Thesecond meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, July 5, 2005, at 1:00 PM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Brett Guthrie and Representative Hubert Collins co-chaired the meeting. Representative Collins called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Brett Guthrie, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr, Charlie Borders, David E Boswell, R J Palmer II, Richard "Dick" Roeding, Richie Sanders Jr, Gary Tapp; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Carolyn Belcher, Denver Butler, Jim DeCesare, J R Gray, Melvin B Henley, Jimmie Lee, Paul H Marcotte, Charles E Meade, Charles Miller, Russ Mobley, Lonnie Napier, Rick G Nelson, Don R Pasley, Marie L Rader, Rick W Rand, Ancel Smith, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Mike Weaver. Representative Fred Nesler attended the Committee's meeting as a guest.
Guests Appearing Before the Committee: From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Sonia Sanders, Deputy Commissioner of Vehicle Regulation; Mr. Willie Payton, Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing; Steve Coffey, Division of Drivers Licensing; Sam Beverage, State Highway Engineer; and Chuck Knowles, Deputy State Highway Engineer.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Jim Roberts, and Linda Hughes.
Senator Roeding moved to approve the minutes of the June 9, 2005 meeting, as submitted. Senator Boswell seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
Chairman Collins opened the meeting by informing the members that the Committee's October meeting will be held in Eastern Kentucky. He said tentative plans call for members to meet at the Ramada Inn's Carriage House in Painstville, Kentucky Tuesday evening. Chairman Collins stated that a tour of the area the following morning will probably include the Martin County Community Center, Route 3 in Floyd County, which includes the race track, and the home of Loretta Lynn. He said that additional meeting information would be forwarded to members closer to the October meeting date, but that he wanted the members to mark their calendars for this meeting.
The first item discussed was an update by the Transportation Cabinet on implementation of 2005 legislation. Sonia Sanders, Deputy Commissioner of Vehicle Regulation; Willie Payton, Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing; and Steve Coffey, Division of Drivers Licensing, offered testimony during this discussion.
In response to 2005 House Bill 109 (unrebuildable titles), the Cabinet offered a draft of a special title of vehicles declared to be unrebuildable in other states. This title includes a red border on the form and the bold words "MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR TITLING IN ALL STATES" printed on the form. Mr. Payton stated that with the Committee's approval, this form will be used starting August 1, 2005. Mr. Payton also stated that a plate will be installed on the inside side of the driver's door stating that this vehicle may not be eligible for titling in all states.
Senator Roeding asked if Mr. Payton thought the new title would affect the current selling prices for these type of vehicles. Mr. Payton replied that he did not believe so.
Representative DeCesare asked what the ramifications would be if a person driving a unrebuildable titled vehicle were to be pulled over for a traffic violation in a state that does not recognize such titling. Mr. Payton said there should not be any ramifications because the car has a valid Kentucky title.
When asked particulars about the plate and how it would be attached to a vehicle, Mr. Payton deferred to Mr. Tom Underwood, Kentucky Auto and Truck Recyclers Association. Mr. Underwood stated that the final design has not be determined, however he thought the plate would be made of anodized aluminum and riveted to the metal on the inside of the driver's door. Mr. Underwood stated that he will be happy to work with the Cabinet on the design and where to install the plate.
With regards to 2005 House Bill 134 (special license plates), Mr. Payton said that presently there are six or seven various organizations that have contacted the Cabinet stating that they are near to the required 900 threshold.
Senator Roeding requested that the Cabinet notify either the Committee, or its co-chairs, with the names of the organizations that have reached the 900 threshold and also whether or not the Cabinet approved the design of their plate. Mr. Payton stated that the legislation mandates that the Cabinet notify the Committee in the event that the Cabinet denies a plate, at which time, he understands the Committee has the option of overriding the Cabinet's decision. Senator Roeding stated that he thought the Committee would be interested in keeping abreast to the types of special license plates the Commonwealth offers and requested such notification. Mr. Payton stated he would be happy to do so.
Representative Weaver asked when the $5.00 charge would begin being collected along with the original fee for the Veteran's Special License Plates. Mr. Payton stated that the additional fee will be assessed beginning August 1, 2005.
Representative Weaver asked if the Gold Star Mother Emblem would also be available beginning August 1. Mr. Payton said he doubted it because the Cabinet was still waiting for their contact person with the National Gold Star Mothers to get back with the Cabinet on the design of the emblem.
Representative Weaver asked if the 36x36 poster would be available in every county clerk's office beginning August 1, 2005. Mr. Payton stated that the Cabinet was still waiting for Military Affairs to give them a picture of the two military personnel to be included in the poster design. Mr. Payton said that the distribution to the county clerks was still doable since the reproduction of the poster would be done in house, if the Cabinet were to receive the picture of two military personnel soon.
Mr. Coffey discussed 2005 House Bill 133 (MCSIA) with the committee. He said that as the Committee was aware, September 30, 2005 is the effective date of MCSIA, and to date the Cabinet has not received six of the 19 MCSIA reference manuals from the Federal Government. Additionally ten of the federal manuals have been issued in just the past three months. He said that the Cabinet was studying each manual thoroughly, and are noticing that some of the mandates are changing from one manual to another. Mr. Coffey said that this is making the implementation process very tedious for such a complex issue.
