Montana Transportation Commission by chenmeixiu


									                  Montana Transportation Commission

                               September 24, 2009 Meeting
                                    Helena, Montana

Nancy Espy, Transportation Commissioner, Chairman
D. Winterburn, Transportation Commissioner
Rick Griffith, Transportation Commissioner
Kevin Howlett – Transportation Commissioner
Barb Skelton - Transportation Commissioner
Jim Lynch, MDT Director
John Blacker, MDT Deputy Director
Lynn Zanto, Planning Administrator
Dwane Kailey, MDT Engineering
Mike Bousliman, MDT
Tim Reardon, MDT Legal
Lynn Zanto, MDT
Lori Ryan, MDT
Paul Johnson, MDT
Kevin McLaury, FHWA
Mike Duman, FHWA
Patricia Stabler
Jackie Mathews
Patty Mayne
Tony Berget
J.R. Iman
Spoke Stang, Motor Carriers of Montana
Hal Harper, Chief Policy Officer for Governor Schweitzer

Please note: the complete recorded minutes are available for review on the commission’s website at You may request a compact
disc (containing the audio files, agenda, and minutes) from the transportation secretary Lori Ryan at
(406) 444-7200 or Alternative accessible formats of this document will be provided
upon request. For additional information, please call (406) 444-7200. The TTY number is (406)
444-7696 or 1-800-335-7592.

OPENING – Commissioner Nancy Espy, Chairman

Commissioner Espy called the meeting to order. After the pledge of allegiance,
Commissioner Howlett offered the invocation.

Hwy 287 – Ennis

Director Lynch introduced Patty Mayne. This group is here from Ennis and they
want to talk about truck traffic on Hwy 287.

My name is Patty Mayne. I’ve lived in the Madison Valley for 21 years. I’m a
Montana resident, former retired High School Teacher and property owner. Jackie
Mathews, who is here with me, has lived in the Madison Valley for 30 years. She is a
year-round resident and owns Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone with her
husband. Patricia Stabler, who is also here, is a property owner and Madison Valley
resident for 30 years.

Thank you for allowing us to address the Commission on a subject of critical
importance to the Madison Valley – Hwy 87 Wells Pass area and US Hwy 287. We
are asking the Commission and the Governor to make a courageous decision based
on a recently passed Western Governor’s Association Resolution 0701 and
environmental studies that show the importance of the Madison Valley as a critical
wildlife corridor vulnerable to heavy traffic flow. We are asking that you preserve the
Madison Valley as a critical wildlife corridor and protect it from habitat fragmentation
Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                              September 24, 2009

caused by a heavy flow of commercial truck traffic which has been re-routed from
Hwy 191.

We are asking that you preserve this valley as an extension of our First National Park,
with all the protections and regulations significant to such an environmentally
sensitive area. You have the power to designate highways by system, allocate federal
funds, designate special speed zones, and designate access control of highways. All of
these powers may come into play in solving this problem.

Our resolution to support the preservation of the Madison Valley is as follows:

         WHEREAS the Western Governor’s Association unanimously approved Policy Resolution
         0701 entitled “Protecting Wildlife Migration Corridors and Crucial Wildlife Habitat in the
         West” which instructed the WGA to develop a process to identify key wildlife migration
         corridors and crucial wildlife habitats in the west and make recommendations on needed
         policy options and tools for preserving t hose landscapes. The initiative is based on the
         recognition that large intact and functioning ecosystems, healthy fish and wildlife
         populations, and abundant public access to natural landscapes define the west and that, in
         their own right, draw the people to that region.

         The Wildlife Corridors Initiative Report specifically cites the economic importance of
         hunting, fishing, and wildlife associated recreation to small rural communities throughout the
         west. In the contiguous western states more than 43.6 million people participated in
         hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching in 2006 and spent almost $33.6 billion. This revenue
         is dependent on significant reliable wildlife populations which in turn depend on quality
         habitat and corridor movement.

         WHEREAS the Transportation Working Group of the Western Governor’s Association
         Wildlife Corridor’s Initiative states that “roads and rails can be impediments that make it
         difficult for animals to meet their basic life needs, food , mates, and other resources,
         sometimes completely isolating wildlife populations which can reduce genetic diversity and
         threaten the population’s persistence. The Transportation Working Group also states that
         “vehicle collides with wildlife over a million times each year in the U.S. and the annual
         number of collisions has grown 50% in the last 14 years.” Road mortality is cited as a major
         threat to 21 federally listed Threatened and Endangered Species.

         WHEREAS the report Wildlife Conservation Assessment of the Madison Valley, Montana,
         compiled by the Wildlife Conservation Society in collaboration with the Craighead
         Environmental Research Institute, states that “the Madison Valley is arguably the most
         important wildlife corridor in the 18 million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem … The
         largest intact bioregion in the lower 48 states.” We will give you an Executive Summary of
         that report.

         WHEREAS subdivisions and roads emerge as the two important threats to wildlife corridors
         and wildlife mortality ranks 11th out of 20 vulnerable levels of species affected by human
         impacts, and according to the above report, high speed roads create movement barriers,
         fragment habitat, and create disturbance.

         WHEREAS the Madison Valley Pronghorn undergoes one of the longest animal migrations
         in the lower 48 states, especially along Reynolds Pass, where I live MT 87, and these roads
         combined with unfriendly wildlife fencing along those roads, will restrict the movements of
         these migrating Pronghorn and cause mortality. Pronghorn need to feel safe with minimum
         disturbances that impede their movements.

         WHEREAS aquatic species are disproportionately affected by pollution as runoff carries
         pollutants which accumulate in streams and US 287 runs perilously close to the blue ribbon
         Madison River. The Henry’s Lake Fishery is the last stronghold in the Henry’s Fork Basin
         for the imperiled Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and an ecologically irreplaceable Henry’s
         Lake Region, which is ID 87, two miles from MT 87, is the most critical to wildlife and
         migration corridors in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

         WHEREAS Big Horn Sheep are the most negatively affected within this study area and
         connectivity between isolated patches of habitat needs to be maintained to allow the Big
         Horn to naturally colonize, the stretch of MT 287 in the vicinity of Quake Lake is important
         Big Horn habitat where the impacts of high speed traffic and road salting is damaging to
         these species.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                                   September 24, 2009

         WHEREAS the Brown Toad mortality near Hebgen Lake by constructing under-the-road
         access to breeding habitat around the lake and warning motorists that traveling through that
         important habitat for sensitive species might also reduce mortality.

         WHEREAS migrating Elk use 287 south of Papoose Creek and MT 87 Reynolds Pass as an
         age-old natural 50-mile migrating highway in and out of Yellowstone National Park,
         navigating the spine of the Madison Range, entering the open expanse of the Madison
         Valley, fording the Madison River, and heading west to the lower flanks of the Gravelly
         Mountains where they spend the winter in the grasslands of the Wall Creek Wildlife
         Management Area. If these migration routes are disturbed, the whole corridor can fall apart.
         The resulting isolation of biological islands will cause restricted and weakened gene pools
         and a high rate of species extinctions.

         WHEREAS the Grizzly Bear has been reinstated on the Endangered Species List and
         according to the Craighead study, it is difficult to overestimate the potential role of the
         Madison Valley in securing the long-term future of Grizzly Bears in the Northern Rockies
         and vast areas of unoccupied habitat lie to the west of the Madison Valley with a narrow
         strip of high quality habitat through the valley providing the best potential linkage between
         these unoccupied areas and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This corridor extends
         south from Wolf Creek to Reynolds Pass with the highway connectivity value where
         Papoose Creek crosses Hwy 287. Effort should be made to maintain this area as the highest
         quality, most effective wildlife habitat corridor possible where the loss of a single Bear would
         significant diminish the Grizzly Bear recovery progress.

         WHEREAS the Wolverine is vulnerable to a number of threats, it is important to maintain
         connectivity between mountain ranges on either side of the Madison Valley especially the
         important linkage zone between Papoose Creek and Reynolds Pass.

         WHEREAS lower elevation habitats are critical to wintering ungulates, the support species
         not found elsewhere, they are often most impacted by human activities so harbor a
         disproportionate number of declining species. The Reynolds Pass area has lost 70% of its
         wildlife diversity potential with the greatest area around Hebgen Lake and between Papoose
         Creek and Reynolds Pass. This area contains a high diversity value because it is located
         where four mountain ranges, the Madison, Gravelly, Centennial, and Henry’s Lake, come
         together forming an interconnected mountainous and forest habitat that are interspersed
         with grasslands and sagebrush step in the Missouri Flats area MT 87.

         WHEREAS Norris Hill between Beartrap Canyon and North Meadow Creek, represents an
         important stepping stone to the Madison and Tobacco Route Mountains for a number of
         species, it should be preserved as an important habitat linkage.

         WHEREAS the Craighead Report states that “Wolf Creek to Reynolds Pass is arguably one
         of the most important wildlife linkage zones in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, this area
         provides secure passage for forest carnivores such as Wolverines, Grizzly Bear, and Lynx
         from the Madison Range on the east to the vast area of interconnected mountain ranges to
         the west. In addition narrowing of sagebrush and grassland habitats through this area
         creates a bottleneck for migrating Pronghorn making the area critical for continuing
         migrations of these species.

         WHEREAS in another wildlife report, which you will get a copy of, called “Wildlife Linkage
         and Highway Safety Assessment” by Elizabeth Williamson of the American Wild Lands Safe
         Park Passage Program in conjunction with MDT, shows that MT 87 and US 287 are shown
         to be critical linkage areas for native Montana focal species (those are species native to
         Montana except for deer) and report high levels of road kill. I-15 has no hotspots for these
         focal species. This report reported wildlife linkage and highway mortality issues.

         WHEREAS the Endangered Species Act, section 782, states that, “federal agencies shall
         ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the existence of a listed species or result
         in the destruction or adverse modification of a designated critical habitat.”

         WHEREAS the Federal Highway Administration mandates that federal money is dispersed
         to transportation agencies after they have consulted with environmental agencies such as
         these, to determine how projects can be wildlife friendly and thus safer for the public.
         Funds can also be used to mitigate impacts against natural habitat caused by passed highway

         WHEREAS out of 29 areas in the study of this report, two are high priority on US 287 and
         none are on I-15.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                                September 24, 2009

         WHEREAS I-15 is a safer corridor based on focal species road kill than 287, a compelling
         argument may be made for re-routing semis to the Interstates.

         WHEREAS almost half, 46% of the private lands in the Madison Valley, more than 187
         square miles is already under conservation easement, as well as 114,000 acres of Ted
         Turner’s Flying D Ranch to the north, this shows the concern and importance of wildlife to
         this area. It makes sense that the State of Montana should also acknowledge and protect this
         valley through approved road regulations that take into consideration the importance of
         wildlife connectivity as well as the one billion dollar tourist value of this area for fishing,
         hunting, and wildlife viewing.

