Interim Joint Committee on Transportation


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> Third Meeting

of the 2005 Interim


<MeetMDY1> August 9, 2005


The<MeetNo2> third meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday,<MeetMDY2> August 9, 2005, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Brett Guthrie and Representative Hubert Collins Co-Chaired the meeting.  Chairman Collins called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<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, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Carolyn Belcher, Denver Butler, Howard D Cornett, Jim DeCesare, J R Gray, W Melvin B Henley, Paul H Marcotte, Russ Mobley, Lonnie Napier, Rick G Nelson, Don R Pasley, Marie L Rader, Rick W Rand, Ancel Smith, Jim Stewart III, John Vincent, and Mike Weaver.


Guests Appearing Before the Committee:  Dennis Chaney, Executive Director, and Nancy Quarcelino, Health Information Branch Director, Barren River District Health Department; Lt. Eric Walker, Kentucky State Police; and from the Transportation Cabinet:  Debra Gabbard, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management; Marc Williams, Commissioner of Highways, Dan Barnett, Director Drive Smart.


LRC Staff:  John Snyder, Jim Roberts, and Linda Hughes.


Representative Weaver moved to approve the minutes from the July 5, 2005 meeting, as submitted.  Representative Gray seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.


The first item on the committee's agenda was an update on final FY 2005 Road Fund revenues and expenditures.  Ms. Gabbard, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said that FY 2005 Road Fund revenues were actually up by $6.8 million from their estimates, resulting in a total of $28.6 million surplus.  The $28.6 million surplus, Ms. Gabbard said, is divided into four areas - Road Fund with $6.8 million, Highways Administration with $5.8 million, General Administration and Support has $2.8 million, and the remaining $13.2 million surplus being for Debt Service. 


Ms. Gabbard stated that even with the increase in revenue over budgeted amounts, Road Fund revenues have remained stagnant over the past three years.  And, in fact, based upon an analysis from the Consensus Forecasting Group, has only grown 3.3 percent since 2000, as compared to a  Consumer Price Index growth rate of 14.8 percent for the same timeframe.


Ms. Gabbard noted that one of the areas of savings within the Cabinet is a reduction in out-of-state travel.  She stated that out-of-state travel in year 2001 amounted to $320,000 as opposed to $106,000 to date for 2005.  While this is a small savings, Ms. Gabbard stated the Cabinet feels that better management has helped in the travel area as well as other areas within the Cabinet. 


Because of an increase in the average wholesale price of gasoline, effective July 2005, the gasoline tax rate has increased an additional 1.1 cents to 12.1 cents.  When added to the 5 cents Motor Fuel User Tax, and the 1.4 cent Underground Storage Tank Fee, Kentucky's total gasoline tax rate is 18.5 cents.  The actual average wholesale price of gasoline was $1.69 in July 2005, as compared to $1.27 in July 2004.  Ms. Gabbard stated that if the growth in the tax was not capped by statute at 10 percent annually, the tax rate would be 21.6 cents.


Ms. Gabbard informed the members that the Cabinet's FY 2006 quarterly revised net cash balance reflects $191 million in the first quarter, $213 million in the second quarter, $291 million in the third quarter, and $237 million for the fourth quarter.  She said the way the Cabinet determined this cash balance was to take the beginning balance and factor in quarterly receipts, non- Six Year Plan expenditures, available cash balance for highway projects, and estimated Six year Plan expenditures.


Chairman Collins asked if the Cabinet was realizing any savings from cutting back in overtime pay.  Ms. Gabbard stated that most of the overtime pay was in the Highway Department and Commissioner Williams stated that it is the Cabinet's policy that overtime pay receive prior approval and that there are some savings within the Highway Department in this area.


Representative Henley stated that he thought the Cabinet would obtain a more realistic Road Fund growth estimate if it compared the Fund to actual highway construction costs.  He noted that CPI includes the cost of food and everyday consumption items, as well as highway construction cost and for this reason does not give a realistic picture.  Representative Henley asked if the Cabinet had ever considered this type of comparison.  Ms. Gabbard said that the Cabinet has those figures and would send them to the Committee.


Mr. Marc Williams, Commissioner of Highways, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, reported on the Cabinet's construction efforts in Fiscal Year 2005.  Mr. Williams said that the status of construction lettings and programs for Calendar 2004 show that awarded contracts amounting to $460 million has been let with payments of $163 million (or 35 percent paid out).   The status of the construction lettings and programs show $62 million (with 35 percent paid) in resurfacing; $7.5 million (80 percent paid) in state construction; $312 million (30 percent paid) in Federal construction, and maintenance of $34 million (with 23 percent being paid out to date).


