Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Hubert Collins, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, Jimmy Higdon, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Damon Thayer, Johnny Ray Turner, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Jim DeCesare, David Floyd, Keith Hall, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Donna Mayfield, Charles Miller, Terry Mills, Lonnie Napier, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, John Short, Arnold Simpson, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: For the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Steve Waddle, State Highway Engineer, Department of Highways, Jim LeFevre, Chief District Engineer, District 1; Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Motor Vehicle Regulation; Paul Mauer, Administrative Coordinator, Motor Vehicle Regulation; Terry Barnes, Contractor, Office of Information Technology; Kim Jenkins and Matt Osborne, Legislative Liaisons; William May, Kentucky County Clerks Association; Kevin Mooney, Bullit County Clerk.
Presentation regarding repair of Eggners Ferry Bridge
Steve Waddle, State Highway Engineer, Department of Highways, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet explained that the Eggners Ferry Bridge is located on the US 60/KY 80 corridor, crossing the Land between the Lakes recreation area. The bridge was originally built in 1932 to cross the Tennessee River; in 1943 and 1944 the bridge was then modified to cross the newly formed Kentucky Lake. The bridge has been in use for approximately 80 years.
Mr. Waddle stated that on January 26, 2012 the cargo ship M/V Delta Mariner holding rocket parts for NASA, collided with the bridge and completely destroyed a 322 foot span of the bridge. He explained that there were no fatalities or major injuries as a result of this accident. The accident occurred on Thursday evening, and by Friday at noon, the Cabinet had inspectors on the bridge analyzing the damage.
He stated that the first priority was to inspect for potential structural damage to the existing substructures on each of the piers still standing on either side of the destroyed span. On February 17, 2012 the Cabinet received the report of the inspection to find that there was no damage to any of the existing piers.
In response to Representative Collins, Jim LeFevre, Chief District Engineer in Paducah stated that there is no solid evidence as to how fast the watercraft was going, but the assumption is that the boat was running at full power.
In response to Representative Collins, Mr. Waddle stated that each span is connected to the piers by 5 foot long, approximately 1 inch round steel dowel rods drilled into the concrete of the pier; each pier has 4 rods to each main beam that allows for 8 steel rods attached at each pier.
Mr. Waddle briefly explained the timeline of events from the date of the accident to the final completion. He stated that the Cabinet received 3 quotes to complete the bridge and the low bid was awarded to Hall Contracting out of Louisville for $7 million and the contract was awarded on March 7, 2012. The terms of the contract was that the bridge was to be completed by May 27, 2012 with no incentive to complete early, but a $50,000 a day penalty for going over the projected completion date. The contractor finished the project early and the bridge was re-opened on May 25, 2012. After speaking with the Federal Highway Administration, it was agreed upon that federal funds would be used to pay for this project. Hall Contracting was also the company that repaired the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville last fall after a routine inspection found cracks in the welded supports of that bridge.
In response to Representative Collins, Mr. Waddle stated that the steel used for the bridge was made within the United States and readily available to the contractor.
In response to Senator Wilson, Mr. Waddle stated that the Cabinet has started looking for ways to keep this from happening again and keeping the bridges safe from these types of accidents again. He explained that the Cabinet is looking at lighting and properly marking the bridges over navigable waterways.
Presentation regarding final statewide implementation of the electronic auto insurance reporting system.
Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Motor Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet explained that since 1975 there has been a vehicle liability insurance requirement, however, it was not until 2004 when House Bill 29 was enacted that required an electronic verification between insurance companies and the state’s AVIS database.
Commissioner Zawacki stated that before enforcing this new electronic system the Cabinet put together a pilot testing group consisting of eight counties; Anderson, Ballard, Boyd, Bullitt, Christian, Laurel, Pike and Pulaski. Despite all testing there will be an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 uninsured notice letters to be sent out monthly during the first years of full statewide implementation. The letters will be received by the 5th business day of each month. Customers must take action within thirty days or have their vehicle registration cancelled.
He explained that there are four key issues that could cause a mismatch in the database. 1) A vehicle identification number (VIN) may not match between the insurance database and the AVIS database due to a typographical error of some kind, commonly a misplaced number in the VIN. 2) An insurance misclassification, such as a vehicle being classified as a personal vehicle when in fact it is a commercial vehicle or vice versa. 3) Incomplete title transfer, where a vehicle had recently been sold and 4) historic or seasonal vehicles. He pressed the fact that the key to understand is that a vehicle that is registered has to be insured under state law.