         WHEREAS large semi trucks distract from the quiet enjoyment of this valley, create unsafe
         passage for wildlife day and night, create oil pollution on the roads that runs off into the
         Madison River, create hazardous HAZMAT conditions within close proximity to hospitals,
         retirement homes and schools, disturb and degrade the small town main streets and their
         tourism, create unsafe road conditions for slow-moving tourists pulling boats, horses, and
         motor homes, create unsafe conditions for school buses stopping on two-lane roads, and
         create unsafe conditions with wildlife interface.

         NOW THEREFORE we are asking the Transportation Commission and the Governor to
         make a courageous decision, to acknowledge the importance of the Madison Valley as a
         critical wildlife corridor for animals moving to and from our First National Park, and create
         a safe passage for these animals through re-routing of long-haul semi trucks out of the valley
         and onto roads safer and better suited for their travel. For the safety of the wildlife and the
         public semis should use 191, a National Highway System road built with federal funds as a
         truck route from Canada to Mexico as well as I-15. Since 191 is under construction and
         presently restricts long-haul semis and hazardous material trucks, an immediate decision
         should be made to divert these trucks to I-15. We also request the designation of the
         Madison Valley MT 87, MT 287 and US 287 as a critical wildlife corridor. As such we
         request special speed zones for all vehicles and semis using the sensitive habitat corridor
         area, no Jake brakes for semis, a sign designating these areas and regulations. Information
         signs regarding wildlife corridors would help travelers understand how import this area is to
         our Ecosystem and to be aware of animal crossings and reduce their speeds accordingly.

The Mission Statement of MDT states that, “sensitivity to the environment is to be
considered in our transportation system as well as safety.” MDT documents show
the Interstate to be safer for truck travel. We request funding for a permanent Weigh
Station at the Cameron Site to monitor these regulations. We are requesting seasonal
load restrictions and reduced speed limits on MT 87, Reynolds Pass, to prevent
pavement surface damage during the winter and spring. These restrictions are in
place on ID 87 which joins MT 87.

The United States Constitution allows its citizens to criticize unwise or oppressive
policies. We believe the decision to re-route all semi trucks through the Madison
Valley, without consideration of their impact on the valley and its wildlife, is an
unwise decision that must be rectified.

As I understand we have about 15 minutes or so if you would like to ask us any
questions about this report. There are many reasons why we feel this is not an
appropriate area for two-lane interstate truck traffic because all of our roads are two
lanes, safety issues, wildlife issues, quality of life issues, and just a multitude of others.
The packet we gave you gives some of those other issues. We are now focusing on
what we think is the most important – the wildlife corridor issue. Teddy Roosevelt
decided that we needed to preserve our land for our kids. He preserved the land and
we need to preserve the wildlife that uses the land. They do not know that the Park
is a square; it could have been made into a T-rectangle which would have
encompassed our area which is where all the animals go back and forth from
Yellowstone National Park. So it’s a very important area and something has to be
done about it and it needs to be done now before we loose some of these very critical
species. Thank you very much for your attention.

Commissioner Espy thanked them for coming. Commissioner Howlett thanked
them for very carefully articulating the issues. The issue of protecting wildlife is very
dear to me. As many of you know I live on the Flathead Reservation. I was a

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

member of the Tribal Governing Body when we negotiated with the federal agencies
and the state on the reconstruction of Hwy 93. That project would not have
happened had we not been sensitive to the wildlife. There were visions and dreams
of people before me and people behind me about the importance of wildlife. I had
the privilege of coming through the Yellowstone Valley this summer. It is also a place
that the Salish people use; there are areas in the Yellowstone Valley and the Madison
Valley that are sacred sites to our elders. We had another issue with truck traffic on
the Reservation related to Hwy 35 along Flathead Lake. There we weren’t posed with
as many issues as you’ve articulated today, but we never had as many options either;
we never had the Interstate as an option. So I’m going to very carefully read and
think about what you’ve presented. I know that in some way I have some
responsibility to speak for the animals. I’m also mindful of the economics of the area
and the need of the trucking industry, but somewhere we’re charged with some moral
obligations to protect and preserve for those that are coming behind us.
Commissioner Espy sincerely thanked them for coming and presenting the
information. We will be going through this. You made it very clear. We do
understand the problems and it is something that will take a great deal of thought and
concern not only by us but also the Governor.

Patricia Stabler said in the research I did to prepare for this, I discovered that when
you plan a new road you have to work with the Environmental Protection Agency
and you also have to consider wildlife. Of course these roads were built way before
we were concerned about wildlife or the environment. We are asking that when you
review this, think about what you would have done differently if you were planning
those roads today. What would you have done differently to this very critical wildlife
habitat corridor and take that into consideration. I understand there is a
Transportation Enhancement Fund by the federal government to go back and
improve roads for the environment – it didn’t say wildlife, it said environment and
cultural and historic reasons. There are federal funds to go back and make
alternations to roads that now impose things that were not considered long ago. I
would hope you would take that into consideration.

Patty Mayne said that was why we used the word “courageous”. I think this would
be a very courageous decision on your part and might be a precedent-setting decision
in the western states to decide that possibly the economics of an industry might be
less important than the wildlife in our First National Park. It’s a very large decision
but one that I think needs to be made by this entity and the Governor’s office
especially since the work has already been started. In the Governor’s Resolution they
use the words “re-routing truck traffic out of the area.” It’s not our idea, it’s already
been written out by the government that that might be an option. To make it an
option for the migrating animals for this season, it’s very simple to just ask the trucks
or require the trucks to go on I-15. Just make the signs that are already there that say
“urge the trucks to use I-15.” Drivers need to understand why and then something
with the economics needs to be worked out – perhaps a federal tax or gas credit for
the trucking industry. The differences are not that much as far as mileage is
concerned and there is an option of not using 287 and using I-15 and 191 when it’s
fixed. The Madison Valley should not be considered for heavy truck traffic at all.
Thank you I appreciate your time.

Commissioner Griffith asked at what point the trucks have the option to avoid 287.
Director Lynch said Idaho Falls. He said he gave a power point presentation to the
Community of Ennis that I thought would help bring perception and reality a little
closer together. There were concerns expressed here today that are of concern to the
Department of Transportation as far as wildlife connectivity. But to automatically
jump from wildlife connectivity and the effects on that to trucks is a reach. We also
have to consider cars. I think this Department has done a very good job in fact I’m
presenting an award from ASSHTO, US Forest Service, Corp of Engineers, Federal
Highway Administration, and US Fish Wildlife and Parks for this very same issue.
Commissioner Howlett spoke about the project on US 93 which addressed wildlife

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

connectivity. It is a position this Commission supported and a position the
Department supports – that we do need to rebuild and make changes to highways
and take into consideration wildlife connectivity corridors. We have established with
FHWA an Interim Agency Committee which addresses this and brings in the private
sector because in order to establish and protect a wildlife corridor that a roadway
runs through we need commitments from the counties so the future planning and
development of those areas also protect that corridor. If we use millions of taxpayer
dollars to establish a corridor for wildlife, we need to know that the corridor will be
protected beyond just the right-of-way of the State of Montana so that wildlife
connectivity continues. I know the Department of Transportation has always taken
that into consideration when we design roadways and we need to continue to do that.
We have a project up around Salmon Lake where we’re looking at a wildlife crossing
through a critical wildlife corridor. If we were to do any additional work on 287 it
would be our recommendation to look at wildlife connectivity on that particular
roadway as well. When we look at connectivity, we need to be looking at crossovers;
legitimate, self-sustaining, long-living crossover. To eliminate the impact with
wildlife, we not only have to eliminate trucks we have to eliminate cars. When you’re
looking at transportation corridors across the State of Montana and across this
country, cars and trucks play a very important role in our ecosystem as well. I think
we’ve got the science and the technology and the proven methods to mix the
automobile and wildlife if we use our heads when we design roadways in the future.
The idea of the straight and narrow road is gone; we are considerate of our
environment and what role that roadway plays in that. We are very fortunate in
Montana, we have a lot of wildlife and unfortunately a lot of impacts. Speed would
cause a tremendous change in all of that; if people would just drive slower but that is
a behavioral issue. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and I think the
Department of Transportation over the years has demonstrated that we’ve changed
from the straight and narrow method to a department that is responsible, not just to
wildlife, but also to the communities that our roads go through. CTEP projects are a
great opportunity. We are the only state in 50 states that turned CTEP over to the
counties to administer. It’s there decision to decide where to spend the dollars for
enhancement. These dollars could be spent for wildlife as well as the other items
Mrs. Mayne discussed. That’s a decision that needs to be taken up at the county
level. If they want to pursue it they can.

Patty Mayne said that the meeting in Ennis had over 200 people, many of whom
agreed with us on this issue and thought we had a problem. We did not get the
support from MDT saying this was a problem and we will help you with it. For that
reason we have worked our way up to where we are now and we are very appreciative
of being here. We are concerned with the Madison Valley not the whole State of
Montana. Our valley has to be the most important area we are talking about and we
have the facts to show that it is one of the most important areas. To have the long-
term visions of doing over passes and underpasses is great, but we don’t have the
time to do that. I know that it takes 15 years for a project to be suggested and finally
started; we don’t have 15 years for this. We just need a sign that says “trucks please
use I-15.” As far as trucks versus cars, we do not have the proof that shows that
trucks kill more wildlife than cars. We do have a person here who rides the road
every day, summer and winter, and then in the mornings sees an animal killed. That
can only be done at night; we don’t have very many cars going at night on our roads
because it’s very dark and dangerous, but the trucks are lit up like Christmas Trees,
24-hours a day and especially at night. With the big grates they have on their trucks,
they can hit an animal and keep going and never even mention they’ve hit it. There is
no insurance policy, no glass on the road, never any car parts on the road; just a dead
squished animal. So we believe that a lot of the trucks driving at night on the
highways, with one truck per minute its very hard for animals to cross and when they
finally try and cross, they just can’t make it. They don’t have the intelligence to figure
out they are not supposed to go in front of a truck. These trucks do not go 55-60
mph at night; we’ve clocked them at 75 mph, and passing cars at 75 mph. So speed is
a big issue with the trucking industry. We do not have enough enforcement in our

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                     September 24, 2009

valley. We were told by Director Lynch that our state is an “on your honor” state.
That might be true for Montana truckers but it’s not true for Canadian truckers or
Oklahoma truckers or Florida truckers that come through our area. This is a critical
situation and it’s not something that can wait for 15 years.

Jackie Mathews said none of them were talking about Montana truckers. The people
coming through our area are the long-haul truckers. Most of them come through
starting about 6 p.m. and running 24 hours per day. They come in groups of five to
eight. I have witnessed eight dead elk lying on the side of the road. I witnessed five
dead elk lying on the side of the road. I’ve never seen a vehicle parked along the side
of the road, I’ve never seen a car parked, I’ve never seen a skid mark but I’ve seen a
lot of dead animals. I have hit a deer with my truck and it caused $6,000 worth of
damage; my car didn’t go anywhere, there were skid marks, fluid on the pavement.
Most of our animal kills are happening at night when the elk and deer are trying to
move across the highways. I agree with Patty, the elk are coming into the valley now
and they will spend the next six months with us in the valley and they will be moving
back and forth from one side to the other and we need you’re help. This is an out-
of-control situation and that is why we’re here.

