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					                                                                                       Meeting Notes
Subject:    Transportation Stakeholders Group (TSG) Meeting #2


Client:     Dye Management Group
Project:    Alaska DOT&PF Statewide Long-Range                   Project No:   428607-50022
            Transportation Policy Plan Update

Meeting Date:   July 18, 2007                            Location:             Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex
                                                                               Wasilla, Alaska
Notes by:    Wendy Longtin (submitted July 24, 2007)

Attendees:
See sign-in sheets at the end of this document.

Notes:

This document presents the results of the second of three meetings of the Transportation Stakeholders Group
(TSG) for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) Statewide Long-Range
Transportation Policy Plan Update (Statewide LRTPP) held July 18, 2007, in Wasilla. A public open house
meeting followed the TSG meeting. With guidance from ADOT&PF, the consultant team from Dye
Management Group, Inc. and HDR Alaska, Inc., organized the meeting to gather TSG members’ input and
recommendations on:

   Priorities for Alaska’s long range transportation plan at current federal funding levels and in the event of
   additional funds.
   Strategic projects for transportation system development through 2030.

A PowerPoint presentation (http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/areaplans/lrtpp/documents/7-18-
07_TSGmeetingslides.pdf) guided the meeting. Some meeting comments refer to specific slides, which are
noted in parentheses.

Meeting called to order at 10:05 a.m.

10 a.m. Meeting Welcome – Jeff Ottesen, Director, Program Development, DOT&PF
Introductions & Objectives – Tom Brigham, HDR Alaska

Jeff Ottesen, Director of Program Development for the Alaska DOT&PF, welcomed the group and recapped
the situation the Department is facing – determining priorities among many new projects, maintenance
backlog, etc., and finding new funding sources because there’s not enough money to pay for it all under the
current conditions. Jeff stressed the point that the Alaska DOT has no internal ability to generate revenue, and
is wholly reliant on funds that come from either Congress or the state legislature. He noted that several other
major transportation entities in the state such as the International Airport System, Port of Anchorage, or
Alaska railroad, this is not the case.

Tom Brigham of HDR Alaska reviewed the agenda and explained that at the first TSG meeting, members
found out about the state’s transportation history, the current situation and trends. At this meeting, the TSG is
being asked for potential solutions.




HDR Alaska, Inc.                                        2525 C Street, Suite 305          Phone (907) 644-2000    Page 1 of 7
                                                        Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632      Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                                                          www.hdrinc.com
10:15 a.m. Alaska Statewide Long Range Plan Update Process Recap – David Rose, Dye Management
Group, Inc.

   Recap plan purpose and schedule

   TSG Meeting #1 Conclusions

David reviewed the project timeline and noted that the final plan is slated for the end of this year. He added
that the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Policy Plan Update needs to be in place in order to adopt the
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

10:45 a.m. Needs and Funding Analysis Updated Summary – David Rose, Dye Management Group,
Inc.

David shared updated research since the first TSG meeting in April:

   “Needs and Funding Analysis: Alaska-Specific Cost Escalation” (Slide 10) shows dramatic inflation for
   Alaska construction costs since 2002 (strong correlation to the low cost of oil). Jeff noted that, historically,
   Alaska used to tackle 8 to10 National Highway System (NHS) projects each year. Since the state has
   experienced such a dramatic increase in the cost of doing business, that number has dropped to 2 to 3
   projects each year. David also cautioned that the needs analysis cost updates presented are based on a
   conservative forecast.
   David confirmed with the State aviation group that the information, with some very minor adjustments, on
   “Needs and Funding Analysis: Airports Condition Data Update” (Slide 11) was correct. Keyur Shah of Dye
   Management Group clarified that the chart represents asphalt units (number of airports is on page 62 of first
   TSG presentation http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/areaplans/lrtpp/documents/4-20-07_TSGmeetingslides-
   revised.pdf). The slide shows that there is a large percentage of airport pavement that is below standard.
   Jeff explained that the Northern region suffers from more severe climatic differences and therefore has
   more airport pavement damage than Southeast. He also commented that the same problem is true for
   highway pavement in the Northern region. TSG member Walt Wrede from Homer asked about gravel and
   unpaved airport needs. This information was provided in the first TSG meeting and will be provided in the
   needs analysis.
   “Needs and Funding Analysis: Highway/Bridges Approach” (Slide 13) prompted discussion on service
   levels. TSG member Lance Wilber suggested that maintenance be expressed in level of service provided,
   not in dollar amounts. Jeff explained that while the level of service has been maintained, the system has
   grown substantially, but the reality is that dollars have been shifted from construction and life cycle
   management to preventative maintenance. For example, he said that DOT&PF used to do striping twice a
   year, now it’s just once. The system development and life cycle management categories suffer in order for
   the Department to keep up the routine maintenance service levels. Jeff also commented that the Alaska
   Marine Highway System (AMHS) and routine highway and aviation maintenance require the largest pieces
   of the DOT GF (general fund) budget.
   “Needs and Funding Analysis: AMHS Approach” (Slide 14). David clarified that the analysis is based on
   current levels of service. Analysis was done on the current situation (Can we keep doing what we’re doing
   now?).
   “Needs and Funding Analysis: Alaska Needs Annualized” (Slide 16). David clarified that these totals are
   over 20 years. TSG member Murray Walsh said that the “0” for AMHS fleet additions may be incorrect
   because he has heard that there are new vessels at $60 million to $70 million each that are being proposed.
   David said he would check into that and noted that vessel replacement needs are accounted for but the
   planning assumption is that there would be no net increase in the number of vessels. (Follow-up note from
   Keyur: Looking at the Southeast Alaska transportation plan, we found that two fast ferries – Auke Bay to
   Petersburg, and South Mitkof to Ketchikan -- are included in the STIP. The STIP has allotted $40 million
   each for these two projects.) Note from Eric Taylor, DOT&PF, 08/08/07: An earlier version of these


