Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefifth meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Monday, November 25, 2013, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jimmy Higdon, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Juva Barber, President, Kentuckians for Better Transportation; Secretary Mike Hancock, Transportation Cabinet; Ron Rigney, Director, Division of Program Management, Transportation Cabinet.
Chair Higdon recognized former Washington County Judge/Executive John Settles, who was present to represent the Lebanon-Springfield Airport.
General Aviation Airports in Kentucky
Juva Barber, President, Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT), provided an overview of the General Aviation Airports in the Commonwealth.
In response to a question from Chair Higdon regarding the appropriation of collected funds according to KRS 183.525, Ms. Barber said in years past some of the funds had been diverted to the General Fund. She said KBT would like to see clear usage of the funds. The statute allows for a carryforward, therefore enabling some of the larger airport projects to be completed more quickly.
In response to a question from Representative Keene, Ms. Barber explained that the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program is number three in the nation for training students in the field of aviation. It helps them learn the skills they will need in order to advance through the industry and gain the certifications required to move up.
In response to a question from Senator Harris, Ms. Barber verified that numbers one and two in the nation for aviation education are Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and North Dakota, respectively.
In response to a question from Chair Higdon regarding other needs of the General Aviation Airports, Ms. Barber said there would be more issues to discuss at a later date.
Chair Higdon called for a motion to approve the minutes of the meetings held on September 26, 2013 and October 24, 2013. Motion was made by Representative Stewart, seconded by Senator Harris, and the minutes were approved without objection.
Future of Federal Highway Funding
Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock provided an overview of Federal Highway Trust Funds.
In response to a question from Representative Keene regarding raising the federal gas tax, Secretary Hancock said Congress is looking at a number of things on a national level, including various financing options.
In response to questions from Senator Harris regarding the timing of the decision by Congress on the $40 billion, Secretary Hancock said it is through an Authorization Act for the authorized level of spending. He said a multi-year Act lasts typically five to six years, but the MAP-21 is different in that it was written as if it were a five- or six-year bill, but it only provided funding for the first two years. Even with a multi-year bill, in each year the appropriators then decide how much of the authorized level will be actually spent. The decision for transportation authorizations would likely be made in late summer or early fall.
In response to questions from Representative Stewart regarding incomplete projects, Secretary Hancock said there are some projects in fiscal year 2011-12 that have not yet been completed due to federal funds not being authorized. There was a project in fiscal year 2009-10 in Bowling Green that has not yet been completed due to environmental issues. He will provide more information on this subject at a later date.
In response to further questions from Representative Stewart regarding the railroad system and its relation to road work, Secretary Hancock said the railroads are mostly privately held and do not provide a direct monetary contribution, but the cabinet works together with the railroads on some things. He added that the railroads have certain rights and clearance requirements that must be considered as the cabinet works with them on a daily basis.
Representative Keene commented that three things drive economic development: location, transportation, and an educated work force. Kentucky has location and is doing well on education, but the roads are critical. He thanked Secretary Hancock for the fine work the cabinet is doing for the Commonwealth.
There being no further business before the subcommittee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:46 AM.