Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, November 16, 2010, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Hubert Collins, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., David E. Boswell, Jimmy Higdon, Bob Leeper, John Schickel, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Linda Belcher, Tim Couch, Will Coursey, Jim DeCesare, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Lonnie Napier, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: Secretary Mike Hancock, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Tammy Branham, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Kimberly Jenkins, Legislative Liaison, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation, Transportation Cabinet; Angela Evans, Attorney, Office of the Attorney General.
Update on design-build projects
Mike Hancock, Secretary, Transportation Cabinet stated that design-build projects are different from normal project activity, where projects are designed in one stage, then carried into the utility and right-of-way phases, and lastly bid for the construction phase. Design-build projects involve one bid encompassing all phases of a project from design through construction. He described the 9 design-build projects in Fayette, Warren, Taylor, Whitley, Hardin, Trigg, Wolfe, Cumberland, and Garrard counties, totaling approximately $258 million. These projects have either been completed or at an advance stage of completion. Work on one proposed design-build projects, in Whitley County, was cancelled.
Representative Collins asked if the Cabinet had analyzed any savings or time involved in completing the projects. Secretary Hancock stated that design-build works best with there are no utility or right of way issues. This type of project can also be quicker and cheaper than traditional methods in those circumstances.
Representative Collins asked how bids compared with the estimated cost of the projects. Secretary Hancock said that once the projects had been awarded, the Cabinet was satisfied that the work was going to be done within the estimated cost.
Representative DeCesare asked how many projects had begun and been completed within the current administration. Secretary Hancock stated that all projects were awarded during the previous administration. The first project was completed in May, 2008.
Representative DeCesare asked about the Cabinet's future plans for design-build projects. Secretary Hancock stated that design-build projects are very useful and the General Assembly has been very deliberate about giving the Cabinet the opportunity to participate in design-builds. The Cabinet would like the opportunity to participate in more design-build projects.
Road Fund Revenue Update
Tammy Branham, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management gave a brief discussion of the Fiscal Year 2011 estimated Road Fund compared to Fiscal Year 2010 actual revenue. FY 2011 revenue is projected to increase by 4.9 percent over FY 2010 when broken down into three categories motor fuel tax is estimated to increase by 3.8 percent, the motor vehicle usage tax, 9 percent growth and the other taxes 1.9 percent growth.
Ms. Branham stated that through October the FY 2011 actual road fund revenue that has been collected totals approximately $439 million. The official revenues estimate for FY 2011 is approximately $1.265 billion. The actual revenue through October exceeds the revenue estimate by over 4 percent.
Representative Henley asked how much of the extraordinary increase in the motor vehicle usage tax collections would be attributed to the program authorized for giving trade in allowance credit for new motor vehicle purchases. Ms. Branham stated that the state hit the $25 million cap allotted to the trade in credit in August 2010.
Ms. Branham quoted the Governor's Office for Economic Analysis First Quarter report regarding the motor vehicle usage tax stating it is expected that the tax will rebound strongly through the end of the fiscal year due to the expiration of legislation which depressed collections in FY 2010.
Secretary Hancock said that growth in the road fund in the first few months of FY 2011 indicated that there might be some additional authority to spend state funds faster than originally expected. Included in the road plan were $325 million of state fund ability to spend.
Representative Pullin asked whether the savings from the furloughs of Transportation Cabinet employees were included. Ms. Branham stated that the figures were based strictly on road fund revenue collections.
Representative Pullin asked if the savings that accrue from the Transportation Cabinet employee furloughs accrued to the General Fund or to the Road Fund. Ms. Branham stated that the savings go to the Road Fund, and even though those numbers were not depicted in the new revenue collection numbers, the savings that will result are included in the Cabinet's Road Fund cash projections.
Representative Henderson asked what had been causing a spike in increased revenue on the motor vehicle usage tax. Ms. Branham stated that there has not been large growth in the motor vehicle usage tax thus far this fiscal year. There is an anticipation of growth compared to last fiscal year will rebound from this point forward, partly because the trade in credit expired.
Representative Stewart asked how many projects in the two year road plan are ahead of schedule. Secretary Hancock stated that last year there was $800 million worth of work awarded, and this year the cabinet is on target to award almost $900 million worth of work. Every project is subject to its own unique circumstances, and any project has the potential to get behind based on situations happening out of the plan.
Consideration of the Committee's September 7, 2010 and October 1, 2010 Minutes
Representative Pullin moved to amend the minutes from the September 7, 2010 meeting to include her question asking Secretary Hancock whether the savings accruing from the Transportation Cabinet employees went to the General Fund or the Road Fund, with his answer being to the Road Fund. The motion was seconded by Representative Henderson. Representative Henderson moved to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Senator Boswell and adopted by voice vote.