Mr. Coffey stated that the Cabinet is actively searching for all school bus drivers in the Commonwealth. Whether they drive buses for public or private schools or churches, the Cabinet intends to notify them that they must have a S-endorsement prior to the MCSIA effective date . To receive this S-endorsement a person must pass a written test. Mr. Coffey said it is the Cabinet's goal to have all 13,000 school bus drivers grandfathered into the system prior to the September 30, 2005 deadline.
At this time Senator Guthrie began chairing the meeting. He called Mr. Sam Beverage, State Highway Engineer, and Mr. Chuck Knowles, Deputy State Highway Engineer, to the table to discuss the implementation of 2005 House Bill 340 (permitting access to the Hall Rogers Parkway).
Mr. Beverage stated that the reason for controlled access highways is to provide safer roads for higher speeds and the movement of goods. He said that the original intent was not to provide access for every person who sought access, but rather to provide a safe and reliable highway system, and at the same time providing economic development opportunities in the area.
Mr. Beverage said that the Cabinet is proposing that the minimum spacing distances between accesses on the Hal Rogers Parkway be 2640 feet. He said that this 55 mile long parkway runs through Laurel, Clay, Leslie, and Perry Counties. Mr. Beverage stated that by using the 2640 foot spacing there could be as many as 240 possible accesses for that 55 mile section.
Mr. Beverage stated that one section alone, at Highway 451 in Perry County, has had 47 deaths. He said that although the posted speed limit is 55 MPH, people tend to travel this Parkway at a greater speed, sometimes resulting in fatal accidents. Thus, he said that the Cabinet's traffic engineers and safety personnel are recommending the 2640 distance between access points.
Mr. Beverage said that there are currently 20 accesses on the Hal Rogers Parkway, leaving the availability for an additional 240 accesses. He said that the Cabinet has already begun using the 2640 foot requirement rationale. He noted that there is currently an illegal approach near the dam in Leslie County. Mr. Beverage stated that as part of a paving project the Cabinet will be installing a turning lane that will accommodate traffic to that dam as well as some coal economic development operations in the area, which currently have no access.
Mr. Beverage stated that the Cabinet is working with Secretary Host (Economic Development Cabinet) on the possibility of a gas line in the southern part of Kentucky. He said that this will be a transmission line which would allow gas to be delivered to the eastern part of the United States. Mr. Beverage said that it is his belief that House Bill 340 allows the Cabinet to offer such a gas line permit. He noted the this line would provide many job opportunities for the Commonwealth.
Senator Borders complimented the Cabinet on its recommendation and asked that the safety issue always be considered a top priority when deliberating future accesses. He said that he hoped that all members of the General Assembly will support the Cabinet's decisions. He said that it helps him as a legislator to be able to tell his constituent that this is the way it is and that he doesn't see any exceptions being made because of who he is. Senator Borders said that Governor Patton took such an approach and in his opinion, it was a successful approach not only for the state, but also for him.
Chairman Collins asked if there is a regulation whereby the minimum distances for access are measured separately on each side of the road. Mr. Beverage said that each side is considered independently. Chairman Collins said that he understands that in some cases that is not true. Mr. Knowles said that the intent of the regulation is to provide for independent assessments, one side of the road versus the other side, and if there is some case where the Cabinet is denying access on one side of the road because of an existing access on the opposite side, then he does not think that is being consistent, unless it was set up as an exception. Chairman Collins asked that this be researched and the findings brought to the Committee's attention. Mr. Beverage said that he will follow up on this issue and report back to the Committee.
Representative Miller noted in proposed 603 KAR 5:120(5) that a priority is given to industrial parks. He said, in Jefferson County, there are two schools on Greenwood Road, as well as the Riverport Industrial Park. He said large trucks travel to and from the industrial park on Greenwood Road and when a truck breaks down on this two lane road kids cannot get to school on time. He said that state engineers have researched the problem and recommended it be widened to five lanes; however, now they say there isn't sufficient money to widen the road. Mr. Beverage thanked Representative Miller for this information and said that he would check into the matter.
Mr. Knowles commented that the Cabinet is aware of several industrial development opportunities along the Hal Rogers Parkway and that the Cabinet intends on those accesses remaining high priorities.
Mr. Beverage said that the Cabinet is currently in the design process on the Parkway for an industrial park access at milepost 27 in Clay County. He said that this access would accommodate future development opportunities.
Senator Boswell commented that Owensboro, the third largest city in the Commonwealth, still requires paying a toll to get in and out of the city on a four lane highway. Mr. Beverage noted that the bonds on the Audubon and Green River Parkways are both due to expire in year 2007.
Senator Blevins asked if projects on the Mountain Parkway will become lower on the priority schedule due to House Bill 340. Mr. Beverage said no, however, the money for the industrial park off the Hal Rogers Parkway are federal funds earmarked by Congressman Rogers and those federal funds cannot be used elsewhere. Mr. Beverage said that if funds are not earmarked, all projects will be considered equally.
Representative Napier noted that there is not a four lane highway in Garrard County. He said that Garrard County is the third fastest growing county in the region but still it is hard to draw economic development without proper infrastructure. He said that US 27 has been in the Six Year Road Plan for a number of years, however during the last session this project was dropped from the Plan. Mr. Beverage said there was recently a review of US 27 from Somerset to Lexington and that review identified some top priority projects. He said the Cabinet is currently in the process of revising the Six Year Road Plan and he assured Representative Napier that there will be some US 27 projects in the next Plan.
Chairman Guthrie stated in closing that the Committee's next meeting will be held on the second Tuesday of the month, August 9th, as opposed to the first Tuesday of the month, due to many members attending SLC and ALEC during the first week in August.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.