Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefirst meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, July 6, 2010, at 1:00 PM, in Room 171 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, Jimmy Higdon, Bob Leeper (by teleconference), R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, and Gary Tapp,; Representatives John A. Arnold Jr., Eddie Ballard, Linda Belcher, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, 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, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Alecia Webb-Edgington. Representative Fred Nesler attended the meeting as a guest.
Guests Appearing Before the Committee: Dean Johnson, Laurel County Clerk; Tony Watts, Breathitt County Clerk; Bobby Phillips, Simpson County Clerk; Judy Taylor, Fayette County Urban Government and Commerce Lexington; and Shanon Schug, Prestress Services Industries, LLC. The following individuals represented the Transportation Cabinet: Geri Grigsby, Chief of Staff; Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, and Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, and Paul Mauer, Department of Vehicle Regulation.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Dana Fugazzi, and Linda Hughes.
Continued Discussion on the Plate to Customer System
Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, and Paul Mauer, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Transportation Cabinet, discussed the pros and cons of the state changing its motor vehicle license format from the current plate-to-vehicle (P2V) format, where the plate remains with the vehicle upon transfer, to a plate-to-customer (P2C) format, where the plate remains with the individual who sold the vehicle, to be placed on a new vehicle he or she obtains. Kentucky is one of only 12 states that utilize the P2V format, while 38 states utilize P2C. This potential change arose with the state’s conversion of its AVIS system to the more technologically advanced KAVIS system, developed by 3M. Legislation during the 2010 Regular Session (House Bill 470) would have mandated this change, however, during the latter part of the bills process to becoming law; several county clerks began to raise questions and expressed opposition to HB 470. As a result, the legislation failed to pass.
Since the KAVIS system comes programmed to the P2C format, retaining the P2V procedure would cost the state an additional $150,000 to have 3M reprogram its system. Additionally, if the state at a later date decided to go to the P2C format, it would cost the state another half a million dollars to program the system back to its original format.
Transportation Cabinet officials stated that every state using the P2C format stressed its convenience not only to their clerks and transportation agencies, but to its law enforcement officers and its court systems. The most significant benefit raised by the states surveyed was that the P2C format allowed parking fines and other citations to more easily follow offenders. The Cabinet also stated that the three groups that would be impacted the most by the new format (law enforcement, county clerks, and the Motor Vehicle Commission) are largely in favor of this move.
Bobby Phillips, Simpson County Clerk, representing the County Clerks Association, noted that the association voted 38-12 in favor of this change at a recent meeting. The association expressed its commitment to help craft the best legislative solution.
Dean Johnson, Laurel County Clerk, and Tony Watts, Breathitt County Clerk, stated that there needed to be a “date certain” of when the buyer must transfer the automobile into their name, something HB 470 did not stipulate. They stressed by not stipulating a date certain clause they saw the potential of state and taxpayer confusion, particularly over the determination of ownership for property tax purposes. Further they said that since the county clerks are the “front line” to the taxpayers, they envisioned their employees would be under more fire than they already are.
Another concern by the clerks was the use of temporary tags. County clerks realize a significant amount of money from these tags and they did not see how the temporary tags would play a role in the P2C format.
The Committee members noted the clerks’ concerns and assured them that they would all be taken under advisement. Co-chairman Collins stated that this change was the result of the state converting to the new KAVIS system and he, nor any of the committee members wanted to see county clerks penalized in any way due to this change. He assured the clerks that legislation for the 2011 Regular Session would be drafted for the P2C format and that all possible measures would be taken to protect the clerks in this legislation.
Chairman Harris commented that he hoped all affected parties would come to an agreement prior to 2011 so as to have the legislation adopted without problems.
Rush Hour Time Restrictions on Over-Dimensional Permit Travel In Metropolitan Counties
Currently, KRS 189.270 addresses the operation of vehicles on an overdimensional permit, allowing the Transportation Cabinet to limit travel on overdimensional permits from 6:00-9:00 AM and 3:00-6:00 PM. The Transportation Cabinet has promulgated a regulation, 601 KAR 1:018 which prohibits travel on an overdimensional permit in metropolitan areas, including Fayette County, from 7:00-9:00 AM and 4:00-6:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
Prestress Services Industries LLC asked to discuss problems caused by the time restrictions on traveling through Kentucky’s metropolitan counties during rush hours, especially in getting material north to Indiana and Ohio. Prestress Services specializes in the design and construction of prestressed, precast components for use in bridge, marine, floodwall and piling projects. One particular component that they transport is bride girders, which can be up to 150 feet long. Representing the company, Mr. Schug commented that since 1997 they have shipped over 12,000 of these components with no accidents occurring. He said that his company recognizes the danger in transporting these large components and has made the decision to only transport them during daylight hours, even though they would not run into any shipping problems in Kentucky if they transported them during nighttime hours, since Kentucky has no evening travel restrictions. However, by making this safety decision the company has faced extreme travel constraints which make it nearly impossible to conduct business in certain areas. Mr. Schug stated that his company lost approximately $20 million last year and to-date this year as lost $10 million in business due to the transporting time restrictions.
Ms. Judy Taylor, a representative for Fayette County Urban Government and Commerce Lexington, stated that she hoped that some change could be made to the regulation to allow limited travel during rush hours based on specific routes and compliance with safety regulations. She said that Prestress Services and the Transportation Cabinet are in the process of determining what could be done to assist this company. She hoped that something will be forthcoming.
Committee members agreed that something needed to be done to assist businesses who are at a competitive disadvantage because of this regulation. Members complimented Mr. Schug on his company’s decision to place safety over money and asked the Transportation Cabinet to notify the Committee if legislation was required to assist in this matter.
Potential Concerns With Implementing Legislation Enacted During the 2010 Extraordinary Session
Ms. Grisby, Chief of Staff, Transportation Cabinet stated that the Cabinet is currently not experiencing any problem due to implementing the new legislation. She stated that perhaps it was a little early to detect any such problems and that if any occur at a later date the Cabinet would notify the Committee.
Representative Henderson stated his displeasure with line item veto number 5 by Governor Beshear to the 2010-2012 Biennial Highway Construction Plan. This was for the Woodland Industrial Park Access Road in Montgomery County in the amount of $500,000. Representative Henderson said over 500 people work in the area and stressed its need due to safety issues and asked that the Cabinet find a way to accomplish this project.
Before adjourning the meeting Chairman Harris informed the members that its next meeting would be held on August 10th, pending LRC approval, at 10:00 AM in Frankfort.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:20 PM.