Thefourth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, October 3, 2006, at 9:00 AM (CDT), at the Bowling Green Technical College TransPark Training Center, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Senator Brett Guthrie, Chair, 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., David E. Boswell, Robert J. (Bob) Leeper, Richard "Dick" Roeding, Richie Sanders, Jr., Gary Tapp, and David L. Williams; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Jim DeCesare, J. R. Gray, Melvin B Henley, Paul H. Marcotte, Marie L. Rader, Ancel Smith, Tommy Turner, and Mike Weaver. Legislative non-members attending the meeting were: Senator Carroll Gibson and Representatives Sheldon Baugh, James Comer, C. B. Embry, Fred Nesler, and Jodie Richards.
Guests Appear Before the Committee: Mr. Nathan Hodges, President, Bowling Green Technical College; James Hizer, President & CEO, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Transpark; Lt. Adam Whitlock, Kentucky State Police. Representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet were: Marc Williams, Commissioner, Department of Highways, Debra Gabbard, Executive Director, Office of Budget & Fiscal Management and Ginger Wills, Commissioner, Department of Intergovernmental Programs.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Jim Roberts, and Linda Hughes.
Persons welcoming the committee to the Bowling Green area were: Dr. Nathan Hodges, President, Bowling Green Technical College; Michael O. Buchanon, Warren Country Judge Executive; Representative Jodie Richards, Speaker of the House of Representatives; and James N. Hizer, President & CEO of Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Transpark.
Following a 30 minute slide show providing economic development in south central Kentucky and the Kentucky Transpark, Mr. Hizer said that a regional coalition of three cities and four counties are the financial supporters of the $25 million dollar Warren County bond issue for the Transpark. He said coupled with the state's $6 million seed grant, $1.2 million for internal roads, $1.3 million for highway widening on Kentucky Route 68 and Route 80, $4.5 million for rail infrastructure, and $7.5 million for the Bowling Green Technical College, Transpark is now a vital entity in south central Kentucky. This technological business and commerce park offers easy access to highway and rail transportation, as well as being environmentally friendly and attractive.
Mr. Hizer said that one business, Bowling Green Metalforming, which started production in June 2005, currently employs 700 in its one million square feet facility. When fully staffed it will employee approximately 1,100 employees. And, he said that the Bowling Green Technical College, Transpark Campus, offers apprenticeship programs in tool & dye and mechatronics, as well as other customized training for regional industries. Mr. Hizer stated that the General Assembly's recent appropriation to construct on Interstate Spur to the Transpark would further entice new industry to the area.
Next on the committee's agenda was an update on the major projects scheduled for letting during the next twelve months in the Barren River ADD. Commissioner Marc Williams, Kentucky Department of Highways, set out various projects scheduled for 2007. Some of the bigger projects noted were: a bridge replacement on KY 100 in Allen County with $2 million in state funds; overpass construction on KY 255 in Barren County with $1.7 million in Federal Funds; partial repaying on the Louie Nunn Parkway in Barren County, with $2.680 million in State funds; outer loop on US 68 in Glasgow, with $9.2 million in Federal Funds and $15.9 million in State funds; widening I-65 to 6 lanes in Simpson County, with $26 million in GARVEE Bonds with another portion of I-65 using $46 million in GARVEE Bonds; widening portions of I-65 in Warren County using $28 million in GARVEE Bonds; and $30 million in State Funds for the extension of the William Natcher Parkway to US-231 in Warren County.
Commissioner Williams stated that one of Governor Fletcher's goals was to improve the state's road system, particularly with safety in mind. He said that to date, there have been 70 less highway fatalities than this time last year.
Senator Boswell thanked the administration for removing the tolls on the state's two remaining parkways. Commissioner Williams noted that Governor Fletcher decided to remove the tolls next month (November 2006) as opposed to late 2007.
Explaining fuel tax revenue sharing to the committee was Debra Gabbard, Executive Director, Office of Budget & Fiscal Management, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Ms. Gabbard said that currently, the total per gallon motor fuel tax on passenger vehicles is 19.7 cents for gasoline and 16.7 cents for diesel; on motor carriers the total rates are 22.7 cents for gasoline and 23.6 cents for diesel fuel. The tax amount include the 1.4 cents per gallon Underground Storage Tank fee, which does not go to the road Fund. The motor fuels tax generates approximately $562.8 million annually for the State Road Fund. She said a one cent increase in motor fuels taxes generates approximately $30 million to that Fund. The allocation of motor fuels tax for FY 2007 shows 51.8 percent for state revenues, 22.2 percent for Rural Secondary, 18.3 percent for County Road Aid, and 7.7 percent for Municipal Road Aid.
Ms. Gabbard stated that Kentucky's gas tax ranks 40th, in the nation, and is 5 cents lower than the average tax rate of its surrounding states.
Ms. Ginger Wills, Commissioner, Department of Rural and Municipal Aid, said that Phase I Formula Bond Funds for the Barren River ADD are $4,755,074 in county bonds and $1,205,087 in municipal bonds, and the Phase II Discretionary Bond Funds are $6,379,153 in county bonds, and $1,710,500 in municipal bonds. She was on hand to answer individual county officials' questions after the meeting.
The Committee reviewed Executive Order E.O. 2006-1015 which was explained by Marc Williams, Commissioner, Department of Highways, Transportation Cabinet, and Administrative Regulation 502 KAR 10:110 & E (Third-party CDL skills test examiner standards), which was explained by Lt. Adam Whitlock, Kentucky State Police.
Before adjourning the meeting Chairman Guthrie drew the members' attentions to a response by the Transportation Cabinet to a question raised during the committee's September meeting.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 10:55 A.M. (CDT).