Thefourth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, September 7, 2004, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Virgil Moore and Representative Hubert Collins co-chaired the meeting. Senator Moore called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Virgil Moore, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Charlie Borders, Ray Jones II, Dorsey Ridley, Richard Sanders Jr, Gary Tapp, Elizabeth Tori, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Carolyn Belcher, Denver Butler, Howard Cornett, Mike Denham, Jimmie Lee, Paul Marcotte, Charles Miller, Rick Nelson, Don Pasley, Marie Rader, Rick Rand, Ancel Smith, Jim Stewart, Jim Thompson, Tommy Turner, John Vincent, and Mike Weaver.
Guests Appearing Before the Committee: Transportation Cabinet employees: Dana Fugazzi, Staff Attorney; Asa Swan, Legislative Liaison; John Dade, Division of Operations; Roy Mundy, Commissioner, and Mack Bushart, Deputy Commissioner, and Steve Coffey, Assistant Director, Department of Vehicle Regulations; and Chad LaRue, Branch Manager, Permits Branch, Division of Traffic.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Jim Roberts, and Linda Hughes
Senator Moore welcomed the committee's newest member, Senator Dorsey Ridley.
Representative Cornett moved to approve the minutes from the August 3, 2004 meeting, as submitted. Representative Miller seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
Mr. John Dade, Pavement Management Branch Manager, Division of Operations, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, gave a presentation on the Commonwealth's transportation system. He gave the members a present overview on the maintenance of Kentucky's highway network, i.e., its interstates, parkways, rural and secondary roads, as well as its pavement management system.
Mr. Dade said that Kentucky has 762 miles of interstate, which represent two percent of its total miles, but carries 31.2 percent of all traffic. The parkways consist of 648 miles, 2.4 percent of the state's total miles, and carries 5.1 percent of all its traffic. Kentucky's primary system has 3,290 miles, accounting for 27.0 percent of the traffic, and 6,339 miles in its secondary system, which sees 26.8 percent of the state's traffic. Kentucky's rural and secondary system has 12,130 miles which handles 8.5 percent of its traffic, and 2,264 miles in its supplemental system, which carries 8.3 percent of all traffic. In total, Mr. Dade said Kentucky has 27,439 miles of state-maintained roads, accommodating 40.8 billion road miles traveled annually.
Mr. Dade stated that the Cabinet's vision is to maintain a safe and reliable transportation system supporting Kentucky's future economic growth, national competitiveness, and overall quality of life. He further stated the Cabinet's aim was to make the contracting process fair, geographically equitable, establish a level playing field, guarantee the best value, and make all decisions based upon value, need, and service.
With regards to resurfacing Kentucky's road systems, Mr. Dade said the ideal resurfacing cycle is 10-11 years on interstates, 11-12 years on parkways, 13-14 years on state primary roads, 14-15 years on the state's secondary system, and 16-20 on its rural and secondary roads. He said Kentucky is presently resurfacing its interstates every 14-15 years, and that the state has a backlog of projects due to this longer resurfacing cycle.
Mr. Dade said that the Transportation Cabinet uses a five step approach with its pavement management system (PMS). That approach is to identify that need; rank pavement projects; allocate resurfacing funds based on need, cost, miles, maintained and condition of highway system; estimate present funds and what will be required for the next six years; and assess ride quality of new pavements. Mr. Dade said that in an independent study conducted by Coopers & Lybrand in 1996, pavement smoothness was rated the leading concern of the traveling public. Rough pavements not only generate complaints from highway users, but creates safety hazards, causes vehicle damage, and may increase fuel consumption. He said that smooth roads have also been found to last longer.
Mr. Dade said interstate and parkway pavements are evaluated yearly. These evaluations include the extent and severity of wheel path cracking, raveling/faulting, other type cracking, and patching. Appearance, change in rideability from the previous year, rutting, condition of shoulders and guard rails, and estimating the remaining life of the system are other evaluations conducted on interstates and parkways.
Mr. Dade stated that in 2003, 49 percent of the interstates were in good condition, 21 percent in fair condition, and 30 percent in poor condition. In that same year, 38 percent of the parkways were in good condition, 20 percent were fair, and 42 percent were in poor condition. And, Mr. Dade said in year 2003, 41 percent of all of Kentucky's highways were in good condition, 39 percent in fair condition, and 20 percent in poor condition. He stated that the Cabinet's 2005 proposed resurfacing program for its primary road system entails a price tag of $67 million, and $30 million for its rural secondary road system.