HDR Alaska, Inc.                                        2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 2 of 7
                                                        Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                                                       www.hdrinc.com
   notes erroneously indicated that two fast ferries shown in the Southeast Alaska Transportation
   Plan were funded in the STIP. The 2006-09 STIP does NOT include funding for two fast ferries.

11:30 a.m. Towards Plan Strategies – David Rose, Dye Management
(Proposed plan principles and strategies to bridge needs/funding gap)

   “Towards Plan Strategies: Guiding Principles” (Slide 23). David asked the group for some feedback to
   frame the long-range plan. TSG member Dick Schultz was concerned about basing the plan on current
   revenue sources when federal dollars are at risk. Lance mentioned the idea of developing the plan based on
   some financial constraint and forecasted revenue projection similar to a Metropolitan Planning
   Organization (MPO)’s long-range plan (though not federally required) would add some reality to the state’s
   ability to carry out its mission of building and maintaining the system. Lance suggested rephrasing the first
   bullet on the slide to read, “Be realistic about our revenue sources.” Jeff added that federal dollars are at
   risk because the state is more visible now after national attention concerning the two large bridge projects.
   He said that other states are taking notice that Alaska is a net positive recipient (for every $1 we contribute,
   we get back $5-$6) of federal transportation gas taxes and surface transportation program dollars and that
   their awareness weakens our position.

TSG member Norm Phillips asked for clarification about whether the plan was addressing growth or
maintaining Alaska’s current transportation assets. David said that the plan really is centered on developing
strategies to get to those goals, which could be growing or maintaining the system. Jeff added that when the
previous plan, Vision 2020, was developed, the revenue picture was very positive so the plan had very lofty
goals and there wasn’t concern about where the money was coming from, which is contrary to today’s
situation.

The group discussed how other states fund their transportation programs, such as tolls, which doesn’t seem to
be a solution for Alaska. Jeff said, because we are a state of geography not a state of population and we have
six times more NHS-type road miles per capita than the national average.

Norm said that from what he’s read, the Alaska DOT&PF is looking for ways to fund the gap and, because of
fiscal constraints, there can be no other goal than to just maintain what we’ve got. But, he said, we’ve got to
show the public that we’re thinking of alternatives (for example, river transportation), if we say we’re not
going to build any new roads. Lance agreed and cautioned against a one-vision approach.

Murray said the plan should address more roads to more places which can lead to economic expansion,
personal freedom, and cultural enrichment. But, he said, if we want those things, the state needs to find more
money. Jeff agreed and said that the DOT’s first duty is to build and maintain the system.

Lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.

1 p.m. Towards Plan Strategies (continued) –
Strategic system development priorities – Tom Brigham, HDR Alaska

Tom asked the group for their thoughts on priorities (Slides 28-29). Discussion focused on the road system
hierarchy: the National Highway System, the Alaska Highway System, and local roads. Most agreed that
funding the NHS roads is a priority for DOT because those roads function as connections to population
centers to move traffic, freight, etc.

TSG member Denise Michels asked to change the subheading on Slide 31 from, “not included are” to
something like “next on the priorities list are” so the AHS and local roads are still considered.

Discussion about aviation priorities (Slide 33) focused on getting the all state-owned airports up to the 3,300-
foot runway standard before enlarging any others. TSG member Paul Landis said that while the 3,300-foot

HDR Alaska, Inc.                                        2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 3 of 7
                                                        Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                                                       www.hdrinc.com
runway standard is a godsend for some of the communities, due to flight distances or freight types other
airports need to have longer runways than 3,300 feet and DOT needs to think of strategies to make that
possible.

