Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 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; Senators David Givens, Jimmy Higdon, Paul Hornback, Ray S. Jones II, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Damon Thayer, Johnny Ray Turner, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Will Coursey, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Donna Mayfield, Charles Miller, Terry Mills, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, John Short, Arnold Simpson, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, David Watkins, and Addia Wuchner.
Other Legislators in Attendance: Representative Fred Nesler.
Guests: From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Mike Hancock, Secretary, Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Motor Vehicle Regulation, Rebecca Goodman, Executive Director, Office of Legal Services, Winn Turney, Commissioner, Department of Aviation, Steve Marcozzi, Branch Manager, Inspections Branch, Ann Dangelo, Attorney, Office of Legal Services, Steve Waddle, State Highway Engineer, Department of Highways; Gary White, Cumberland County Corner; John Phelps, Jr., Cumberland County Judge Executive; Stevie Wheat, Cumberland County Sheriff; Michael Meeks, James Simpson, Rick Fanelli
Consideration of the Committee's July 5, 2011 Minutes
Representative Nelson made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 5, 2011 meeting as submitted. The motion was seconded by Representative Henderson and adopted by voice vote.
Chairman Harris noted that Representative Collins was not in attendance because he was in Washington D.C. attending a meeting of Transportation Committee Chairmen from selected states, sponsored by the Council on State Governments.
Procedures and Statistics for Taxicab and Limousine Licenses and Other Certificates of Convenience and Necessity Issued by the Department of Vehicle Regulation
Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Motor Vehicle Regulation explained the types of motor carrier passenger vehicles, which include: taxicab, limousine, disabled persons’ vehicle, airport shuttle vehicles, and charter and other buses. KRS Chapter 281 governs the process for obtaining a certificate of authority to operate as a motor carrier.
Mr. Zawacki stated that an applicant must show that (1) it is fit, willing, and able to perform the service proposed, and (2) the existing transportation service is inadequate and the proposed service is required by the present or future public convenience and necessity. To prove necessity, substantial inadequacy of existing service must be demonstrated, due either to a substantial deficiency of facilities or the indifference, poor management, or disregard of the rights of consumers. In addition, if existing carriers express a desire and willingness to render any additional service that the department may deem necessary, no need for an additional carrier exists.
Rebecca Goodman, Executive Director, Office of Legal Services testified about the Department of Vehicle Regulation passenger authority application process as set out by KRS Chapter 13B and KRS Chapter 281. This process can be very cumbersome depending on the situation and can as much as a year to complete. She explained the process and timeline.
Mr. Zawacki explained how many existing motor carrier certificates have been awarded and how many vehicles qualify under these certificates. Statewide, there are 888 taxicabs, 364 disabled persons’ vehicles, and 141 limousines. In 2009 and 2010 combined, of the 104 taxi applications that have been resolved, only eight were denied on merit, meaning that the carriers could not demonstrate sufficient capability or need in the areas for which the application was filed. Over the same period, two of 65 disabled persons’ vehicle applications and two of 42 limousine applications were denied on merit. Another reason applicants may not be approved is a failure to proceed, in which applicants may not have filed the proper paperwork in time or met certain guidelines for timing, and therefore the applications are considered null.
In response to Senator Harris, Mr. Zawacki stated that a denial on merit was based on the fact that there was not a necessity or the carrier could not demonstrate capability in the market.
In response to Senator Jones, Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation stated that the regulation requires each carrier perform a driving history review of the drivers on an annual basis.
In response to Representative Riggs, Ms. Goodman stated that under KRS Chapter 281, the cabinet is required to send a notice to each carrier in the same area that a new applicant seeks to provide a similar type service in, and give it an opportunity to protest the application.
In response to Representative Pullin, Ms. Goodman stated that if an application goes without protest, after all notices have been given, the process would take approximately 60 to 90 days. She added that, if an application is protested, the process can take in excess of a year to complete.