In closing, Mr. Dade said that current funds are not available to adequately maintain Kentucky's road system. He said, based upon PMS data, analyses, and recommendations, Kentucky's current proposed budget is under funded to maintain the system. Mr. Dade stated the interstates need $180 million, with only $80 million currently budgeted; parkways need $50 million, with a current $40 million budget; primary road rehabilitation needs $20 million, with $10 million in the budget; and resurfacing needs $120 million, with only $97 million appropriated. Mr. Dade further stated that the present overall budget only provides for $478 million (which includes the resurfacing amounts listed above plus $178 million for maintenance, $36 million for traffic, and $40 million for rural secondary roads) when realistically the Cabinet needs $656 million. He said there is an overall discrepancy of $178 million annually to maintain a good highway system in Kentucky.
Representative Marcotte asked if Kentucky's recommended resurfacing cycle is similar to that of the federal government's. Mr. Dade said yes.
Chairman Collins asked if the Cabinet saw a difference in its road deterioration cycle due to weather. Mr. Dade said yes, and that water was the main culprit of road deterioration. He said that with any resurfacing project the Cabinet always looks for ways to channel water away from the resurfaced area.
Chairman Collins asked if the state requires rideability and asked Mr. Dade to the explain the concept to the Committee. Mr. Dade said that back in the early 1980's, after completion of a road project on I 64 north of Elizabethtown, the Cabinet started receiving calls from citizens complaining about the poor quality of that section of road. After inspection, the Cabinet corrected the problem, and thereafter rideability was instilled in all of its contracts. He said rideability pertains to the traveled smoothness of a highway, which he reemphasized, also lengthens the years of service of that road.
Representative Denham stated recently there was another fatality on the AA Highway in Mason County, where a widening project had been postponed. He said he is aware of the state's financial constrains, but that something needed to be done on this section of highway that was receiving more traffic than it was originally designed to carry. Mr. Dade said the Cabinet was aware of the potential danger.
Representative Lee asked if there were road standards for motorcycle travel. He said that a number of Kentucky's roads are becoming unsafe for motorcycles to travel. Mr. Dade said no.
Representative Lee stated that he wrote the Cabinet several months ago informing them that motorcycle weight do not trip traffic light sensors embedded in road pavements and asked what could be done to elevate this problem. He said he had yet to receive a reply and asked Mr. Dade to check into the matter and either reply back directly to him or he would ask the Chairman to place this concern on a future committee agenda. Mr. Dade said that he would report back to Representative Lee.
Representative Weaver stated that he understood that Mr. Dade was at today's meeting to solicit money for Kentucky's road system, but that he did not hear anywhere in his presentation as to where the legislature might find those additional funds. Representative Weaver then asked Mr. Dade if the Cabinet had a contingency plan in the event it did not receive the additional $178 million it was requesting. Mr. Dade said that he was unaware of any contingency plans the Cabinet may have, but he stated he would take back the committee's concerns to Secretary Bailey.
Representative Smith stated he was concerned with highway breaks and signs notifying the public of those breaks in his area, Districts 10, 11, and 12. He asked what could be done to protect the public. Chairman Collins stated that the correction of flood damaged roads that Representative Smith alluded may be a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) problem and not a state problem. Representative Smith said the Cabinet needed to place signs that stayed erected, alerting drivers of the road hazards ahead.
Senator Sanders asked Mr. Dade if he knew how much the extra penny increase in the motor fuels tax generates for the state; of that amount, what portion would go back to local communities; and, if those funds had been sent back to the communities. Asa Swan, Transportation Cabinet Legislative Liaison, said he thought the total amount of a one cent gas tax increase for one quarter was around $7.5 million and that the Transportation Cabinet was presently determining what the local communities' portion should be. He said once that determination was made that the local communities should start receiving their money.
Senator Tori asked if the Cabinet had considered tolls to increase Road Fund money. Mr. Dade stated he was not aware of any discussion involving toll booths. Senator Tori stated that it was her understanding that several states have added tolls to subsidize their road fund money. Mr. Swan said that he would research the matter and report back to the Committee at its next meeting.