2:30 p.m. Towards Plan Strategies (continued) and Increase Revenues – David Rose, Dye Management
Investment priorities

David presented three scenarios (one in-depth) for the group to consider (Slides 40-50). Leo suggested
rewording bullets on Slide 45 to “further reduce service levels” because “historically” the AMHS provided
better service.

3:30 – 4 p.m.
TSG Comment Period and Conference Call for Call-in Comments

During the transportation stakeholder group meeting there was an opportunity for the public to call in and
provide comments on the statewide plan to the project team and the TSG. There were eleven members from
the public who provided comments; eight participants utilized the teleconference service provided by the
DOT&PF. The comment period concluded at 4 p.m. Each participant was given approximately three minutes
to provide comments.

In general, comments supported the Alaska Marine Highway System, while others acknowledged the marine
system’s financial drain. Specific project comments focused on support for the Sitka to Katlian Bay, and the
Juneau Access Road. Comments relating to the Statewide LRTPP included removing mega-projects such as
the Knik Arm Crossing and Gravina from the statewide plan discussion and focusing on other projects, as
well as including a “Public Right-to-Know” element into the plan development, which would provide for
projects to have real dollars before moving forward on projects.

4 p.m. Wrap up and next steps

Lance asked that the plan document be very clear up front that its purpose is to recognize concerns/challenges
and implementation strategies. However, he said that based on today’s public comments, people are going to
look at this plan and expect to see a list of projects. We need to educate and inform people of the plan’s intent,
he added.

TSG members were invited to share their thoughts on proposed solutions, which are recorded below.

Proposed Solutions from Transportation Stakeholders Group:
  Forward fund the ferry system so that schedules can be developed in advance and allow the system to keep
  revenues that exceed the budget. This will provide a rationale for developing marketing initiatives and
  related improvements.
  Privatize AMHS. There’s a need for the ferry system but we can’t afford AMHS. Private sector could do it
  better.
  Create a state-funded highway construction program.
  Add Tribal (Indian Reservation Road funds) to state-federal partnership. This will expand project
  opportunities in rural Alaska.
  Local funding of transportation will be necessary. The state will not be able to maintain both state and local
  roads in the future. Some local governments will need to assume road powers in order to develop the local
  road system.
  Expanded state-local partnerships will help improve the system.
  Development revenues with roads – holistic road development with land use considered up front and
  private contributions to compensate for traffic impacts to the public system will be necessary.
  Artful project description – tactfully describe why we don’t have a list of projects in the plan, and how we
  came up with the short list of strategic projects.

HDR Alaska, Inc.                                        2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 4 of 7
                                                        Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                                                       www.hdrinc.com
   Focus on National Highway System as the state’s first priority. This will imply that communities will need
   to fund and construct more of their local roads. This will work in much of Alaska, but such a program will
   need to be developed with understanding of economic limitations in rural Alaska.
   Sell State bonds with the proceeds to go into a state rural road bank. Loans can be made to local
   governments to fund construction of transportation facilities, with the loans then repaid to the state at sub-
   market rates. Many communities are too small to independently issue bonds for road projects.
   Consolidation of the administration of rural transportation projects would save money on development,
   administration and construction.
   No more earmarks!
   Focus federal funds on National Highway System; state funds on the Alaska Highway System and on local
   roads.
   Toll roads for new projects should be considered where practicable.
   State vehicle registration fee/dedicated excise taxes are approaches that generate substantial revenue in
   other states. Alaska should consider implementing them and using the revenues to expand transportation
   programs.
   Initiate public-private partnerships to fund new construction.
   The State fuel tax should be increased. It has been a very long time and is overdue.
   Fuel taxes should be “functionally dedicated” to roads and transit to the extent possible under Alaska law.
   Traffic impact fees should be assessed on State and local roads.
   Fees should be charged for use of state rights-of-way by utilities. This may require changing the Alaska
   statutes.
   Local bonds should be sold with revenues funding local transportation projects
   Increase studded tire fee and use the revenues for transportation purposes.
   Increase transit support.
   State and Federal funding of transportation projects should be tied to local project contributions.
   The State should re-invigorate incentives and programs to reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles and to
   spur the use of their alternatives (carpool, bus, bike, etc.).
   Non-recurrent incident management should be implemented on busy, main routes in order to more quickly
   restore traffic flow.
   Corridor preservation and zoning should be implemented (so people wouldn’t have to drive as far to work,
   or go to the store, airports).

                              This concludes the meeting notes from July 18, 2007




HDR Alaska, Inc.                                        2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 5 of 7
                                                        Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                                                       www.hdrinc.com
HDR Alaska, Inc.   2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 6 of 7
                   Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                  www.hdrinc.com
HDR Alaska, Inc.   2525 C Street, Suite 305       Phone (907) 644-2000   Page 7 of 7
                   Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2632   Fax (907) 644-2022
                                                  www.hdrinc.com

				
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