                                                   
     been addressed.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR COWDERY asked Mr. Lyon if his position as AMATS                                                                        
Coordinator was an elected position.                                                                                            
MR. LYON responded that the mayor had appointed him.  He said he                                                                
was the division manager of a group of three transportation                                                                     
CO-CHAIR COWDERY asked if he lived in Anchorage.                                                                                
MR. LYON replied, "Born and raised here."                                                                                       
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if the  three transportation  planners were                                                              
MR. LYON  said he  believed they  were not  elected, but were  all                                                              
municipal workers.                                                                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS asked, "Appointed by the mayor?"                                                                                
MR.  LYON  replied,  "No they  aren't,  actually.    They've  been                                                              
there, collectively, for about 60 years."                                                                                       
SENATOR OLSON asked,  "Why can't a state official also  be a local                                                              
MR. LYON  replied, "As  far as  we've been  told, someone who  has                                                              
been elected  to a state body,  in the Federal Highway's  eyes, is                                                              
considered a state  official and not a local official."   A person                                                              
would  need  to serve  on  a local  council  or  be mayor  of  the                                                              
municipality to be considered a local official.                                                                                 
SENATOR  OLSON said  this seemed  to be  somewhat restrictive  and                                                              
asked, "Who  indeed does make this  edict that you can't  be both?                                                              
It is like  someone telling me that  I can't be a pilot  and a ...                                                              
reindeer herder at the same time."                                                                                              
MR. LYON said  that he understood this was Federal  Highway's view                                                              
and  suggested  that  testimony from  the  Federal  Highway  could                                                              
clear this up.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR OLSON ascertained  that there didn't seem to  be a problem                                                              
with  legislators   being  on  the   committee,  "but   your  main                                                              
objection is the way it's chosen, is that correct?"                                                                             
MR. LYON  said there were  two main disagreements.   One  was that                                                              
it's  true  that legislators  can  be  on  the board,  the  policy                                                              
committee of  an MPO.   The concern is  that adding 'x'  number of                                                              
legislators would  tilt the  balance so that  the majority  of the                                                              
board  would be  made of  state rather  than  of local  officials.                                                              
This would  take away from a  majority of the board  being locally                                                              
oriented, and  take away  control of planning  how to spend  local                                                              
dollars.  As  stated earlier, Hawaii's MPO has  state legislators;                                                              
however, Lance  Wilber, director of  traffic for the  Municipality                                                              
of Anchorage,  was asked to go to  Hawaii because it's MPO  was so                                                              
fraught  with problems.   It  may not  be the  best solution  when                                                              
there isn't a majority of local [officials.]                                                                                    
TAPE 04-3, SIDE B                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  COWDERY said,  "I  take offense  that  I'm  not a  local                                                              
official...but I think I am, anyway."                                                                                           
SENATOR  THERRIAULT remarked  that perhaps  criticism of  Hawaii's                                                              
system  was a  function of  the contentious  aspect  of trying  to                                                              
meet  the  general  public's  demands   for  traffic  and  highway                                                              
construction.   He said he's heard  criticism over the  years that                                                              
Anchorage has traffic  problems that don't seem to  get corrected,                                                              
that a lot of  money goes into street beautification,  trails, and                                                              
so  forth,  and  yet  "you can't  get  across  town  in  your  car                                                              
sometimes."   He questioned  the truth  of Hawaii's perception  of                                                              
Alaska's process  as being ideal.   He then asked if FHWA  has put                                                              
anything  in writing  indicating  that  the inclusion  of  elected                                                              
officials  would  cause  problems,  that it  "would,  in  fact  be                                                              
interpreted by them as causing difficulties."                                                                                   
MR. LYON replied  that he does not have a recent  letter from FHWA                                                              
and certainly  does not  have comment  on the  [proposed] CS,  but                                                              
has  a  letter  from  2001  that  applies   because  of  SB  260's                                                              
similarity to  SB 88 that previously  passed; the  letter comments                                                              
specifically  that  an  action  by  the  Legislature  without  the                                                              
consent  and support  of local  officials and  the governor  would                                                              
appear to  be inconsistent  with the intent  of [Title]  23 U.S.C.                                                              
[Section] 134.   Also, there is an earlier letter  indicating that                                                              
there  is  no  problem  with  having  legislators  on  MPOs.    He                                                              
responded  to  Senator  Therriault's  question,  stating  that  he                                                              
wasn't sure  why the process in  Hawaii wasn't working.   Mr. Lyon                                                              
mentioned  that at  the recent  CRA  hearing, Mr.  Tremain of  the                                                              
Anchorage  Assembly  commented  that  when  he was  on  AMATS,  an                                                              
attempt  was made  to  open  up the  process  to the  citizens  of                                                              
Anchorage  to improve  upon it.   Mr.  Lyon  said attempts  toward                                                              
improvement  continue,  and  alluded  to  the  MPO  process  as  a                                                              