Commissioner Espy said they presented themselves very well but government does
move very slowly. It certainly has our attention and we will consider it.

Motor Carriers of Montana – “Spook” Stang, Executive Vice President.

As a person born and raised in Montana and has lived here 58 years, I understand the
people of Ennis. I remember going through the Ennis valley in the early 50’s and
there was nothing there but farm houses and a little bitty town of Ennis. So the
wildlife has not only been affected by the increased traffic but also the increased
number of people living there and the increased subdivisions. The roads they
described could describe any road in western Montana – Hwy 93, Hwy 200 from
Ravalli to the Idaho border, I-90, and Hwy 2. I think the Department has done a
very good job of mitigating wildlife circumstances particularly on Hwy 93. It was a
pilot project and one that many people laughed at – building a Grizzly Bear crossing,
but I believe the statistics show that what they’ve done on Hwy 93 works. I was
personally responsible for getting the flashing lights on Hwy 200 around Thompson
Falls when the Big Horn population was getting wiped out by cars and trucks six and
seven at a time. So it’s not that I’m not sensitive to this issue, but I think we need to
address this in our Transportation Plan when we rebuild these roads. I know it’s
going to take time.

I can tell you that re-routing trucks or forcing trucks to take I-15 would be an
economic hardship on the industry. While Mrs. Mayne and the group from Ennis
talk about the fact that it’s only a few miles farther and I’ve read their material that
says it’s less time if you take the Interstate. If I Google my route for my car, it is less
at 65 mph but you have to remember when you’re in a truck on I-15 you have four
mountain passes to go through and you’re not doing 65 mph going over those
mountain passes. At Homesteak Pass you’re lucky if you’re going 25 mph up the
Pass and 25 mph down the Pass. Those are thing I know the Commission will take
into consideration. I know you have a lot of other important matters and I
appreciate the time. The Department knows how to get a hold of me if you have any
questions. Thank you.

Commissioner Espy thanked everyone for the information and noted it would take
awhile to resolve. Thank you.

Elected Officials

Commissioner Tony Berget – Lincoln County, Hwy 2 Swamp Creek

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Madam Chair and members of the Board thank you again. I brought you some
pictures because that is so much better than words. I’m here to talk about Hwy 2
Swamp Creek again. To review, last time I brought some car accident information; listed Hwy 2 from Kalispell to Idaho as the second most
dangerous road in the nation. I just want to keep you informed and keep this going.
I have some pictures of four bridges on Hwy 2 Swamp Creek on this eight mile
section. We are asking to get four miles done and put the other four miles out for
another six years; just so we can see a little bit get done. He shared pictures with the

This picture shows this beam split and pulled apart. I’m learning a lot about bridges
doing this. Scouring – that’s where the creek coming through takes the dirt out. I
believe you chip sealed Hwy 2 Swamp Creek this year and this picture shows a crack
after you chipped sealed. Am I saying this bridge is going to cave in tomorrow or
something, but it tells you that time is not on our side. Last time we mentioned that
the utilities weren’t moved but there has been a fair amount of work taking place in

This is a little bit of reading material. I don’t have the exact numbers of what’s been
spent – since 1986 to 2004 $2.2 million has been spent looking at, redrafting, and
redoing Hwy 2 Swamp Creek. From 2004 to 2009 the number is closer to $3.7

To understand the frustration of the people of Lincoln County here an article that
appeared in the paper, “Friday November 14, 2003, at a meeting the State
Transportation Commission postponed the project until 2009. Funding that would
have allowed approximately $20 million job will instead be used on US 93. Every
project got bumped out a little bit and Swamp Creek got bumped out. Since at least
the 1980’s, once the right-of-way hurdle was cleared, the Department had hoped to
begin work on the project in 2004, bumping the project start date back to 2005…
What’s hurts on Swamp Creek is the road is tired.” This is what we were given for
information at the end of 2003.

Of course to highlight Friday September 1, 2006, “the much delayed project in the
works since 1985 has been an embarrassment to the Department. If I delay it Lord
knows what I’m going to run into.” Ok, we waited our turn and US 93 comes along
… and you keep saying we’re moving up the list when, and correct me if I’m wrong
but just out of Arlee you put in a passing lane in the 80’s and now you’ve redone that
whole section. It’s hard to believe that we’re moving up the list when we’re seeing
section of roadways redone since then.

Director Lynch said we’ve heard this and I appreciate the concerns the
Commissioner has. We don’t wait turns on projects. MDT has established an Asset
Management System to take care of the highway system statewide. You commented
several times that “we waited our turn” and I’m concerned that’s the perception.
There is no such thing as waiting your turn. We have an Asset Management System
that drives the resources we have to maintain a transportation system level-of-service
statewide. That is what drives the projects. I understand the concerns in Lincoln
County. This speaks to what we’ve been able to do over the last five years in
changing our mindset to maintaining the system that we’ve got. We received several
letters that said, “we’ve waited long enough” and MDT responded to every one of
those postcards and explained how we fund highways. We also told them that we
won’t wait until we have $70-80 million dollars to fix this roadway and address some
of the safety concerns. I’ve asked the Engineering Department to come up with
some safety designs and safety considerations and possibly bridge replacements that
could be built prior to the time when we have the money available to reconstruct the
whole roadway. That’s not just in Swamp Creek but this is the direction the
Department is taking all over the state. We can’t separate the safety and the
consideration of the maintenance of the highway and remove it from our operation

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

just because we have a project in the future. We have a lot of roads that we need to
study every two years and look at the needs of the highway system across the state of
Montana. If we met all our needs we would need to spend one billion dollars a year.
We are very fortunate that we receive a half billion dollars per year. Your expertise
and due diligence on projects have allowed the Department of Transportation to
make wise investments on roadways where we can maintain a level-of-service on our
transportation system. We’re not going to hit everybody’s needs and it’s never a
“wait your turn” scenario; it is where we can best spend the resources we have to
maintain the transportation system. In addition we need to recognize that safety
concerns are important and they are not the same. I think we can demonstrate that
and take care of some safety improvements well in advance of a huge reconstruct

Lincoln County Commissioner said that’s what I was told when we were here in 2003
and we were told a similar thing the last time we were here. I can understand it and
this section has been put off as far as maintenance thinking that the project would
happen. I also want to portray our frustration in what we’ve heard and what we’ve
seen in the newspaper articles and what’s been spent and then to hear that we’re
moving ahead on a Bypass in Kalispell. I don’t disagree that the Bypass needs to be
done, I don’t disagree that US 93 has to be done, but it makes you feel like a second
class citizen when you’re told you are working on this one and we’re going to get
there when in reality the latest design … and there was a design in 2009 that may cost
$60 million; that just seems unreasonable. None of the contractors I showed it to felt
it would cost that much. I’m not saying you have to do the whole thing; it would feel
nice just to get four miles done. It seems incomprehensible to me that since 1986
we’ve been throwing money at studying this and we don’t have a design. The letter
said by 2009 we’d have a design and now I hear we’ll have a design in 2010. At what
point can we hold this Board and individuals in this Department to their word that
we’ll have a design in 2010. Right now we thought we’d back off a little bit because
there are some TARP funds available. I’m just trying to portray the frustration of the
people. The people of Lincoln County are in disbelief that it’s beyond 2013 and
we’ve heard rumors of 2020. It’s just a frustrating thing. I’ve got a whole book of all
the things that have been said, pictures, designs, numbers and anything I can to
portray just how important it is to us. I appreciate your time today. It’s hard for me
to imagine that it will cost $70-80 million for four miles of road; I just can’t believe
that. Thank you.

Commissioner Espy thanked him for his persistence. We understand your frustration
and I’m certain every person on this Board has roads we’re waiting for because we’ve
just never had enough money to do what we would like to do. We agree the prices
are outrageous. We appreciate you coming and determination to have Swamp Creek
improved even a little bit at a time.

Commissioner J.R. Iman, Ravalli County

I want to thank you very much for help with our speed limit situation; it’s worked out
particularly well. We’ve got the speed limit signs, the lights changed, we haven’t
changed the pockets yet but that’s the third part of the fix at that location. I would
like to ask you to consider the following either in the design or the execution of these
kinds of projects. If you recall the letters we wrote to you regarding this intersection
in 1990 when you first considered this piece of road, there were 17 Engineers who
signed off that said that intersection was designed for 45 mph, yet when the
intersection was built it took a year and a half to get the 45 mph speed limit posted.
If you would have followed your own Engineer’s recommendation from the start, we
may not have one dead person from that highway intersection within the first year.
This is a matter of process; why can’t we just sign it at 45 mph when you start out.
Your process now is you run traffic counts for a year to see if that’s the speed people
go. Maybe the process should be that we go back to what was specified in the first

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                 September 24, 2009

All of our Engineers said this was going to be a 45 mph intersection. MDT designed
it in 1990 for 45 mph. It just seems to me that when you’ve had that information for
15 years; that would be a good place to start instead of starting of highway speeds and
try to bring it back down. That’s just for your consideration. Again thank you for
helping us out after the fact. We started out the first year with one dead person
before we went through the process. I live within a quarter mile of that intersection.
We went back through all your records and found those letters when the request was
brought to you in Miles City.

We’ve got one more intersection In Victor as Hwy 93 gets completed from Missoula
to Hamilton. Victor will have a stop light. Victor has a 45 mph speed limit through
town now. I don’t know what your specs say it’s going to be, but my offer to you is
that in Lolo, Florence, Stevensville, and Victor, and going into Hamilton, everyone
one of those intersections is 45 mph. Those people coming up and down that road
expect that; let’s give them what they want. Let’s make it consistent that when you
enter a major intersection and on that highway it is about every seven or eight miles
where bridges cross the river. We have this one major intersection left in Victor and
it’s the last one we’ll have on this project. We appreciate what you’ve gotten done;
we’re getting there. Thank you and we appreciate your time and your help.

Director Lynch said I can’t speak to 1990 but I think the public is beginning to
understand and appreciate that since 2005 this Commission has taken action on
lowering more speed limits in the State of Montana more than all the years prior to
that when the speed limit was enacted. This Commission has done a very good job in
stepping up. In fact when this Department in doing Engineering Studies which is a
requirement of state statute to lower a speed limit, have presented those
recommendations to the Commission and sometimes their recommendation is higher
than what the community wants. The community has come in and presented their
request and information and their commitment to add enforcement, and this
Commission has not always taken the Department’s engineering information as a
recommendation, they’ve taken the communities. This Commission has done a very
responsible job in looking at highway speeds across the state and making the changes
where they need to be changed. I have dual role as the Governor’s Representative
for Highway Safety and I take that very seriously as well and I can assure that you
that the Department, when we see a situation, will do safety changes and make
recommendations to this Commission to do so.

