Call to Order and Roll Call
Thesecond meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Thursday, July 28, 2011, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jimmy Higdon, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jimmy Higdon, Co-Chair; Representative Sannie Overly, Co-Chair; Senator Ray S. Jones II; Representatives Hubert Collins, Tim Couch, Danny Ford, Jim Gooch Jr., Richard Henderson, Dennis Keene, Fred Nesler, John Short, and Jim Stewart III.
Guests: Senators Carroll Gibson and David Givens; Representatives Jimmie Lee and Michael Meredith; Terry Martin, Hart County Judge-Executive; Mike Hancock, Secretary, and Tammy Branham, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management, Transportation Cabinet.
Chairman Higdon requested a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. A motion was made by Representative Short, seconded by Representative Keene, and the minutes were approved without objection.
Safer 65 Initiative
Senator Gibson provided a brief overview of the safety issues on a section of I-65 in Hart, Hardin, and Larue counties, as well as a portion of Barren County. Chairman Higdon suggested that a reciprocity agreement with Tennessee should be in place before any work is performed on I-65. Senator Gibson requested that a subcommittee be formed to research the best ways to suggest solutions for safety issues.
Representative Michael Meredith provided a presentation regarding tragic highway statistics, including fatalities that have occurred on this particular section of highway.
Hart County Judge-Executive Terry Martin discussed local concerns relating to safety issues on I-65.
In response to a question from Representative Collins, Mr. Martin said he did not have traffic counts for that section of highway. In response to a question from Representative Collins, Representative Meredith said the average speed in that area is higher than the posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour. Representative Collins asked if tolls had been considered. Representative Meredith replied that had not been discussed as an option. Mr. Martin commented that if tolls were used, most of the money would come from out-of-state travelers.
In response to a question from Representative Henderson, Senator Gibson said the proposed subcommittee would consider other projects throughout Kentucky.
Representative Ford asked if this part of I-65 had ever been included in the Six-Year Road Plan. Representative Meredith replied that some sections of the highway had been but the bulk of the project had not.
Representative Overly thanked the legislators from western Kentucky for coming to the meeting and commented that Kentucky has more needs than resources. Chairman Higdon agreed, stating that it is a pressing issue and there are many demands but few dollars.
Secretary Hancock commented that safety issues in the corridor had been addressed by putting barrier walls and cable guard rails along the entire stretch until the road widening project could be completed.
Representative Lee thanked the Chairman for allowing him to participate in the meeting. In response to a question from Representative Lee, Secretary Hancock said the cabinet is anticipating that the federal government may give states tools to consider tolling.
Federal Transportation Funding Update
Mike Hancock, Secretary, Transportation Cabinet, provided a brief overview of federal transportation funding.
In response to an inquiry from Representative Couch, Secretary Hancock said the cabinet will provide information at a later date relating to the amount of federal gas tax collected in Kentucky. Representative Couch asked what amount of federal funding is received back. Secretary Hancock replied that the rate is between 85 and 92 percent.
In response to a question from Representative Couch, Ms. Branham said the amount of state gasoline tax collected in fiscal year 2011 was $732 million. She added that the state gas tax collection rate was 19.5 cents per gallon for nearly the full fiscal year 2011, and the federal gasoline tax rate is 18.4 cents.
Representative Collins expressed his opinion that SAFETEA-LU had originally been very lenient with the use of their funds, but that had changed some over the years. Secretary Hancock said both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are considering reforms for federal transportation programs and are interested in consolidating the sheer number of federal programs, but not necessarily canceling programs.
Federal Debt Service Obligations
Ms. Branham provided a brief overview of Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds and federal debt service obligations.
In response to a question from Representative Couch regarding the status of I-75 south of Berea, Secretary Hancock replied it is moving at a pace that will ultimately see the entire road as a six-lane down to Corbin. He said the cabinet has been unable to pursue that in full fashion due to limitations on funding; however, an attempt has been made to work on those sections that present the greatest issues first.
In response to an inquiry from Chairman Higdon regarding usage fees for electric cars, Secretary Hancock said that discussion is ongoing at various levels.
There being no further business before the subcommittee, the meeting was adjourned at 11:37 AM.