Thesecond meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ernie Harris, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., David E. Boswell, David Givens, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Gary Tapp, and Ed Worley; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Linda Belcher, Tim Couch, Will Coursey, Jim DeCesare, David Floyd, Keith Hall, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Charles Miller, Lonnie Napier, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, Ancel Smith, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests Appearing Before the Committee: Bill May, Executive Director, County Clerks Association; Beverly Calvert, Allen County Clerk; Frank Friday, Jefferson County Deputy Clerk; Richard Dobson, Executive Director, and Jim Oliver, Director, Office of Sales and Excise Taxes, Department of Revenue; and from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Mike Hancock, State Highway Engineer; and Chuck Knowles, Deputy State Highway Engineer for Project Delivery.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Brandon White, Dana Fugazzi, and Linda Hughes.
Representative Charlie Miller moved to approve the Committee’s June 2, 2009 minutes, as submitted. Senator Boswell seconded the motion, which was adopted by voice vote.
The first person testifying before the Committee was Mr. Bill May, Executive Director, County Clerks Association. Mr. May noted a polling of county clerks regarding the feasibility of the county clerks issuing operator’s licenses, yielded (of the responses received) 27 county clerks were in favor of obtaining that responsibility, while 45 clerks stated they were not in favor of this charge. Mr. May indicated that the majority of the clerks asked for additional information before offering their final decision. Clerks in some of the smaller counties were especially concerned about additional expenses, office space, and employees.
Mr. May said that the concept of county clerks assuming the responsibility of issuing driver licenses is not a new one. He noted that county clerks were polled in the early 1990s for this same issue and he recalls that it was near a 50/50 split decision at that time, with the same concerns being raised by opponents.
Representative Henderson stated that he understood and sympathized with the increased workload for county clerks, but at the same time that he was more sympathetic with the taxpayers and streamlining state government.
Chairman Collins informed the Committee that he asked for the survey to study options in light of the new KAVIS system due to come online, and discussions with the Transportation Cabinet, AOC, circuit and county clerks, and the KSP regarding the future of the system. He also stated further discussion will take place at later meetings.
The treatment of roadside memorials was next time on the Committee’s agenda. Mr. Mike Hancock, State Highway Engineer, and Mr. Chuck Knowles, Deputy State Highway Engineer for Project Delivery, gave this presentation. Mr. Knowles said that while no Cabinet policy existed on the treatment of roadside memorials, he indicated that it was the Cabinet’s decision to treat these memorials respectfully and allow them as long as they do not interfere with traffic safety. He said that on occasion the state has had to remove a few memorials, particularly those of a large size or composed of materials that could cause a roadside hazard, but that on a whole, the majority of them have been allowed to remain.
Senator Blevins asked if there were any Federal restrictions on roadside memorials. Mr. Knowles stated no, not to his knowledge.
The next topic to be discussed was speed limits on the I-64/I-75 corridor in Lexington/Fayette County. Mr. Hancock and Mr. Knowles also testified on this subject. Mr. Hancock noted the inconvenience of the changing from 70MPH to 65MPH at that section of highway and stated that the Cabinet was presently considering raising that section to 70MPH. He noted that before that change could occur the Cabinet would look into several factors, i.e. road and public safety being the most important factor.
Chairman Collins noted that the speed limit sign was not noticeable from the outside lanes and if the Cabinet decided to keep the 65MPH limit, then he suggested that the Cabinet find a way to better inform the motoring public of the speed limit reduction.
The next item on the Committee’s agenda was the implementation of the trade-in credit for calculation of usage tax on new motor vehicles. Mr. Richard Dobson, Executive Director, and Jim Oliver, Director, Office of Sales and Excise Taxes, in the Department of Revenue spoke on this issue. Mr. Dobson stated that programming is underway in AVIS to allow county clerks to accept trade-in credit on new car transactions beginning September 1, 2009. He said that training sessions are scheduled for the middle of August for county clerks in Frankfort and four other remote sites across the state.
Mr. Dobson stated that with the cap at $25 million, the Department will file a regulation within the next few days outlining how car dealers will be kept informed about the running credit cap total and how the county clerks will be notified when the cap is reached. The Department will be communicating closely with clerks and dealers as the total credit claimed approaches the $25 million cap.
Mr. Dobson said that the credit program information will be placed in Department publications and other communications directly to stakeholders such as NADA and their member dealers, other dealerships, and the county clerks.
Chairman Collins encouraged the Department to be vigilant in reviewing affidavits to avoid problems experienced in the past with individuals possibly under reporting the amount paid for used vehicles, and pursuing those who do under report.
Co-Chairman Harris invited and informed the members of the Committee’s September 1, 2009 meeting, luncheon, and social event that will be held in LaGrange, Kentucky.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.