"Byzantine, archaic, brutal process."                                                                                           
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Mr. Lyon  what basis of his  concern was                                                              
regarding  an elected  legislator from  within  the boundaries  of                                                              
the  municipality not  being as  sensitive  to the  wishes of  the                                                              
local  people   in  reference  to   building  and  improving   the                                                              
transportation infrastructure.                                                                                                  
MR.  LYON  responded  that  he  wasn't   necessarily  saying  that                                                              
legislators  wouldn't   be  sensitive   to  the  needs   of  their                                                              
constituents.    He  maintained  that   FHWA  was  differentiating                                                              
between  state  and  local  officials,  and  if  the  majority  of                                                              
members  were state  representatives,  the  balance  would not  be                                                              
leaning towards the  local officials "which is what  MPOs were set                                                              
up to be."                                                                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT  commented  that the letter  indicates that  if                                                              
the local  entity was  in agreement with  the change, there  would                                                              
not be  a problem.   He said he hadn't  yet heard a  justification                                                              
as to why  "you would not be  in agreement that a  locally elected                                                              
official  wouldn't  be  just  as  interested   in  satisfying  the                                                              
transportation wishes  of the community...."   He said  members of                                                              
[Anchorage's] Assembly  - unlike Fairbanks North Star  Borough's -                                                              
are  elected   from  districts,  elected   by  a  subset   of  the                                                              
community's  population.   Senators  and  Representatives  elected                                                              
from  Anchorage are  likewise elected  by  a subset  of the  local                                                              
constituency.    "Why  would  one  be  more  preferable  than  the                                                              
3:00 p.m.                                                                                                                       
MR.  LYON responded  this  was due  to the  Assembly's  indication                                                              
that there wouldn't  be agreement, which is part  of what's needed                                                              
to  change an  MPO.   The other  reason is  the Federal  Highway's                                                              
rule regarding state versus local officials.                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER   wondered  if   this  legislation  passed   and                                                              
legislators from  the House and  Senate were appointed,  would the                                                              
Assembly  not  approve of  those  additions  to the  MPO,  thereby                                                              
jeopardizing the receipt of federal transportation funds.                                                                       
MR.  LYON  said  that  this  particular  Assembly  indicated  non-                                                              
support by passing the resolution opposing SB 260.                                                                              
CO-CHAIR WAGONER said  this wasn't his question, and  re-stated by                                                              
asking if  the Assembly  would "cut off  their nose despite  their                                                              
MR.  LYON said  the only  information  he had  was the  Assembly's                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS said  he wanted members to understand  that during                                                              
previous  attempts at  passing this  legislation, prior  municipal                                                              
administrations  supported this bill  and this  concept.   He said                                                              
he didn't  believe that  any other Assembly  has passed  a similar                                                              
resolution,  adding   that  the  prior  municipal   administration                                                              
supported this  concept, which is why  it went through  so rapidly                                                              
in 2001.                                                                                                                        
SENATOR LINCOLN asked  Mr. Lyon if it was just  the administration                                                              
that was in opposition to this.                                                                                                 
MR. LYONS  said the Anchorage  Assembly had passed  resolutions in                                                              
the past,  opposing SB 88 [2001],  which was the previous  form of                                                              
SB  260.    He  said  he  believed  Senator  Stevens  was  correct                                                              
regarding  there being  support  by the  previous  administration,                                                              
but he didn't know about prior to that.                                                                                         
SENATOR   LINCOLN  said  she   wasn't  only   talking  about   the                                                              
administration,  as she had  heard that it  was also the  Assembly                                                              
that had  been supportive - but  she didn't recall exactly  - from                                                              
last year.  She asked if the intent was to move the bill.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR COWDERY said yes.                                                                                                      
SENATOR LINCOLN  continued  that that she  had further  questions,                                                              
noting that this was the last committee of referral.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR   COWDERY  said  he   would  like   to  first   introduce                                                              
amendments to the bill.                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR WAGONER moved to amend HB 260 [version Q] with the following                                                           
               Page 2, line 18, delete "shall" and insert                                                                       
               Page 2, line 20, delete "public agency" and                                                                      
               insert "private entity".                                                                                         
               Page 2, line 21, following "metropolitan                                                                         
               area" insert a period "." and delete the                                                                         
               remainder of the sentence.                                                                                       
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  he wasn't  sure what the  intent was  of                                                              
dropping "public agency" and inserting "private entity."                                                                        
SENATOR  STEVENS responded  that the  changes  recommended by  DOT                                                              
make it  consistent with federal  code and provide  for additional                                                              