Representative Ballard introduced Todd P’Pool, the re-elected county attorney from Hopkins County; Shawn Roberts, the newly elected member of the Hopkins County Fiscal Court; Dave Jackson, Mayor-elect in Madisonville; and Ben Wade, State Representative-elect from the 10th district.
Transportation Cabinet Legislative Priorities for the Upcoming Session
Kimberly Jenkins, Legislative Liaison discussed new legislation that the Transportation Cabinet plans on pursuing during the 2011 session. The first is enhanced booster seat legislation. The federal government recommends children under the age of 8 and under 57 inches in height be restrained in a booster seat. Current Kentucky law is that any child under the age of 7 and who is between 40 and 50 inches in height be properly secured in a booster seat. About 60 percent of car-related injuries to children are due to being improperly secured in a booster seat.
Representative Collins asked if there were any monetary incentives. Ms. Jenkins stated that the federal government will supply the state with $250,000 that will be used to purchase booster seats for low income families. The money was not the reason the cabinet was pursuing this change.
The second piece of legislation is the Plate to Customer (P2C) legislation, which would change Kentucky from a Plate to Vehicle (P2V) registration titling system to a P2C with the implementation of KAVIS. Current law states that when a vehicle is sold, the registration plate remain with the vehicle. With the implementation of this legislation, the registration and license plate would stay with the customer to either be used for a replacement vehicle or surrendered to the local county clerk.
Representative Webb-Edgington asked whether, when a law enforcement officer runs a tag with the new system and the plate follows the owner, the plate will be updated to correspond with the new vehicle and how long will it take for that information to be entered into the database. Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Vehicle Regulation said that when a person purchases a vehicle from a dealership and the customer has a plate from a previous vehicle, he or she must hold a temporary tag until that person can go to the local county clerk’s office and get the registration switched to the new vehicle.
Representative Webb-Edgington asked if the new database will be updated in a timely fashion so that law enforcement will know what vehicle corresponds with a particular license plate. Mr. Zawacki stated that the new vehicle that is tagged with the plate that follows the customer will be associated with that tag.
Representative Henderson asked if going P2C would reduce the time it would take to register a license plate to a new vehicle and reduce the amount of temporary tags there are on vehicles. Mr. Zawacki stated that with P2C that license plate would always stay with that customer, so there would be less of a lag in registering that plate with a new vehicle.
Senator Leeper asked how to correct the problem of Kentucky vehicle owners with farm tags driving into Illinois and failing to comply with the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requirements of that state. Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Vehicle Regulation, stated the general Kentucky farm tag is valid on a vehicle up to 38,000 pounds. IFTA states that a qualified motor vehicle is determined by the gross vehicle weight rating of that vehicle or the registered weight of that vehicle. Kentucky farm tag vehicles have a registered weight of 38,000 pounds, and the IFTA requirement applies above 26,000 pounds. Illinois does not exempt farmers from the fuel tax license, as Kentucky does, and is citing some Kentucky farmers with the Kentucky farm tag. The cabinet is proposing to look into the issue and maybe add an additional class within a farm tag so that these farmers will no longer get cited out of Kentucky.
Representative Simpson asked where the cabinet was on the proposal to replace the Brent Spence bridge in Northern Kentucky. Secretary Hancock stated that the bridge project is in the preliminary engineering stage and are making sure that options that are being proposed for this bridge are options that work best for Kentucky.
Representative Simpson asked when the Cabinet will be in a position to make a recommendation for the project. Secretary Hancock stated that the biggest issue is available funding. A recommended alternative could probably come in several months. The ability to fund the project is going to be the ultimate issue.
Consideration of Referred Administrative Regulations
Representative Belcher asked 201 KAR 40:050, where language requiring a criminal records check was being deleted. Angela Evans, Assistant Attorney General stated that the language is currently in statute and is not required to be in regulation.
After a brief discussion, the Committee raised no objections to the following regulations: 201 KAR 40:040, 201 KAR 40:050, 201 KAR 40:060, 201 KAR 40:070, 201 KAR 40:080, 201 KAR 40:100.
The chairman acknowledged Senator Boswell and Representative Ballard in their last meeting on the Transportation Committee and noted the committee’s appreciation of both members. Senator Boswell and Representative Ballard expressed their pleasure and honor to be able to serve on this committee and their gratitude at having been able to serve their constituents.