Missoula County Speed Limit Request

Commissioner Howlett said there was a speed limit request today in Missoula
County. Without question there are a lot of people commuting from Lolo to
Missoula for work. He asked Mr. Iman if Ravalli County coordinated with Missoula
County on those kinds of issues. Commissioner Iman said the fiscal situation, for a
little background, our county has $81 million in taxable value and our population is
about 34,000, Missoula County outside of town has about the same number of
residents and over $250 million in taxable value. So you can see the strength
business-wise. Missoula is the hub of five valleys and I guarantee you they take full
advantage of it. They collect the money and dole it out – as long as you come to their
house to do business. I know you’ve seen the studies, that corridor from Lolo into
Missoula is either the highest or second highest traveled road in the State of Montana.
It is 70 mph and averages about 72-73 mph between 6:45 and 9:00 a.m. and between
3:30 and 6:00 p.m. You get in and you go. For the amount of traffic it is surprising
how few accidents there are. Commissioner Howlett said the request was from Lolo
to Meadow Creek; they are requesting 65 mph. I have no doubt a large amount of
that traffic in the morning is coming out of Ravalli County. Commissioner Iman said
absolutely. Ravalli County is looking at van pools and we have at least 250 people in
line to get onto those van pools. They are trying to revitalize the rail system but
that’s a pipe dream; it’s unrealistic. I agree with Missoula County in this particular

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                 September 24, 2009

situation; a reduction to 65 mph would be advantageous. The road is in good shape
but there are a fair number of curves and jersey barriers all the way down the center
of all of them and down both sides. When they straighten up people are just
jockeying to get in line for the next one. Specifically at the Blue Mountain section
there is a half mile straight stretch before you get to the light going north toward
Missoula. The Highway Patrol concentrates on that stretch of the road but they tend
to leave it alone during rush hour because there is no place to pull somebody over.
Missoula actually instituted a one-year spot zoning to prevent a short term gravel pit
from going in. There’s no room to expand, no room to take out corners, you’re
between the river, the railroad track and the hillside. They’ve done the best they can
to limit access and they took out the weigh station. Missoula denied a new crossing
on the river at Blue Mountain through a lot of citizen input. It’s a difficult area and
definitely the bottleneck on the south end of Missoula County.

Approval of Minutes

Commissioner Espy presented the minutes from the Regular Commission Meetings
of April 29th, May 28th, and August 6th and Conference Calls of July 28th, August 11th,
and September 8th. There were no additions, deletions, or changes made to the

Commissioner Griffith moved to adopt the minutes as presented. Commissioner
Skelton seconded the motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimously.

Agenda Item 1: Safety Improvements & Erosion Control
               Camp 9 Road

Lynn Zanto said MDT is requesting Commission approval of a 2.5 mile long project
east of Babb. This is to improve the geometrics and grade of the curves from the top
of the hill to the St. Mary’s bridge. It also includes stabilizing the road bank and
installing guardrail. This would be funded through a SAFTELU earmark that was
received for this project. A couple of projects have been done in the range of $4-5
million. This project is estimated at about $1.8 million. There are adequate funds
remaining in the earmark to build this road. MDT recommends the Commission
approve the addition of this project.

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the Camp 9 Road Improvements.
Commissioner Skelton seconded the motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimously.

Agenda Item No. 2: Replacing and Improving Railroad Crossing
                   Surfaces – District 4, RR Xing-D4-District wide.

Lynn Zanto said this agenda item is replacing and improving railroad crossing
surfaces in District 4. MDT requests the Commission approval to replace four
rubberized crossing surfaces in the Glendive District. These will be replaced with
concrete crossing surfaces. Burlington Northern will install the new crossing surfaces
and MDT will Let the contract to backfill and pave the adjacent roadway. This will
be funded from our Surface Transportation Program Primary Funds. The total
estimated cost is around $270,000. MDT recommends the Commission approve the
addition of this project to the program.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                September 24, 2009

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the District 4 RR Xing-D4 District wide.
Commissioner Griffith seconded the motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimously.

Agenda Item No. 3: Major Rehabilitation – I-94
                   Colstrip Interchange – West.

Lynn Zanto said this is a major rehabilitation project on I-94 called the Colstrip
Interchange West. This would be a project to grade, gravel, and resurface the
eastbound and westbound lanes of a 3.3 mile section of I-94. It is located just west
of the point where MT 39 meets I-94. Settlement has caused numerous stips in the
surface. The funding source for this project is District 4’s Interstate Maintenance
Funds. The total cost of the program is about $10.8 million. Staff recommends the
Commission approve the addition of this project to the program.

Commissioner Skelton moved to approve the Major Rehabilitation – I-94 Colstrip
Interchange – West. Commissioner Griffith seconded the Motion. All
Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 4: Program Request – Tatro Street, Miles City

Lynn Zanto said this is a request to add Tatro Street in Miles City to the program as
Miles City and Custer County’s next urban priority. As you recall when we were in
Miles City last month the Commission did a field review and collected background
information on this. The total cost is estimated at about $2 million. Their current
urban funding balance should be adequate. They are also looking at some
Enhancement Funds and Urban Routes to Schools. MDT recommends that you add
this project to the program as Miles City and Custer County’s next urban priority.

Commissioner Howlett asked Lynn about the using Urban Routes to Schools, does
that give them a priority for the distribution of those funds. Lynn Zanto said within
the Urban Funding Program there is the ability to borrow; there is a Commission
policy that allows them to borrow five years ahead. If they borrow five years worth
of funds, that would be about one million dollars. If you look at 2012 they would
have about $1.4 million but if they borrow ahead they would have about $2.4 million.
Commissioner Howlett said he wanted to make sure we are not setting up some
artificial priority system. Lynn Zanto said they would have to apply and compete
amongst all the other applicants for Safe Routes to School. Commissioner Espy
asked how the borrowed money was repaid. Lynn Zanto said it is more of an
accounting mechanism. Urban Funds are a sub-allocation from our larger Surface
Transportation Program. We are not spending each dollar we get each year, so it is
more of a scheduling of it.

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the Miles City Urban Funding Priority,
Tatro Street. Commissioner Skelton seconded the motion. All Commissioners voted

The motion passed unanimously.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                 September 24, 2009

Agenda Item 5: Transportation Research Board Award
               2009 Interagency Partnership Award

Presentation of Award - Director Lynch asked the Commission to join him in
making a presentation to the MDT staff. This is an inter-agency partnership award
that MDT received from the American Association of State Highway Transportation
Officials (AASHTO), the Forest Service, Army Corp of Engineers, Federal
Highways, and US Fish Wildlife and Parks, and the West Virginia Department of
Highways. It’s a tremendous honor. I believe, through the guidance of this
Commission over the years and the direction that both our Planning, Environmental,
and Engineering Departments, understanding that highways are no longer a stretch of
pavement that move cars, that they are actually connectivity pieces of infrastructure
that affect a lot of things. You can still accomplish moving trucks and cars effectively
and do it in away that causes the least amount of impact on the environment as
possible and do it efficiently and affordably. We’ve been able to demonstrate that
and the Inter-agency Partnership recognizes some of the practices that MDT has
given. I would like the opportunity to stand up with you and present this award.

I would like to present to you a plaque that was presented to the Department of
Transportation for Outstanding Inter-agency Partner for the Libby North Corridor
Planning Study for looking beyond the transportation footprint in designing
highways. This is being presented to the Department of Transportation employees
that were responsible for this award. This booklet shows some of the innovative
practices that other states are doing as well as Montana. Nancy, I would like to have
you join me in recognizing these employees for their work. Often times the
Department of Transportation receives awards but we receive them because of the
dedication of the employees who work here and the time and consideration they give
to the Department of Transportation. When we receive an award, over 2,000 people
also receive that award. We want to give special recognition to the people involved in
the Libby North Corridor Planning Study – Pat Basting, Shane Stack, Tom Kim, Jean
Riley, Lynn Zanto and Dwane Kailey. This is a tremendous work you’ve done and it
really demonstrates that we are a DOT for tomorrow. I know the Commissioners are
out in the communities a lot and the communities appreciate the direction MDT is
going in designing the roadways. On behalf of the Department of Transportation I
want to thank you for your work. It was mentioned that Federal Highways, US Fish
and Wildlife Service, and the Lincoln County Commissioners were also part of the

Director Lynch said when he first came to MDT someone told him that MDT was
like a big aircraft carrier and it’s pretty hard to steer. I informed him I appreciated
that analogy but I have a little bit of experience with the people who run those ships
and a good US Navy can turn an aircraft carrier around on a dime. I believe we can
make changes when they need to be made. Lynn Zanto is steering one of those
carriers to help keep the Department of Transportation going in the right direction
and I want to recognize her. Commissioner Espy said the Commission appreciated
so very much what state employees have done and are doing day and night. Thank
you very much. Commissioner Espy said that so many things the State of Montana
has done, we have been first. The longevity of the employees is another reason we
are as strong as we are and have developed the things we have. Every once in awhile
we need to let the Press know who they are. When we do something good like the
Beartooth; we got great publicity on the Beartooth and people were excited about
what we did.

Agenda Item 6: Speed Limit Recommendation: Secondary 386

Dwane Kailey presented a speed study recommendation for Secondary 386. It was
discovered, with the help of the District, that we have a discrepancy – we have a 50

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                September 24, 2009

mph posted speed limit that statutorily should actually be 70 mph. We initiated a
speed study and it is our recommendation to leave the speed at 50 mph. It is in
compliance with what the traffic is doing out there and the local government has
concurred with that recommendation. Therefore it is our recommendation to have a
50 mph speed limit beginning at the intersection of US 87 and continuing east about
1.2 miles, then 40 mph speed limit at mile post 1.1 continuing east approximately 900
feet, and a 30 mph speed zone at mile post 1.3 continuing 1,100 feet. This is
supported by the local government.

Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the Speed Limit Recommendation as
presented for Secondary 386. Commissioner Winterburn seconded the Motion. All
Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 7: Speed Limit Recommendation: MT 78 -
               Red Lodge Northwest

Dwane Kailey presented a speed study request for MT 78 in Red Lodge. The City of
Red Lodge requested a speed study on MT 78 approximately five miles outside of
town. We have reviewed the traveling speeds and the accident history. It is the
Department’s recommendation to extend the 45 mph speed limit beginning 300 feet
north of the intersection with Lower Continental Drive continuing south for …
(inaudible ) … feet. It has been presented to the local officials and they do concur
with that recommendation.