members who  represent a  private industry  administering a  major                                                              
mode  of  transportation  within  a  metropolitan  planning  area.                                                              
This "what if"  situation is in compliance with federal  codes and                                                              
says  that  if  there  is  a  privately   managed  light  rail  or                                                              
transportation system,  the governor  could appoint a  member from                                                              
that  system  to   the  board.    Some  metropolitan   areas  have                                                              
privately  managed transit  systems  that are  used  on a  for-fee                                                              
basis  and  are part  of  the  MPO, contributing  to  the  transit                                                              
system within that MPO.                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR WAGONER  asked if  the Knik  Arm Bridge [Toll  Authority]                                                              
would qualify.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  STEVENS  confirmed  that it  would  qualify,  asking  for                                                              
verification from Mr. Otteson.                                                                                                  
MR. OTTESON  agreed, "That's  correct."  He  said there  are other                                                              
transportation  providers already  in Anchorage  such as the  Port                                                              
of Anchorage,  the airport, transit  authority, and  the railroad;                                                              
all  four are  subdivisions of  either state  or local  government                                                              
and  have representation  through  the  mayor and  the  governor's                                                              
appointees.   In the future,  if one of  these were privatized  or                                                              
if the  Knik Bridge Authority  took over a  mode of operation,  it                                                              
could ask for and be provided a seat on the board.                                                                              
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER  said,  "I  think  we're all  out  of  order  in                                                              
discussing this  ... I move to adopt the amendment."                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN objected.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  THERRIAULT questioned  language  referring  to an  agency                                                              
not being  a subordinate  of or  under the  direct authority  of a                                                              
state  or  municipal   agency,  and  asked,  "Are   we  precluding                                                              
somebody who is  currently participating or are we  just expanding                                                              
the language for what may happen?"                                                                                              
MR. OTTESON replied,  "It's the later circumstance."   A provision                                                              
is being created for  the future.  The railroad has  asked to be a                                                              
voting  member  of  the  MPO and  "the  folks  in  Anchorage  have                                                              
opposed  that  for  the same  reason  they're  opposing  the  bill                                                              
today;  it would  dilute  local control."    The  thought is  that                                                              
governor's  appointees  can  represent  the  railroad  -  a  state                                                              
entity -  and likewise  the Port of  Anchorage and/or  Anchorage's                                                              
transit authority  are under the  mayor's control, so  the mayor's                                                              
appointees can  represent those interests.   But a  private entity                                                              
does not  have that representation,  and [with this] it  could, in                                                              
the future, gain representation.                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked that  Mr. Lyon  stay on the  teleconference                                                              
line because  she had  not finished  with her previous  questions.                                                              
She reviewed  that with this amendment  there would be  four state                                                              
officials  and three  local  government  officials;  two would  be                                                              
appointed  by the  governor (one  from  the Senate,  one from  the                                                              
House,  designated  by  the  President  and  the  Speaker  of  the                                                              
House).   She asked  for clarification  of use  of the  permissive                                                              
word  "may"  and asked,  "What  if  the governor  chooses  not  to                                                              
appoint these  - b and c - you  then have one from the  Senate and                                                              
one from the House and two local?"                                                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS  said this was not  how he read it, but  maybe Mr.                                                              
Ottesen could explain further.                                                                                                  
MR. OTTESEN explained  that these were extra seats  in addition to                                                              
the seven  that are actually  named in statute.   According  to AS                                                              
19.20.210 paragraph  (a), the municipalities will  designate three                                                              
voting members.   In  addition, there will  be two voting  members                                                              
appointed by the  governor, and then two members  appointed by the                                                              
House and  Senate, making  seven.  Then  'b' refers to  additional                                                              
appointed members -  meaning eight or nine or whatever  the number                                                              
might be  - representing  a major mode  of transportation  that is                                                              
privately operated.  The last paragraph adds ex-officio members.                                                                
3:12 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked, "So  you've got  a seven-member board  for                                                              
sure, that's a 'shall'.   Then the governor decides  whether he or                                                              
she wants to make it a nine-member board.  Is that right?"                                                                      
MR. OTTESEN responded, "More than seven.  It could be eight."                                                                   
SENATOR  LINCOLN said,  "Mr. Lyon,  I  know your  concern is  that                                                              
there  be four  state  officials and  three  municipal members  to                                                              
this  board.   But  now you've  heard  the discussion  that  there                                                              
could  be  five  or  six  state  officials   and  three  municipal                                                              
governmental [officials].  Could you respond to that?"                                                                          
MR. LYON responded  that the same concern exists,  that of tilting                                                              
the  balance  away   from  local  officials  and   diluting  local                                                              