Michael Meeks, Frankfort Lobbyist LLC., James Simpson, Executive Transportation, and Rick Fanelli, Fan-Van discussed some issues, proposals, and suggestions affecting the passenger vehicle industry.
Mr. Meeks discussed the following issues that deal with passenger vehicle providers: state preemption of local laws, regulations and restrictions; review of the administrative hearing process; the duty of the Attorney General and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to defend the rights of certificate holders to use licenses within the Commonwealth against quasi-governmental entities that seek to limit such rights and the role of the Kentucky State Police; the authority of the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to issue temporary authority to operate and qualifications of entities being issued temporary authority; the effect of placing certificates of authority to operate in escrow; and repeal of state charter bus certificates, for which the federal government has preempted state authority.
As a passenger vehicle carrier, Mr. Simpson expressed his concerns about how changing the statute would make owning and operating a business much easier. Mr. Fanelli discussed the same issues only from the side of an individual trying to start a new business.
In response to Senator Wilson, Mr. Simpson explained that, in his view, the cabinet has the resources to determine whether a potential carrier is capable to perform the job or not and competing carriers should not have the opportunity to protest a new carriers application.
Inspection Program for Helipads
Steve Marcozzi, Branch Manager, Inspections Branch stated that in 2009 the state had on record 52 licensed private heliports. The Department of Aviation received numerous requests during that time for data on heliports for which the Department had no record. After the requests were made, the department looked into finding all the heliports and temporary landing zones, and found that 86 had never been inspected for safety or licensed. Out of the 154 heliports that the department found, approximately 16 known landing areas have currently not yet been inspected, which include new construction.
Mr. Marcozzi stated that there are several federal and state statutes that require heliports to be licensed, mainly due to safety reasons. In order to ensure safety of flight crews, patients, people on the ground, and other aircraft, heliports need to be inspected and licensed by the state.
Each owner of a heliport is responsible for ensuring that the landing area follows FAA guidelines. According to these guidelines, the minimum landing pad size for a medical use heliport is a 40 foot by 40 foot concrete surface. At least one unobstructed approach surface must be provided to the heliport which is compatible with the largest helicopter given permission to use the facility. Any airport in the state without a license is unfit as an airport facility and cannot be used by any person for the taking off or landing of aircraft.
Mr. Marcozzi stated that a heliport by definition is a site that has been used or intended for use for more than one year with flight operations on three or more days in any one week, or flight operations that number more than ten in one day. A medical emergency site, which is an unprepared site at or near the scene of an accident or similar medical emergency on which a helicopter may land to pick up a patient in order to provide emergency medical transport, would not be considered a heliport.
When the department inspects heliport landing areas, it inspects the landing facility for safe approaches and an adequate surface for safe operations. It makes sure the heliport is documented with the FAA so there is adequate and accurate navigation data available for pilots with no airspace conflicts. Finally, it ensures that the heliport is in compliance with state regulations and is licensed.
In response to Senator Smith, Mr. Marcozzi stated that part of the difficulty the department is facing is that most of the facilities being inspected are existing facilities. Alternatives are being designed to make the heliports safer.
Status of the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville
Mike Hancock, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, testified about the Sherman Minton Bridge, which was recently closed due to structural concerns. He said that the bridge carries I-64 over the Ohio River west of Louisville. Kentucky and Indiana share maintenance responsibility for the bridge, with Indiana being the lead state for inspection and repairs under a memorandum of agreement that dates to August 5, 1963.
The Sherman Minton Bridge was built in 1962 and, at that time, represented an innovated lightweight, double-deck, tied-arch bridge design that used high-strength steel and welded joints to carry the four lane traffic load. The bridge has been routinely inspected for many years. Since 1981, non-destructive, visual tests have been repeatedly conducted to monitor the bridge for cracks or other signs of deterioration.
Secretary Hancock stated that on September 8, 2011, while conducting a rigorous inspection, a two and one-half inch crack was discovered when the contractor removed plates on a tie near the Kentucky shore. Based on advice from the contractor and Indiana Department of Transportation engineers, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ordered the bridge closed the following day.