Commissioner Skelton moved to approve the Speed Limit Recommendation as
presented for MT 78 – Red Lodge Northwest. Commissioner Griffith seconded the
Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 8: Speed Limit Recommendation:
               Secondary 239 - Hobson

Dwane Kailey presented a speed study recommendation for Secondary 239 in the
Town of Hobson. In building the project and completing it, the Department
discovered that we have a posted speed limit that has not been officially approved by
the Commission. Therefore we conducted a speed study and looked at the accident
history and we are presenting a recommendation for an approved speed limit study
for not only the speed limit through the area but also including transition zones on
each end.

Beginning at the intersection of US 87 we would propose a 35 mph speed limit
continuing a distance of 1,700 feet, then go to a 25 mph speed limit for
approximately 2,400 feet, then transition back up to a 35 mph speed limit for 900 feet
and then we would go to a 45 mph speed limit for approximately 1,000 feet. We
have presented this to the local officials and they concur with that speed limit.
Commissioner Griffith asked about the enforcement issues with the speed up and
down. To me it is confusing. Why wouldn’t we just do 35 mph for that length?
Dwane Kailey said if you watch people drive they actually transition through that as
well, so as far as enforcement and the behavior of the traffic it tends to lend itself
more with the behavior of the driving public. As you get into more of a congested
urbanized area, people tend to slow down as they approach that. So the transitions
actually help them slow down and drive more appropriately for the upcoming ceiling
of 25 mph. Commissioner Howlett said the written word looks bad but the actual

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

map of it is explanatory. Commissioner Winterburn said she has a daughter who
lives in this town. You’re actually coming through open country here and then you
come into a very small town that has a little tiny Main Street that is split with trees in
the middle. Then you go back out into ranchland and on a ranch road, and then you
hit this major thoroughfare. So you have four blocks of town that is very, very small;
that is why they are asking for 25 mph right through town and then you’re back on
the ranch road again. If you drive it, you would understand that. Director Lynch said
he had the same concerns until he saw the map. The reason you have the 35 mph is
because you hit a junction. Normally there would be a 45 mph and then go back up
to the speed.

Commissioner Skelton moved to approve the Speed Limit Recommendation as
presented for Secondary 239 - Hobson. Commissioner Griffith seconded the
Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 9: Speed Limit Recommendation:
               US 93 – Lolo to Miller Creek Road

Dwane Kailey presented a speed study recommendation for US 93 Lolo to Miller
Creek. This was talked about a little earlier. We were requested to look at the speeds
between Missoula and Lolo, Montana. In reviewing the accident history as well as
the speeds through that area, MDT is recommending a 65 mph speed limit beginning
just north of the town of Lolo continuing 5.8 miles up to approximately the Miller
Creek Area and then a 45 mph speed limit for 6,000 feet. This has been presented to
both the Missoula County Commissioners as well as the City of Missoula and they do
concur with this recommendation.

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the Speed Limit Recommendation as
presented for US 93 – Lolo to Miller Creek Road. Commissioner Griffith seconded
the Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.


Agenda Item 10: Interim Speed Limit Recommendation:
                MT 72 – Curve North of Belfry

Dwane Kailey presented an Interim Speed Limit being proposed by the Department
on MT 72 from the curve north of Belfry. As many of you are aware, we’ve had two
recent accidents one of them very tragic. The Department, in attempting to be pro-
active and address this issue, is not only working for a speed reduction but we’ve also
done some engineering work down there including curve signing, striping, and
pavement markings on the roadway. In the interim we also believe that a 55 mph
speed limit for this curve is appropriate until this curve is reconstructed. Therefore
we are recommending a 55 mph speed limit sign at mile post 14.5 continuing to mile
post 15.1. Director Lynch said it was his understanding this road was already posted
at an advisory speed, we’re asking to change that to the real speed.

Director Lynch said this movement is being discussed widely amongst DOTs across
the county and getting into variable speeds for roadways where speed limits do
change frequently so it is isn’t just one constant speed. Instead of going to advisory
speeds, they area actually going to speeds tied into a sensor device to determine what
the weather conditions are and also for congestion abatement. You might go three or
four miles up the roadway to a community that is reaching maximum traffic flows.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

So to help them move traffic through the community, they slow traffic coming into
the community. We have some areas in our state that might lend itself to testing this.
You’re going to see a lot of change in the way we vary speed.

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the Interim Speed Limit Recommendation
as presented for MT 72 – Curve North of Belfry. Commissioner Skelton seconded
the Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 11: Letting Lists, as amended
               (See additional Commission Motion)

Dwane Kailey presented the Proposed Letting list. It is this Department’s
recommendation to approve the Proposed Letting List. Late yesterday we received
information that the permits for the Kalispell Bypass on the October 24, 2009,
Letting List have been delayed. Kalispell Airport Road and Foys Lake Road to US 2
are delayed at this point in time. So we will be moving those two projects to the
November 5th Letting. Director Lynch said we are waiting for two things: (l) the
final piece of right-of-way and that is just a matter of working through the details, and
(2) getting the Army Corp of Engineer’s permit. The regulatory agencies were out
there yesterday and I feel very confident that they are going to give the process due
diligence. It is one those projects where were want a bid date so we can take
advantage of it, but if it doesn’t happen we just move it to the next Bid Letting.
Right now the indication is that we should be able to have everything so that we can
advertise this project in time for a Bid Letting on November 5th.

Commissioner Howlett moved to approve the Letting List as amended.
Commissioner Griffith seconded the Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 12: 2010 Letting Dates

Dwane Kailey presented the 2010 Letting Dates. For your information you will note
there are two Lettings per month with the exception of November and December.
Because of the holidays we typically propose only one Letting in those two months.
However, if we have a need, we will institute an additional Letting if necessary.

Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the 2010 Letting Dates. Commissioner
Winterburn seconded the Motion. All Commissioners voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 13: Certificates of Completion
                June & July, 2009

Dwane Kailey presented the Certificates of Completion for June and July 2009. The
Department recommends approval of the Certificates of Completion.

Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the June and July Certificates of
Completion. Commissioner Winterburn seconded the Motion. All Commissioners
voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                               September 24, 2009

Agenda Item 14: Project Change Orders
                June & July, 2009

Dwane Kailey presented the Project Change Orders for June and July 2009. The
Department recommends approval of the Project Change Orders.

Commissioner Howlett said the Department did us a favor by redoing the sidewalks
on a very prominent street and we’ve had nothing but good comments on the work.
Everything went perfectly for having such a rushed project and I appreciate the help
the Department gave us on that project. Director Lynch said in fairness the
sidewalks were brought to our attention and we already had a project down there and
it did not make good sense to make the improvements to the sidewalks that were
there. In fact it would have been more detrimental to the finished product. So it was
a wise decision to put in new sidewalks.

Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the Project Change Orders for June and
July, 2009. Commissioner Winterburn seconded the Motion. All Commissioners
voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Agenda Item 15: Liquidated Damages
                Morgan – Oswood Construction Co

Dwane Kailey said we had a 10:00 scheduled Liquidated Damages. I don’t know if
you were notified or not but Morgan-Oswood contacted us yesterday and said they
would not be showing up. They are actually accepting the Liquidated Damages as
presented in here. It is the Department’s recommendation to assess Morgan-
Oswood 11 days. As you look through the item you’ll see that originally they had 16
days. In working with them it is the Department’s recommendation to grant them
five days and still assess 11 days for a total of $29,095.

Liquidated Damages stand.

Commission Discussion

Director Lynch brought the Commission up to date on what the Department is
doing. You heard part of it today from the group from Ennis. I actually went down
to Ennis and participated in a town hall meeting and tried to bring perception to
reality very similar to what we did on Hwy 35 in the Big Fork area. There are some
things the Department can do down there. There are some misperceptions out there
– some people said they saw a sign in Idaho telling trucks to take 287. I did some
outreach to the State of Idaho and they assured me there was never a sign down there
that said that but they were willing to put a sign up advising to motorists in Idaho
that 191 was closed and “advise using I-15.” We put some signs on I-90 that said 191
was closed and trucks were being diverted to 287 or I-15. We can’t require them to
take I-15 because 287 is a roadway that trucks can drive on. Giving them that
advisement was a responsible request from the Ennis community and we did that.

They asked if we could put a permanent scale on that roadway. I advised them that
we had two decision packages before the last Legislature to add MCA officers that
would allow us to set a system up in the State of Montana where trucks entering or
leaving the state of Montana would at least hit one scale. That decision package was
turned down by the Legislature. We also had a decision package to restructure Motor
Carrier Services to add additional officers and that was turned down as well. I

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

explained that I can’t justify a Weigh Station on that particular roadway, however, we
do have road and scale operations and we have done several on that roadway.

We explained that 287 is a very safe road. Compared to I-15 and 191 and the overall
Primary System of the state, its safety record is far better than the other highways.
The Highway Patrol was also present at the meeting and the community requested
more Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol explained there are areas in the State that
need our attention where a lot of accidents happen and to pull a Highway Patrol car
out of that area to come down to a roadway that is performing very well, from a
safety standpoint, wouldn’t be fair to those using the roadway. They have limited

We were down there doing a survey for three days, 24-hours a day, and pulled over
every single truck to get an idea of where the trucks were coming from. Seventy-one
percent of the trucks traveling on that roadway had origins or destinations in
Montana. Some of that 71% were Montana truck companies that were hauling loads
through Montana, but they were a Montana-connected truck. Very few of the trucks
surveyed were from 191. Out of 1,500 trucks there were 53 trucks using the road
because 191 was closed. With the change of the signs in Idaho advising them to use
I-15, that number will probably be reduced.

We explained to the community there is a considerable difference in economics and
time for trucks to take 287 versus going over to I-15 – about 25 minutes of time and
several gallons of fuel if your destination is eastbound. If your destination is
westbound, it may not be. There were a lot of people at the meeting because there
was a rumor that MDT was creating a bypass around Ennis at Cameron. My
assumption is that a lot of the people were there for that reason. People who drive
cars do not want to be behind a truck. The trucking industry has been very safe on
that roadway. Since then we’ve had special enforcement units placed on that road.
We have issued situations. We’ve had log book violations, speed violations, weight
violations but percentage-wise no more than what we would find any other place we
go. That tells us we need those patrols. At this point we can’t see anything that
would warrant restricting trucks. Moving trucks to 191 versus 287 is counter-
productive to the argument. The accident history is much greater on 191, the
roadway is much closer to a blue ribbon stream, and the truck traffic pattern is much
different. Truckers are driving that roadway for a couple of reasons: (1) economics,
and (2) it’s safer and there is lots of visibility.