Commissioner Williams noted that the status for construction lettings and programs for Calendar year 2005 show, to date, $380 million projects awarded with another $50 million pending awarding from the August 5th letting.  He noted that there is approximately $300 to $350 million anticipated projects to be let during the remaining calendar months in 2005, with a Cabinet target for the year of $730 to $780 million dollars in total awarded projects. Historically, Commissioner Williams stated, construction lettings totaled $460 in FY 2004, $656 million in 2003, $694 million in 2002, and $775 million in 2001.


Commissioner Williams stated the construction lettings and programs for Calendar Year 2005 equal $60 million let (with $25 million remaining) for resurfacing (which also represents an increase in $20 million over the past years); $150 million let (with $200 million remaining) in Federal construction, and $22 million let (with $35 million remaining) in the GARVEE Program. He noted that there has been $40 million let in state construction and $70 million let (with $130 million remaining) in the State Bond Program. 


Commissioner Williams said that efforts to improve the contracting process and change orders have been put into place within the Cabinet.  He noted that some of these changes are in the engineer's estimating procedure to allow for estimates that are on balance, more accurate and better able to account for price fluctuations in specific unit bid items, such as fuel, steel, etc.  He said that since 2004, 50 percent of low bids fell within 10 percent of the engineer's estimate as compared to 2002 when only about a third of the low bids fell within that 10 percent range.  Commissioner Williams stated that from 2000 to the present, change orders from construction, resurfacing, mowing, striping, and other contract maintenance activities, have resulted in an increase of approximately $515,560,848, or an amount equalling 12.22 percent of the total in contract amounts.


With regards to the Federal Transportation Program Reauthorization, Commissioner Williams stated that Kentucky is guaranteed spending authority of $286.4 billion over the next six years.  This gives Kentucky an average annual federal apportionment of $632.7 million for FY 2005 to FY 2009, as compared to $485.5 million under the six years of TEA-21.  This, Commissioner Williams stated it is a 30 percent increase in funding levels for Kentucky.  In this $632.7 million is special earmarked projects of $350 million.


In closing, Commissioner Williams stated that the Cabinet will continue to rely upon improved efficiency and innovative financing mechanisms to provide a strong and sustainable transportation program for Kentucky.  The Cabinet plans to increase the maintenance funding to improve the condition and quality of the state's existing highway system, and has begun working on the 2006 edition of the Six Year Highway Plan.


Chairman Collins asked if the Cabinet posted the projects and awards after their are lettings.  Commissioner Williams said a person could find results to any letting by going to the Cabinet's website. 


Representative Gray stated that he was concern with the litter along the side of the state's highways and asked how much it cost to keep Kentucky's roads clean.  Commissioner Williams said that besides the biannual $5 million transfer to the Kentucky Pride Program for that purpose, the Cabinet spends about $10 million annually for highway clean-up.  And, Commissioner Williams noted that the Cabinet hopes to increase that amount in the upcoming years.


Representative Marcotte, recognizing that Kentucky is still considered a donor state with regards to Federal money appropriations, asked if the amount of money received by Federal government had increased.  Commissioner Williams said that in the past, Kentucky received 78 cents back for every dollar it sent to Washington, as opposed to it currently receiving around 92 cents back.  Commissioner Williams said that the amount will increase to 94.6 cents this year and 96.1 cents for FY 2008-09.


Representative Marcotte asked if the Cabinet conducted drug testing for crew members working in state's highway work zones.  Commissioner Williams said, except for those individuals who hold CDLs, the answer is no.


Representative Stewart asked if the Cabinet ever considered alleviating the financial burden of the poorer school districts from having to pay for access road repairs or construction of state right-of-ways, only to be reimbursed for those funds after the job is completed.  Commissioner Williams said that that has always been the state's policy to pay upon completion of the job.  Representative Stewart stated that it is nearly impossible for smaller districts to acquire adequate funding for such projects and asked if something could be done to assist these school districts.  Commissioner Williams said that he would look into the matter.


At this time Senator Guthrie assumed the chair.


Mr. Dan Barnett, Director, Drive Smart, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, presented highway safety issues.  Mr. Barnett said that the mission of the Drive Smart Program is to reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes on roadways in Kentucky.  And its vision, through public and private partnerships, is to achieve the most improved and sustainable downward trend in highway fatalities and injuries in the nation.