control,  while this pertains  to dollars  the federal  government                                                              
has set up to be in local hands.                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN  said  that  although she  was  speaking  to  the                                                              
amendment,  she still  had  questions regarding  the  body of  the                                                              
bill.  She maintained her objection.                                                                                            
A  roll-call  vote   was  taken.    Senators   Therriault,  Olson,                                                              
Wagoner,  and  Cowdery  voted  in favor  of  the  motion;  Senator                                                              
Lincoln voted against  it.  Therefore the amendment  [Amendment 1]                                                              
passed by a vote of 4 to 1.                                                                                                     
SENATOR LINCOLN returned  to [version Q] and directed  her comment                                                              
to Mr.  Lyon saying that she  wanted to understand  the Assembly's                                                              
concerns.  She stated  she would not vote for passage  of the bill                                                              
because of  the due process,  "I just got  the amended  version as                                                              
well,  and I know  you don't  have  it in hand.   And  I think  it                                                              
would  be prudent  for  us  to at  least  allow the  community  to                                                              
comment on it."   Senator Lincoln stated, "If you  feel so certain                                                              
that  the Transportation  Secretary would  support your  objection                                                              
to  these additional  state  officials,  I  mean, this  letter  or                                                              
resolution was  written or  passed February  3rd and knowing  that                                                              
it was going to  be heard in just two committees,  why haven't you                                                              
all pursued that aggressively?"                                                                                                 
MR. LYON  replied, "We  have pursued.   We have  a letter  that is                                                              
already  there, and  we're just  waiting  for an  answer from  the                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN  suggested that Mr. Lyon  had run out of  time and                                                              
requested,  "I would  like to  see  that letter  that you  wrote."                                                              
She pointed  out that  the committee  did not have  a copy  of the                                                              
resolution  or  the  justification,  and  asked  if  it  had  been                                                              
submitted to the CRA and TRA Committees.                                                                                        
MR. LYON said it  had been submitted to CRA but  he wasn't certain                                                              
if it was submitted to TRA.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR COWDERY said TRA did not receive it.                                                                                   
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked, "Why do you  think that regardless  of who                                                              
they appoint  from - and  I know it's been  asked in other  ways -                                                              
but, if  the designee from  the Senate and  the designee  from the                                                              
House - why would you think that they would do bad things?"                                                                     
MR. LYON  responded, "It's not that  we think that they'll  do bad                                                              
things.    It's  not  that  we  think  they're  not  going  to  be                                                              
responsive to  the public."   He reiterated that Federal  Highways                                                              
doesn't view state  officials as local officials;  the majority of                                                              
MPO members  are supposed to  be local officials,  otherwise "it's                                                              
against what the MPOs were set up for."                                                                                         
SENATOR LINCOLN said  she didn't have any documentation  to verify                                                              
what he was saying.                                                                                                             
MR. LYON said, "As  soon as I dig out the federal  regulations and                                                              
find that specific part, I will send it to you."                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN  suggested that it  be forwarded to  all committee                                                              
members, and thanked him.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  STEVENS said,  "I  think Senator  Lincoln  just made  the                                                              
point  for  me.     I  don't  believe  there  is   something  that                                                              
designates a balance,  by local officials."  He asked  Mr. Ottesen                                                              
for confirmation.                                                                                                               
MR. OTTESEN  responded, "Certainly  in the U.S.  code there  is no                                                              
mention [that] a  majority of the members should come  from one of                                                              
those  three  groups  that  I  talked  about  -  local  officials,                                                              
elected  officials  or  state officials,  or  other  providers  of                                                              
transportation  - it  just says  that  all three  of those  groups                                                              
should be represented.  The exact structure is wide open."                                                                      
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  moved  to  report  CSSB  260,  version  Q  as                                                              
amended,  with zero  fiscal notes  and individual  recommendations                                                              
out of committee.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  LINCOLN objected.   For the  record, she  said, "We  just                                                              
received  the  amended  version  that  the  community  that  we're                                                              
speaking  of  has not  had  an  opportunity  to see  that  amended                                                              
version,  and it  goes to  the Floor  next,  and I  think that  it                                                              
would be  prudent for us  to just allow  them the courtesy  to see                                                              
that version  before we  passed it  out.   It doesn't go  anywhere                                                              
after this.  It goes to the Floor."                                                                                             
A  roll-call  vote  was  taken.    Senators  Therriault,  Wagoner,                                                              
Cowdery voted in  favor of the motion; Senators Olson  and Lincoln                                                              
voted  against  it.   Therefore,  CSSB  260(TRA)  moved  from  the                                                              
Senate Transportation Standing Committee by a vote of 3 to 2.                                                                   
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
CO-CHAIR COWDERY adjourned the meeting at 3:20 p.m.                                                                             

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