Commissioner Griffith said the people who have bigger loads or too much weight,
take that roadway to avoid the scales. That is an issue and until the Legislature
accepts that as a responsibility, that’s not going to change. Commissioner Griffith
asked if they found the road was traveled more by local trucks. Director Lynch said
71% of the trucks surveyed either had a destination in Montana or their origin was in
Montana, which means they could have been a through state truck but were a
Montana company. Most of them were actually destined for Montana. Twenty-five
percent of all the trucks out of 1,500 were not going stopping in Montana, but some
percentage of the 25% were Montana owned trucks. Commissioner Griffith said part
of the difference on 93 and what needs to happen in Ennis is there isn’t the same
consensus of local concern. The guy who makes good sausage likes the trucks
stopping there. There is not quite the consensus that you find on 93 about not killing
the deer versus truck speeds. Director Lynch said my read of the meeting was that
those who were there were probably 60% for the idea of restricting trucks, 40% not.
However, I think some of the people were there because of the idea of a bypass.
That meeting was the first time I’d ever heard of a bypass. Commissioner Griffith
said Patty Mayne had done a lot of work on the corridor but a bypass doesn’t fix the
rest of the corridor, it just fixes Ennis’ issue. Director Lynch said you can’t
differentiate cars and trucks in the studies that Mrs. Mayne referenced. It’s
transportation, both cars and trucks. It’s not just trucks. I tried to explain that at the

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

meeting in Ennis. The cars far outweigh the frequency of the trucks; it’s not even
close to half or even 10% of the average daily traffic count.

Commissioner Howlett said it is difficult to restrict truck traffic and I’m not an
advocate of that but I am an advocate of looking at those sensitive corridors.
Signage, perhaps speed adjustments, and some things like that at least demonstrate
our willingness to consider the things that are important enough for them to bring
forward. It is important enough for me to say that I want that considered. I don’t
know about the truck traffic versus the car traffic but there probably is a lot more
trucks on our highways. We reduced the speed limit in the Swan because of animal
collisions so we’re not setting a precedent here. I would like the Department to think
about what could be done to give these people some assurance that their concerns
are important. We don’t want to do anything that will restrict the economy of the
area, times are tough enough on people, but if there are things that can be done to
mitigate some of the impact to wildlife, I would like to see us give it some careful
thought. Director Lynch said he thought it was appropriate to look at speed. We’ve
done that on the Swan and we’re gathering information to see if there is a reduction
in animal kills. As someone who drives Montana highways a lot at night, I can tell
you it’s pretty hard to hit a deer driving less than 55 mph if you’re paying attention.
Anything over that, you’re chances of hitting it are increased. Trucks are even worse
because they can’t avoid them. I’m anxious to see the results of the Swan. We got
good positive feedback from lowering the speed in the Swan. I was quite surprised
but most of the people who live in the area drive 55 mph anyway but there are a lot
of people who drive through the area who don’t understand wildlife. The
Department gave the reasons on the big flashing signs as to why the speed limit was
55 mph and that really got people to slow down. I would like to put those signs back
out there to remind the public to slow down because of wildlife. It was very
effective. If it means less animals are killed, then that will be our recommendation to
this Commission.

Moving traffic to Hwy 191 is not a good move. If you were going to close any
highway to trucks, that would be the highway you would close, not 287. John Blacker
said there is a portion of 191 that is in the Park that is closed to hazardous material,
so that eliminates a lot of the truck traffic.

Recovery Projects

Director Lynch said there were some concerns about placing recovery signs on
projects. We were very fortunate to received $211 million worth of grants. You
approved 69 projects and we were requested to sign those projects and we did.
We’ve had some criticism as to whether that’s wise. I talked to several newspapers
and explained that the Department of Transportation’s position has always been to
sign our projects “your tax dollars at work – federal dollars and state dollars” and the
community has always been appreciative of that. They like to know where their tax
dollars are spent. Our position was that through the grant process, if we’re going to
believe in transparency to the taxpayer, what better way to tell the taxpayer how their
tax dollars are being spent. I don’t know what will happen at the national level. I
know there was an attempt in Congress to limit the states from signing the projects as
recovery projects but that was defeated. Commissioner Espy said they should send a
letter to Washington because the people want to know where the money is being
spent. Director Lynch said Congressman Denny Rehberg wrote a letter to Congress.
We in Montana see it as transparency to let the community know where their dollars
are going. If the sign wasn’t there how would they know where the dollars are being
spent? Out of $120,000 work of work that has been awarded, we paid for 106 signs
totaling $185,000.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

ARRA Funds Update - Revenue and Transportation Meeting

This is very similar to what I presented to you in Miles City. I gave a review to the
Revenue Transportation Committee which is a Legislative Interim Committee. We
gave an overview of where we are in delivery, and recovery impact. This leads into
what we’ll discuss next. We went over the bill to bring them up to speed. Our big
concern is the $211 of recovery money. Commissioner Howlett asked about the
TIGER funds. Director Lynch said they have a year from now to distribute the
funds. We submitted every project in our program that could meet the requirements.
The communities also submitted grants. If the project was in their TIP and was
something the community wanted and was a transportation need, then we issued a
letter of recommendation.

Out of the 69 projects we have 61 that have been advertised for bid and 56 of them
have been awarded. That money is available to the construction industry as of today
to be working on. At the time we awarded, we also told the contractors they could
proceed but that’s optional for the contractor. We have our customary proceed time
period which is the date they have to start and that’s the date where liquidated
damages begin to count. Out of the 56 that have been awarded, they need to be
working on 49 and if not liquidated damages are happening. That represents about
$15 million. Currently we have $18 million in bills that have been given to the
Department for reimbursement.

The Billings District is doing very well in getting projects out. On Dewey Boulevard
we have an issue with the landowner. The city does not want to condemn the
landowner for a portion of this but they do want to continue forward on the safety
portion of the project which involves the same landowner with the same issue. They
are wiling to push on that issue but not the whole project. So we’ll have to see what
else we can do there.

Great Falls District is doing very well. Almost all of their projects are out. They had
projects ready to go and a lot of them are completed. That’s a lot of work in a short

The Glendive District is also doing very well in getting their projects out. None of
them are complete yet but they did very well in getting them out.

Missoula District and Butte District both have projects out there. Billings has Shiloh
Road which is on the schedule as well as Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue and
Laurel, so they are moving along pretty quick too. There are two Kalispell jobs –
Lone Pine which won’t bid until the end of this year and the Kalispell Bypass. A lot
of our city enhancement projects have not gone to bid yet. We have to pay real close
attention to those because of the timeframes.

This is a breakup of the work to show we could have done a lot of things to get
projects out earlier – we could have concentrated on just bridges or nothing but chip
seals and seal coats. Instead this Commission chose to take projects within our
system and take advantage of this influx of money to improve the transportation
system overall. So it represents a cross-section of work the majority of it being
construction work.

ARRA Fund s Update – Rural Transit Projects

I wanted to show them that we could track what our investment does on our highway
system based on where we put those investments. Basically we demonstrated that if
we did not receive recovery dollars and continued to spend what we think we’ll get in
federal funding on an annual basis, 10 years out we were starting to see a downward
trend in our pavement performance. On the Interstate system we saw an increase, a
turn upward, primarily due to the $211 million we received. It really helped us. So

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

this compliments what this Commission has done in picking the projects that really
affect our transportation system statewide.

We showed where the money has gone in transit. This is what transit providers had
in 2005 and this is what we’ve grown to (referring to graphic). We currently have 33
and there are four more that will be on line by the end of the year. There is a new
one called the Res Runner out of the Northern Cheyenne and may make runs daily to
Billings and back. We have some groups of inter-county transit providers popping
up. It has been encouraging to watch transit transform. Prior to 2005 it was very
individualistic and now it is evolving into a transit system that is taking advantage of
what other areas have comingling their resources and providing more transit
opportunities to more passengers than just their little area. Out of $15 million, $4
million was given directly to Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula. The remaining $11
million we distributed to every transit provider if they requested funds. It involved
facilities and vehicles so we were able to make a pretty good investment in rural
transit opportunities in the state. There were some comments from the Legislature –
one wanted to know why we didn’t use engineers. I explained that the whole idea
was to move projects. We were more interested in providing distribution statewide.
A lot of these projects have private engineers on them. Out of 69 projects, 61 were
bid. We’re very proud of what the department has done to get these projects out.

High and Wide Loads

We’ve gotten more clarity on this. There are three independent organizations that
want to move very wide, very high, very heavy loads through the state of Montana.
One of the companies is Exxon Imperial Oil. They have Oil Refinery equipment
that is needed in the oil sands north of Alberta. This equipment is being
manufactured in Korea, put on a ship, loaded onto a barge in Vancouver, shipped up
to Lewistown, Idaho, unloaded and put on trucks and then trucked from Lewistown,
Idaho, over US 12 Lolo Pass down into US 93 through Missoula, up over to Bonner,
over Rogers Pass into Augusta, Choteau, up through Valier and works its way to the
oil fields. We’ve heard its more than 200 loads. Another outfit is Conoco Phillips
and they have just four moves. It’s the same situation and same location; however,
they are tanks that will go into the Refinery in Billings. They have four separate very
wide, very high loads from Lolo to Billings. Then there is a company in Billings
called Very Y&V who is trying to get a contract with the oil companies that are
developing these oil sand fields in Canada to make equipment for them. Primarily
they are interested in making pipe racks. These are also very wide – 24 feet wide and
24 feet tall and very long and in some cases very heavy. They want to get permits to
move 200 plus loads from Billings to the Port of Sweet Grass.

So we have three different actions going on – there was a lot of concern and turmoil.
There was one question from a Senator asking if Idaho is giving these permits so why
isn’t Montana doing it, i.e., Montana is not friendly to business. I assured him that
wasn’t the case. We have MEPA which is the law of Montana and any action taken
by the Department needs to have an environmental review and that drives what
environmental action is needed. We are working with all three of these providers to
do just that.

Commissioner Skelton asked how much revenue that would bring to Montana.
Director Lynch said it brings very little for truck permits. The only manufacturing
that will take place in Montana is the Very Y&V. Commissioner Griffith asked why
they didn’t take it into a port in Canada. Director Lynch said there are some tunnels
in British Columbia they can’t get across but it’s my impression that British Columbia
has said no. I’ve also asked if they considered bringing it in through the St. Lawrence
River and they said it’s not doable. We don’t know what’s driving this.
Commissioner Winterburn said we have the wear and tear on our roads with no
revenue. Director Lynch said there would be no revenue to Montana other than the
permit revenue which is very minor. They have to get a 32-day permit and they need

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

to do an environmental review. We’ve already established the roadway so really the
human factor of the environmental document is going to be the inconvenience.
Time of night can take care of that. Can you imagine bringing this load through the
City of Missoula at noon? At 3 a.m. might be do-able. This is something they have
to address. One County Commissioner had an area of concern about the weight but
the weight per square inch is really no different than any other semi driving up the
roadway, you still have 250 metric tons over 200 feet. If you’re driving over a section
of roadway that isn’t very stable, that’s something that needs to be considered. We
don’t give a conditional permit; we can permit these loads under the law but they still
need to abide by all the laws associated with it. It will take some involvement from
the communities. Commissioner Griffith asked why not keep then on the interstate.
Director Lynch said there are too many overpasses on the interstate they can’t get

Commissioner Espy said they have a lot of them coming down Hwy 59 both
directions. They had one in violation and had to get a big crane from Billings to
move that load. They fined them $10,000 and they were stopped over one week.
The people who come ahead of those big loads to clear the highway are very rude –
they stop traffic for miles back. The road is narrow with deep canyons and it scares
people to death. It is a dangerous situation but you have to move the equipment but
from Broadus to the Wyoming border it is the only place safe enough to move them.
Director Lynch said we used to move 5 to 10 big loads per year but now we’re up to
over 1,000. It has brought some attention to how we operate the 32-Js. They are
going to put together a traffic control plan. We’ve advised them we have a state law
that says they can not hold up traffic longer than 10 minutes so they will have to
demonstrate to us that they can use pilot cars or pullouts so the traffic can move.