Since the closure of the I-64 bridge, the Federal Highway Administration, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Indiana Department of Transportation, Metro Louisville, and the Indiana communities of New Albany and Jeffersonville have worked diligently to implement appropriate detours using I-65 and I-265, as well as the US 31 Clark Memorial Bridge at Second Street in downtown Louisville.
Additionally and simultaneously to the inspection effort, design teams have been developing repair alternatives to safely restore the bridge to service as quickly as possible. The retrofit and strengthening of the Sherman Minton Bridge is expected to cost approximately $20 million and will take six months or less to construct. This will add approximately 20 years or more to the existing bridge.
Kentucky's share of the repair cost will be 50 percent ($10 million). The funds will be come from the Federal Highway Administration discretionary funds of approximately $2.5 million and from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's six year highway plan funds budgeted for general interstate bridge maintenance ($3 million). The last $4.5 million will come from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's maintenance budget.
Secretary Hancock explained that the closure of the bridge has been disruptive to Louisville area traffic patterns. However, the annual bridge inspection process did its job, and potential tragedy was averted.
In response to Senator Harris, Secretary Hancock stated that the crack was originally discovered on September 8, and at the time it was unknown how long it had been there. After forensic testing, it was determined it had been there virtually from the time of construction.
In response to Senator Harris, Secretary Hancock stated that there is an incentive program for the contractor of the bridge where the contractor may earn $100,000 for each day, up to $5 million, that the project can be finished before the six month deadline. If the contract goes over the six month deadline, there is a $100,000 per day penalty with no maximum.
In response to Representative Riggs, Secretary Hancock stated there have been tremendous strides from both states to ensure that the traffic gets detoured adequately and in a timely fashion. Indiana worked out some minor adjustments to I-265 that allowed traffic to move smoother. Kentucky also made adjustments to the Clark Memorial Bridge that instituted a reversible lane concept. He said the Norfolk Southern Bridge has been out of service for such a period of time that the cabinet has concerns about adding increased traffic to that bridge.
In response to Senator Hornback, Secretary Hancock stated the first few days after the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed, both the Kennedy Bridge and the Clark Memorial Bridge were examined to make sure there were no problems. Inspections showed that the bridges were in good shape and able to withstand the additional traffic loads.
In response to Senator Hornback, Steve Waddle, State Highway Engineer, Department of Highways, explained that the design firm that is assisting with the plan to fix the Sherman Minton Bridge looked over all the calculations of the added steel and materials and is convinced that the bridge can handle the extra weight.
In response to Senator Harris, Secretary Hancock stated that on the Kentucky side of the bridge there was a resurfacing project that was planned for a later date, but while the bridge is closed the work will be done.
In response to Representative Simpson, Secretary Hancock stated that the Interstate Maintenance Fund is utilized only for interstate bridges, and the state funds are used for a variety of bridges across the state.
In response to Senator Givens, Secretary Hancock explained the Kennedy and the Clark Memorial bridges were inspected differently than the Sherman Minton because of the difference in design type. He explained that both the Clark and the Kennedy went under the routine maintenance inspections and were found to be satisfactory by the Federal Highway Administration.
Consideration of Referred Administrative Regulation 601 KAR 11:035 - Waiver of skills test for military personnel (CDLs)
Senator Harris gave a brief explanation of the regulation. No objection was raised to the proposed Administrative Regulation.
John Phelps, Jr., Cumberland County Judge Executive, Stevie Wheat, Cumberland County Sherriff, and Gary White, Cumberland County Coroner, discussed safety concerns with KY Highway 90 West.
Mr. Phelps gave a brief overview of KY 90 and where the problem areas are. In the section of highway from Owens Road to Norris Branch road, there have been 43 accidents since October 2010, three of which were fatalities.
Mr. Phelps asked the committee to review KY 90 and to take into consideration a plan to renovate the road in order for the dangers of the road to be fixed.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.