Mr. Barnett said that there are a number of projects initiated by the Cabinet to reach its mission.  Some of those are:  Drive Smart signage, blitzes, seatbelt survey and education programs, seatbelt awareness program rollover simulator, impaired driving program such as "ghost out" for teenagers, simulated mock crashes and fatal vision goggles, and guest speakers and information booths at various functions.  Mr. Barnett said that AAA offers a 4 hour video course  and a 4 hour hands-on-training course, which are both excellent courses.  Mr. Barnett said a Trimarc sign over I-64 in Jefferson County offers fatality information periodically for motorists enroute to Louisville and Artimis does the same on I-75 going into Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.


Mr. Barnett noted that House Bill 323 from the last session enacted an ATV Advisory Commission and that the Drive Smart Program has recently been appointed as the Cabinet's representative to help in the formation of the ATV Off-Road Advisory Commission.  He said that the Program is also in partnership with the University of Kentucky Transportation Center in offering an on-line course for public and private agencies on 15 passenger van training.


In conclusion, Mr. Barnett said that there are a number of ways the Transportation Cabinet is working to advise motorists of ways to drive smart and save lives.


The next item on the Committee's agenda was an analysis report of emergent motor vehicle injury data and safety belt use in the Barren River ADD.  This report was presented by Dennis Chaney, Executive Director, Barren River District Health Department and Nancy Quarcelino, Health Information Branch Director.


Mr. Chaney said that it was the goal of the Barren River ADD to strengthen local injury prevention efforts by alerting citizens of the increase benefits of using seat belts.  He said that the most vulnerable citizens are its youths between the ages of 16 and 19, they are the ones most likely not to use seat belts and the ones hurt the most in motor vehicle accidents.


Mr. Chaney noted that the report showed that in years 2003 through 2005, of the 332 vehicles observed, 252 children (ages 4-5) were either not in or not properly secured in child booster seats.  And, during that same period, of 1001 observations, 559 children (ages 6-12) were not correctly restrained. 


Ms. Quarcelino noted that during those same years, the observations (for ages 16 and older) showed that male drivers buckled up 20 percent more than female drivers.  The information obtained from hospital emergency departments and admissions, also show crash injuries occurred most often in the 20-29 age group, with ages 11-19 coming in second.  Ms. Quarcelino commented that ages 16 -19 would be the highest injured age group, if not coupled with the younger ages of 11-15.  The report also showed that ages 17 and 18 rank among the highest in on-road motor vehicle crashes


In conclusion, Mr. Chaney stated that using seat belts do save lives and reduce injuries.  He said this report showed that 21 percent of the people not wearing seat belts were killed, 9.4 percent incapacitated, and 16.1 percent sustained injuries; as compared to 0.1 percent fatalities, 1.6 percent incapacitated, and 4.8 percent persons injured using seat belts.


The last item on the Committee's agenda was an overview of the activities of the Governor's Highway Safety Program, presented by Lt. Eric Walker, Kentucky State Police.  Mr. Walker said 964 individuals died in Kentucky crashes in 2004, and that traffic fatalities increased 3.9 percent, with 36 more fatalities than during 2003.  Of those deaths, 71 percent killed were not using seat belts.


Mr. Walker said that Kentucky ranks fifth in the lowest seat belt use in the United States, and that 21 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia have all enacted primary seat belt legislation.  He noted the South Carolina's primary law will go into effect this January.


Mr. Walker said that in 1994, when the state's current seat belt legislation was enacted, Kentucky's usage rate increased 16 percent from 42 percent in 1993 to 58 percent in 1994.  Fatalities also decreased by 84 to 875 in 1993 to 791 in 1994.  Mr. Walker noted that in 2004, the lowest usage rates were seen on rural collector and local roads, with 57 percent of Kentucky fatalities occurring on rural roads.


Mr. Walker  said that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if Kentucky passes a primary seat belt law it would expect the average usage to increase  by 11 percent, save 62 additional lives, prevent an additional 740 serious injuries, and experience a cost savings of $148 million.  He said that statewide data showed that in 2000 there were 823 fatalities with 49 percent of those fatalities not wearing seat belts; the percentages increase accordingly - 2001 69 percent of the 843 fatalities were not using seat belts; 2002 66 percent  of the 917 fatalities; 2003 67 percent of the 931 fatalities, and in 2004, 71 percent of the state's 964 fatalities.


In closing, Mr. Walker noted that for the past several years, Kentucky's fatality rate from motor vehicle accidents of approximately 2.0 percent was substantially  higher than the national rate of 1.5 percent.  Mr. Walker said that Kentucky fatalities have increased from 819 fatalities in 1999 to 964 fatalities in 2004.


Before the meeting adjourned, Chairman Guthrie drew the members attention to a report in their packet of a statewide single audit of the Transportation Cabinet, by Crit Luallen, Auditor of Public Accounts, dated for year ended June 30, 2004.  The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.