At this time Representative Cornett stated that he had prefiled legislation changing the extended weight tags from just allowing hauled coal to allowing all of Kentucky's natural resources. He stated that his prefiled legislation does not increase the weight limit.
At this time Chairman Moore turned the meeting over to Chairman Collins.
The next item on the Committee's agenda was an update on the lag time for processing motor vehicle titles. Commissioner Roy Mundy and Deputy Commissioner Mack Bushart, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, presented this update.
Commissioner Mundy, who stated he had over 31 years of experience in the customer service arena, said the lag time for processing an automobile title has recently been reduced from 32 working days in June to the current 20 working days, with an eventual reduction to 10 to 12 working days. He commented that realistically it would be difficult to further reduce the that time, due to the mandatory paper trail that accompanies title processing. Commissioner Mundy stated that rebuilt titles currently have a lag time of 10 days and it is his hope to reduce that time down to receiving the title on the same day or at least by the next day.
Commissioner Mundy said the lag time reduction has been accomplished by redesigning a portion of the title process. He stated he believed the lag time began during August of last year with staff cutbacks and with the Cabinet's move into its new facility in February of this year. Commissioner Mundy said that the Department of Vehicle Regulation lost around 10 working days during that move. He commented that everything should be running smoothly by the first of October.
Chairman Collins thanked Commissioner Mundy for his report and stated that he was told there was still a lag time for processing rebuilt titles; however, he stated that he could understand how staff cutbacks and the move in February could have caused the problem.
The next item on the Committee's agenda was a discussion on the nationwide adoption of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA) of 1999. Mr. Roy Mundy and Mack Bushart presented this information.
Mr. Bushart stated that MCSIA's purpose was to remove unsafe CDL holders from the nation's highways. He said that MCSIA's final rule contained 15 provisions that affect drivers, motor carriers, and states. He said the deadline for compliance is September 30, 2005. Mr. Bushart said several of the provisions are in Kentucky's current statutes; however, five provisions are not in Kentucky statutes or are in direct conflict with them. These five provisions are:
1. States must not mask, defer imposition of judgement, or allow an individual to enter a diversion program that would prevent a conviction in any type of vehicle from appearing on the CDL driver record. This would include out-of-state speeding, purging CDL holders under 21 years of age who receive a .02 DUI infraction, and masking state traffic school attendance and the infraction that prompted the school attendance.
2. A new school bus endorsement is required. Applicants wanting to operate a school bus must pass knowledge and skills tests in additional to the general knowledge and passenger endorsement tests. Currently licensed school bus drivers may be grandfathered from the skills test if they meet the criteria.
3. An Imminent Hazard Clause must be established. States must disqualify drivers if the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration determines a driver to be an imminent hazard to the safety of others on the road.
4. Establish three new serious violations - driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a CDL; driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession; and driving a CMV without the proper class of CMV endorsement.
5. Establish two new major disqualifying offenses - driving a CMV while a CDL is suspended or canceled; and causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV (first offense increases to 1 year in lieu of 6 months and second offense is permanent suspension in lieu of the current 12 months suspension).
Mr. Bushart stated the noncompliance risks to Kentucky are:
1. Loss of five percent of Federal aid highway funds ($25 - $30 million) for the first year, and loss of 10 percent ($50 - $60 million) the second and subsequent years.
2. Loss of Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds ($2 to $3 million).
3. Decertification of CDL program, i.e., prohibited from issuing, renewing, transferring, or upgrading CDLs.
Representative Miller asked how school bus training would differ under the new law. Mr. Bushart said that after September 20, 2005, school bus drivers will be required to have a Class B license as well as passing a written test.
The last item on the Committee's agenda was a review of two administrative regulations. The regulations, and action taken upon each are as follows:
After a brief explanation of 601 KAR 1:005 (safety administrative regulations) by Dana Fugazzi, staff attorney, Representative Ballard moved to approve the regulation. Representative Miller seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
After a brief explanation of 603 KAR 4:040 (TODS signs; placement on public roads other than interstates or parkways) by Dana Fugazzi, Representative Rader moved to approve the regulation. Representative Miller seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.