Will they have to do any road improvements? Director Lynch said no other than
maybe lengthening some pullouts. The utility relocations are a programmatic
process. They need to address the human element – the impact to the traffic and the
communities they are going through. They will have to visit with the communities
and come up with a plan on how they will do that. All three companies are willing to
do that. In fairness to them they’ve been more than willing to consider time of night,
parking, leaving the rig until the right time of day. In order to get permitted they
have to submit how much weight they are carrying, how many axels they have
underneath, we review it and it goes to the bridge department to make sure it can
pass through our bridges. We have not seen a lot of violations.

High Death Toll Areas

Commissioner Griffith said the I-90/I-15 corridor has the highest death toll in the
state. I know we’ve got a safety plan statewide but there may be some short-term
interim fixes for this. The intersection at I-15/I-90 where we flop the trailers over all
the time needs a deceleration lane with rumble strips. That would fix that problem.
We get a couple of deaths each year and that seems like it would be a quick fix and
there may be some others that would work. Director Lynch said they could look at
some special lighting. Commissioner Griffith said there should be a concerted effort
because it’s had the highest death toll for five years in a row. Director Lynch said
Butte is one of the high crash corridor areas. Commissioner Griffith said almost
every time I drive that roadway there has been a truck tipped over and a death
associated with that accident.

Commissioner Espy said even with the advertisements regarding seat belts you still
see people driving without seatbelts. Director Lynch said it is a cultural change so it’s
slow. Last year we reduced fatalities 47 from the year before. So far this year we are
at five fewer than last year. We’ve seen major improvements in motorcycle fatalities
which is helping our numbers. That’s an effort MDT has been pushing for the last
five years. It’s a cultural change and we’re seeing a little bit of a change in the
younger population in both alcohol and seatbelts. We still have a very high

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                      September 24, 2009

unbuckled fatality rate. The majority of Montanans buckle; over 80% wear seatbelts,
the problem is they don’t wear them all the time. With fatalities it is either alcohol or
seatbelts. If we could just convince everybody to wear seatbelts we would save over
100 people per year. Our Car Carrier Van has been a tremendous success. We had
over 60,000 people come to our demonstrations at the county fairs. We will be at the
cross-town game in Kalispell this Friday. We want to keep this message in front of
this age group – 16 to 30 years old.

Commissioner Winterburn said she watched a program on teenager’s texting while
driving. They called it “intexticated” because it is an addiction. They are trying to
put a device in cars that will turn the phone off when you turn on the ignition. The
teenagers are very resistant to it. It will also signal the parent if they turn that feature
off. There are several states making it illegal to text while driving. Director Lynch
said every Legislative session has had bills to do that but it hasn’t come close to
passing. Director Lynch said we still need to work the educational side. Everybody
makes decision based on their experience, the younger they are the more they make
decisions based on their own experiences. We need to find a way to communicate
someone else’s experience in a way that it becomes their experience. Commissioner
Winterburn said this was about a girl who had two near fatal accidents and she went
right back out and did it again. Director Lynch said the United Kingdom has done
some very graphic ads regarding texting accidents.

P3 – Paul Johnson, MDT

This is the time of year we always get together and talk about what our funding
situation looks like. We will look at some performance that we’re expecting for the
next 10 years. This is our annual P3 Analysis. This particular year we are going to be
allocating to 2014. To go over our agenda, we are going to look at some recent
development and we have some good news. We will talk about the status of the
Federal Aid Program, we will talk about reauthorization, give you a quick update on
the Rest Area Program, we’ll go through budgetary issues, systems performance and
our funding recommendations.

Recent Developments. There has been a lot of talk about ARRA. The good news is that
we received $211 million in ARRA funds that were shovel-ready highway
construction projects. The money was divided between districts. The good news is
that they were good quality projects that helped our Management System. In
addition we saw lower bid prices so there were more dollars available in federal fiscal
year 2009 than we anticipated. So we are able to move forward some additional
construction projects. Again these were good quality projects that we already had in
the system. So the net result is that MDT gave roughly a year’s worth of projects due
to increased funding (ARRA) and lower bid prices.

Performance. You’ve seen this graph before – this shows the increase in performance
that we saw. In the short term we will see a bubble that we might not ever see again.
With the performance bubble from before we are also getting a bubble that we’ll see
the effects from in the next couple of years as these projects get out on the pavement.
Last year we were discussing a long-term shortage as far as funding goes, but this
bubble of dollars has helped cure a lot of those issues. As you can see regarding our
Interstate system we are in the superior to very desirable category and ARRA helped
keep us there.

The NHS System. Without ARRA dollars we had a pretty dramatic drop-off in the
previous years. Again those ARRA dollars helped out. The one that is very striking
is we ended up with some very good primary system candidates – very good increase
in performance with regard to primary systems. Overall these projects did what we
wanted them to do in regard to pavement conditions.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

Uncertainty. We have high level of uncertainty heading into federal fiscal year 2010.
There is no resolution in regard to reauthorization. There is no clear direction or
timetable for delivery. The Highway Trust Fund fix remains illusive; we just don’t
know. There is likely to be a decision on program extension before the end of
September. We’re looking at an extension of 6-18 months. Lynn Zanto said today
there was an Appropriations Conference Committee meeting to extend funding for
the legislative branch and the leaders made the decision to also extend all of
government funding. It is only a one-month extension but it sounds promising that
would include both the appropriation and authorization for one month. Director
Lynch said that would be for the appropriation side of things. Oberstar’s Committee
suspended the rules, didn’t take any amendments, and the House passed funding for
three-months. That is just the House and now the Senate has to do the same thing.
It looks like we might get one month quickly, however, that doesn’t do it for us –
three months doesn’t really do it for us, but it’s a good start. Paul Johnson said it
looks like any way you slice it, we do have a little bit of uncertainty with regarding to
how we are going to get it done. We still have to continue on and assume we will get
funding. That’s where we are at with our P3 and TCP assumptions. Our current
strategy is to assume that we will get a continuation of federal funds and that it’s
going to be similar to SAFETLU. We are not changing of the funding assumptions.
Beyond 2010 we are going to assume an annual growth rate of about 3% which is
below the historical average. We are going to assume inflation at 3.2% which is
slightly above the historical average. So the net result is a relatively flat program
beyond federal fiscal 2010. Essentially we’re saying we are holding the course until
we find out differently.

Rest Areas. At last year’s P3 presentation we discussed rest area issues and we
typically update you once a year. We had a very positive start to our Asset
Management approach for rest areas. We delivered two of our high priority rest areas
in part due to ARRA dollars … (inaudible) … that depends on how the bids come in.
We do have some rehabilitation projects on deck. Our primary focus is our aging
facilities. We have some other concerns with waste water and our overall goal is to
extend the useful life of the existing facilities. As last year, we want to see noticeable
improvement in rest areas in the next five years. We are on track if not a little bit
ahead. We will come back and give you a more in-depth rest area presentation.
Basically we are doing a good job and we are ahead of schedule.

 Budgetary Assumptions. We talked about this in general and I’m just going to hit the
high points. With regard to the growth we are looking at 3%, obligation reduction is
around 10%, and as usual 70% of the program will go to IN&P, ICAP 17.48%. We
did reduce PE and right-of-way costs down to 18%, those have been running well
below our historical average, so we are spending less on PE and right-of-way than
historically. We up’d grab bag to $8 million annually. Those are some of the key
changes we’ve made. We are assuming a moderate progression of federal funding but
we just don’t know. We are holding the course and until we get reauthorization, we
just don’t know.

Funding Target. With regarding to seeing the reserves we looked at historically, we are
looking at maintaining reserves that we have in existence. We have an Interstate
Reserve to Capacity funding category that the Transportation Commission has
approved. There are four particular projects and we are in the process of delivering
those so we’ll hold that in reserve and we’ll refer to them are targets because that is
how much we’re hoping to spend in that particular category. So that’s a targeted
amount we are looking at.

Steel Bridges. That particular funding category will probably remain until we clear Two
Medicine River Bridge since it is a steel bridge and it is very expensive. We can
discuss how long that will continue but for now it still remains intact.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

Wetland Mitigation and Vegetation Control. This has been a very successful program.
The districts use it quite a bit after they’re done with their projects. This helps them
revegetate and helps with wetlands and the rest area program from last year which is
doing quite well. We are not suggesting any changes in the funding reserves and the

System Performance. We are meeting our performance goals on our Interstate program.
Our number one performance goal is to maintain a desirable superior condition and
as you can see we are very desirable to superior over the 10-year span. We are very
good in the short term. We also have a secondary goal of not exceeding 3% core
pavements on the Interstate. We don’t have anywhere near that, as a matter of fact
we don’t show any percent over the 10-year span. So we’re doing very good on our
Interstate System.

With regard to our distribution of funds, the funding distribution that we’re going to
bring forward today, we’re trying to have an equality of conditions. We want each
District to have an equivalent pavement condition. That’s very important. You don’t
wasn’t to hit a District boundary and all of a sudden see the pavement deteriorate.
We are advocating an equality of condition. The dollars that will get you there will
vary but in this case you’re seeing that the Interstate, regardless of where you go, is
going to be in roughly the same condition. That’s very important.

NHS System. We can see again that we see some slight degradation over time; we
started with very desirable and we’re still in highly desirable but maybe not quite as
high as we started in the first year. But compared to where we were last year, we had
a strong degradation over time. At the tail end we saw some really accelerated decline
in pavement condition. This is directly attributable to ARRA; it’s really simple. You
can see the bump and it bought us some time. Into the year seven and eight, if
funding holds, we’re going to have about the same condition that we had when we
started. That’s a much better picture than last year. We are still meeting our
performance goal. With regard to each District, you can see the pavement condition
by NHS, each District has a similar pavement condition; there is no noticeable

The Primary System. This is the one that’s really surprising. In typical years when we
do our analysis, we see that the Primary being the lower system shows some pretty
substantial degradation over time but essentially we are holding steady to the 10-year
period if the funding holds. That’s a major accomplishment for our Primary System.
Again when you look at each of the Districts we have similar conditions. Across the
board it’s a very good picture. ARRA and the lower bid prices helped us out. The
fact that we loaded those dollars up front really gave us some good performance on
our pavements.