Commissioner Zawacki stated that the benefits to this new program are that insurance is automatically verified for approximately 90 percent of vehicle registration renewals. It will reduce the occurrence of forged or fake proof of insurance cards and encourages the uninsured to become insured.
He explained that the Cabinet’s website has several links to frequently asked questions that constituents can go through, there is the description of the mandatory insurance program, shows a sample notice, contact information, and various types of communication types are also being used to get the word out about the newly implemented program.
He stated that there have been several AVIS system trainings made available to county clerks, accessing the Department of Motor Vehicle Regulations customer service center has been made easier, and motor vehicle licensing staff has been trained and is ready to respond to insurance questions, both from the public and county clerks.
In response to Representative Collins, Paul Mauer, Administrative Coordinator, Motor Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet stated that there is no way that the county clerks or the Cabinet can intervene with enforcement on an individual that chooses to drive without valid insurance. Once the registration on a vehicle is suspended an individual may continue to drive until pulled over by a law enforcement personnel. However, when an individual comes to renew registration they will have to show proof of insurance at that point to renew their registration.
In response to Representative Floyd, Commissioner Zawacki stated that approximately 90 percent of the citizens are in the system as having insurance, and approximately 10 percent either are in fact uninsured or there has been an error that will be corrected when they come to their clerks’ office to verify insurance on their vehicle.
In response to Senator Leeper, Mr. Mauer explained that the 10 percent figure that was given previously would be classified as those with VIN mismatches, title transfer errors, or misclassification of insurance from the insurance company itself.
In response to Representative Lee, Commissioner Zawacki stated that if an individual disregards the notice from the county clerk stating that they are without insurance, that individuals’ registration will be suspended after 30 days in the AVIS system.
In response to Representative Lee, Commissioner Zawacki explained that the Cabinet would need to have legislative authority to require someone to surrender their vehicle tags after the 30 day deadline to provide proof of insurance.
In response to Representative Henley, Commissioner Zawacki stated that it is still required under statute for an individual to carry proof of insurance in their vehicle, even though law enforcement officials will have access to the AVIS system and be able to see if an individual has insurance or not.
In response to Representative DeCesare, Terry Barnes, Office of Information Technology, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet explained that if an individual received a letter in the mail, that individual would have to go to their local county clerks’ office to prove that they have insurance.
In response to Representative Hall, Mr. Mauer stated that the Cabinet has looked through the statutes as it relates to insuring classic cars and stated that there are two options; cancel registration and then when the driver wants to drive the vehicle again, re-register the vehicle, or keep valid registration and valid insurance on the vehicle year round. He stated that there was not currently anything in statute allowing owners of historic vehicles keep a valid registration while letting their insurance lapse and then renewing the insurance when they drive the vehicles again.
In response to Representative Belcher, Mr. Mauer stated that there is no penalty fee for an individual to renew their registration after it has been cancelled for lack of insurance.
In response to Representative Collins, Kevin Mooney, Bullitt County Clerk stated that during his tenure as county clerk there has been no notification as to when an individual is driving without insurance.
In response to Representative Floyd, Mr. Mooney stated that Bullitt County has started mailing out letters to inform those individuals who are non-compliant and driving without insurance that the clerks are aware and will cancel their registration if the clerk is not informed otherwise.
In response to Representative Belcher, Mr. Mooney stated that their experience has been that the vast majority of citizens receiving the notice who were honestly misclassified come to the clerk’s office within the first week of receiving the notice, but that the response tapers off considerably after the first week.
Presentation regarding implementation of legislation from the 2012 Regular Session
Kim Jenkins, Legislative Liaison, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet explained that all legislation that passed during the regular session that effects the Cabinet should be on target to meet the implementation dates as set out in the legislation, with two exceptions. House Bill 221 that allows for a veterans designation on their drivers license will be delayed due to programming issues resulting from the Cabinet re-digitizing drivers’ licenses. As soon as that is complete, the legislation should be fully implemented by in October 2012.
Matt Osborne, Legislative Liaison, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet stated the other bill that is will be delayed is House Bill 518 that sets the standard for farm implements in terms of escort vehicles. He explained that this bill required the Cabinet to redo some administrative regulations.
In response to Senator Schickle, Ms. Jenkins stated that after speaking with Veterans Affairs they are letting constituents know that are interested in the veterans’ designation on their drivers’ license that it will be October before that will be possible.
In response to Representative DeCesare, Mr. Osborne stated that the administrative regulation regarding escort vehicles for farm implements went through the Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee in May and will not be delayed from going into effect as originally scheduled.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.