Bridge Conditions. In this particular case downward is the desirable effect. This relates
to our number of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges. Our
performance goal is to reduce the total number of structurally deficient and
functionally obsolete bridges. As you can see this particular funding arrangements,
the budgetary level of 36 months and $7 million, accomplishes that task. So that’s the
preferred scenario in this particular case. We continue to see improvement on our
bridge conditions and we’re meeting our performance goals.

Congestion. Congestion is an interesting discussion. To begin with on our Interstate
System we essentially don’t have congestion issues. We are in the superior range all
the way across the 10-year analysis period. So we’re good on our Interstates.

NHS System. If you move to our NHS System, we do have some key areas that have
not been completed. If we look at District 2’s NHS System, which has areas like
Gallatin Canyon and the area between Helena and Three Forks, Four Corners to
Belgrade. It’s a small NHS System but we do have some needs there. We have some

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                     September 24, 2009

projects coming that will address those issues but they have not hit the pavement yet.
District 1’s NHS, we are well aware of US 93 and the congestion issues there. We
have projects to address that as well. One thing to note is that when you see the
minimum LOS, essentially when you get below that line that is when a driver
experiences noticeable discomfort. When we’re talking about congestion that’s
unacceptable, you would know when you’re driving under those conditions because
you would not be comfortable operating your vehicle; you would be aware of other
vehicles coming and going, you couldn’t move freely. That gives you an idea where
that sits.

Primary System. With regard to the Primary System, our congestion is not too bad.
We do have some areas in District 1 and District 2, but again we have projects that
will address those particular issues. Just to reiterate that the congestion, in all three
cases, we are meeting our performance goals so we have an acceptable condition.

Regarding the Primary System, Director Lynch said most states operate in the blue.
Even though we’re approaching our goal, our goal is extremely high compared to
other states. I think we still need to strive for that goal. But when you cross the
border into Idaho or Washington and Wyoming you’ll see their operation is down
tremendously. Most people operate in a Level of Service D and E category. When
you drive into Seattle, you’re operating at a Level of Service F. Paul Johnson said that
was an important point. Regarding congestion most states don’t give as much
credence to congestion as Montana does. When we mention other states they just
chose to ignore it because they are in the D, E and F range. We address those with
strategic projects. If we are there with a pavement need we try and get a congestion
request taken care of while we are there.

Level of Service Condition. Our Level of Service is from A to F with A being that you’re
completely unencumbered and feel no congestion whatsoever and F is a complete
breakdown. To give you an idea of where you might find some of these conditions,
if you drove from here to Three Forks you might see some C conditions at around 4
p.m. You wouldn’t be able to move as freely as you’d like, you’d be aware of traffic.
If you’re in Gallatin Canyon when it was busy, that might be a D condition.

Funding Recommendations. There is a lot on this graph. Start with your average ride
quality. When you look across the board you find that, regardless of distance or
District, you have equivalent pavement conditions. That is an important concept
because we’re trying to get equity between all the Districts. We are not advocating
for one to be ahead of another in pavement condition. With regard to the next
metric, percentage of pavement poor, I will tell you ARRA really helped us out.
We’re seeing very few poor pavements out there. The most important graphic is the
one below that where you see the blue numbers below the red numbers. That
represents the distribution of funds between the Districts. The red number says that
if you take all of the Interstate, NHS, and Primary dollars, 27% goes to Missoula,
23% goes to Butte, 16% goes to Great Falls, and 16% goes to Glendive, and 18%
goes to Billings. Initially you might say that doesn’t seem fair but again this purchases
equality of pavement conditions. So if we were to change that distribution, the
District would either improve or get shorted. So this is equality of pavement. It
takes different dollars to get to equal pavement in each District. If you want to see
that broken down by apportionment, this graphic gives you that.

Action Items. That’s the end of our presentation. There are only a few action items
that you need to look at today. The items that are up for discussion are the Funding
Distribution as presented, the Funding Targets, which is a continuation of what we
already have with steel bridges, Interstate Capacity, Wetlands and Rest Areas. We’re
not asking for any changes to those today. To review, this is the Funding
Distribution that would send the dollars to the various Districts. We need this in
advance of our TCP. This determines distribution that will show up in the TCP.
The other item we need is to identify is funding targets for these particular funding

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                   September 24, 2009

categories. Those are the two items we require action from the Commission today.
If you have any questions or comments, I will answer them quickly. It is important
for us to get this accomplished at this point in time so we can begin to develop the
TCP because these feed directly into our TCP spreadsheets.

Commissioner Griffith said it looks out of balance. If you look on the Interstate
System, the Butte District has 35% of the Interstate within its District which is the
highest cost. It looks out of proportion. Missoula looks out of proportion because
of US 93. Paul Johnson said one thing regarding the Butte District, your Pavement
Preservation for the next four years is $12 million, $12 million, $12 million, and $6
million, so essentially a lot of money has gone there and is going to show us
improvement. Commissioner Griffith said they just took $19 million out and put it
into the NHS. So the way we’re going to get the NHS off the congestion list was
taking $129 million out of the Interstate money. Director Lynch said they have room
to do that. Paul Johnson said this is a very dynamic system because it gives you the
ability to transfer between those three systems and that’s important in project
delivery. With that said, if you do not meet a need on your Interstate System, that
need appears the next year and so that number will increase. As you leave holes in
your system, this will adjust every year with the new set of circumstances. It will still
meet that need. With regard to both of your issues, the answer is each year it will
adjust and meet those needs. If it’s still there, it will send the money to take care of
those needs and achieve the equality of conditions.

Director Lynch said that is a discussion that needs to takes place. That was a decision
that was made years ago – to change the Secondary Program. It’s worked but there
hasn’t been a similar type scrutiny by the counties to make sure the investments …
they are not investing to create a secondary transportation system. Commissioner
Griffith said they will let it wear out until there is no choice but to be reconstructed
and by that time it’s a disaster for money. Commissioner Espy said the counties are
strapped for money and have been for awhile now. They have not had the income
from taxes they had previously. Director Lynch said if you walk back in the history
of the Secondary Program, these are county roads. They had an opportunity for
federal dollars and through reauthorizations the secondary funding has gone away but
this Commission has allowed allocations to be put into it. We might be at the point
where we might want to sit down with MACO and consider how we want to run the
Secondary Road Program. Do we want to bring it back to the state level and run it
through an Asset Management program which means every county might not have a
project but you will have enough funding to take on some major projects and
eventually improve the Secondary Transportation System as well. That’s a big bite.
That’s going to take a lot of discussion because that can’t be forced; it has to be
something that is agreed upon by everybody.

Paul Johnson said we do some asset management on our Secondary System. There is
a maximum allowed for pavement preservation. We push that as far as we can. It’s
very simple but we just make sure we’re out there preserving to the best of our ability
within state law. When I run the analysis on the Secondary System, it may need more
than we can do legally but we can only push it to that cap. We do what we can but as
far as priorities, it’s by county. So their priorities don’t mesh with the statewide
system. It is an interesting discussion and we do the best we can for now.

Commissioner Griffith asked how we were doing on capacity. Do we have enough
capacity projects to use all the funds? Paul Johnson said we do. In fact I was
reviewing the projects for the Interstate capacity, and I believe we have one in
Missoula, Laurel, Helena, and Belgrade. We’re sitting pretty well with that. After
those projects are done we will look at the reserve to see what we can do with it.
Since that was a Commission action originally in 2004, we have to stay with that.
Commissioner Griffith asked if you added the word “safety” would you be covered.
Paul Johnson said last year they changed it to “Interstate Reserve and Capacity” and
it was allowed to be reserved for whenever Interstate issues came up. The issue we

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting                                  September 24, 2009

had earlier was the projects weren’t ready to go but the funding category was already
there. It went to good projects and has been spent wisely. I believe the Missoula
project is ready to go this year. Missoula East and West deals with the on ramps and
off ramps as you come into town from Bonner at the various exits. That project will
be ready to go in 2010. Director Lynch said one thing MDT is trying to get over is
not identifying safety fixes when we have projects. We have a safety category. That’s
been a hard nut to crack in the engineering world. We’ve got to stop that. If we have
a safety issue out there, we can’t wait to fix it. We use the Safety Program to go in
and take care of those projects.

Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the Performance Planning Process (P3) as
presented by staff. Commissioner Skelton seconded the Motion. All Commissioners
voted aye.

The motion passed unanimous.

Next Commission Meeting

Conference Call on October 6, 2009, and October 27, 2009. A regular Commission
meeting was scheduled for December 4, 2009. Director Lynch said the Commission
would be notified if a project bid needed to be changed. John Blacker said they
would be coming back the first week in December for the Red Book. Director
Lynch said the District Administrator’s would be contacting the Commission to talk
about the program and issues.

Director Lynch said the two snow plow operators who worked the emergency last
winter were recognized by the Governor’s Award of Excellence for their work and
the fact they had people living in their truck over night. Commissioner Espy asked if
there would be a news release on that. Lynn Zanto said it was in the Independent
Record yesterday.

Commissioner Griffith said there was a story about Big Sky voting in an ordinance
for a sign, is that a sign under our control? Director Lynch said yes and MDT is
drafting a response. Commissioner Griffith said they were talking about a buy-out.
Director Lynch said they could do that. Do we have to take action prohibiting signs
through that area? Director Lynch said they can only buy the sign and that doesn’t
take any action from the Commission. Commissioner Griffith said it is a sign that is
authorized by the Department. Tim Reardon said it is permitted by the Department
but it’s not on the Department’s right-of-way; it’s on private property. Director
Lynch said we give them a permit but the State of Montana controls outdoor
advertising with rules and regulations. We have to approve those signs. If you
wanted to go buy the rights to put a sign in that location and decide never to put it
there, that doesn’t take any action from the Commission. You can do that. It doesn’t
take any action from the State; they can go do that. If they decide to sell that right to
somebody else and somebody else wanted to put a sign in that locate, then they
would have to file for an application. Commissioner Griffith said the sign will take
care of itself, but what happens if somebody wants to put up sign down the road.
Director Lynch said if they meet the criteria then they can. Commissioner Griffith
asked about taking up the issue. Director Lynch said the Commission would have to
modify their rules, file the rules, have a public hearing, and go through that entire
public process. Commissioner Griffith said that is a sensitive corridor where signs
ought not to be permitted. Director Lynch said the best route would be legislative.

Commissioner Skelton moved to allow the Letting date to be changed if necessary
with notification to the Commission. Commissioner Griffith seconded the Motion.
All Commissioners voted aye.

Montana Transportation Commission Meeting        September 24, 2009

The motion passed unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned.

Commissioner Espy, Chairman
Montana Transportation Commission

Jim Lynch, Director
Montana Department of Transportation

Lori K. Ryan, Secretary
Montana Transportation Commission


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