Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, September 4, 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, Ray S. Jones II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Damon Thayer, Johnny Ray Turner, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Kevin D. Bratcher, Tim Couch, Will Coursey, David Floyd, Keith Hall, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Donna Mayfield, Charles Miller, Terry Mills, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, John Short, Arnold Simpson, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Mike Hancock, Secretary; Tammy Branham, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management; Russ Romine, Executive Advisor, Department of Highways; Brian Wood, Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky.
Approval of Minutes
Representative Miller made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 17, 2012 meeting as submitted. The motion was seconded by Representative Pullin and adopted by voice vote.
Road Fund Update
Tammy Branham, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Fiscal Management gave a brief update on the Road Fund. Ms. Branham stated that Fiscal Year 2012 closed exceeding the Consensus Forecasting Group’s estimate by $31.3 million. The official estimate for Road Fund revenue was $1,412.5 billion; the total revenue collected for FY 2012 was $1,443.8 billion.
In response to Representative Collins, Ms. Branham stated that compressed natural gas used for motor vehicles is taxed as a special fuel. She explained that CNG is under the same tax structure as the motor fuels collection.
In response to Representative Lee, Secretary Hancock explained the Cabinet does not have a specific proposal on how to tax other alternative fueled vehicles, such as electric vehicles, that are not currently being taxed for road use.
Ms. Branham explained that during the Fiscal Year close out process $50.3 million was deposited into the Surplus Expenditure Plan. She stated that in comparing FY 2012 to FY 2011 there was fiscal growth in each of the three categories, Motor Fuels receipts had an increase of 7.8 percent, Motor Vehicle Usage receipts had an increase of 9.2 percent, and other taxes had an increase of 5.6 percent, which led to an overall increase of 7.8 percent from FY 2011. She further stated that the projected Road Fund estimates are $1,498.9 billion for FY 2013 and $1,568.0 billion for FY 2014.
In response to Representative Collins, Ms. Branham stated that the Road Fund Revenues for July 2012, the first month of the new fiscal year, increased approximately $117 million over July of 2011, a 3.5 percent growth.
MAP-21, Federal Highway Funding Reauthorization
Russ Romine, Executive Advisor, Department of Highways explained the previous federal highway funding bill, SAFETEA-LU, expired on September 30, 2009. Since that time, there have been ten extensions reauthorizing federal highway funds for 34 months. The new federal reauthorization bill, known as the Moving Ahead for Progression in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), became law on July 6, 2012. The law authorizes and funds the federal surface transportation program for 27 months; new provisions take effect on October 1, 2012, which is the state of the federal fiscal year. The bill includes $18.8 billion in general fund transfers into the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
Mr. Romine emphasized one of the main differences between SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21 is that MAP-21 consolidates the previous twelve funding categories into six categories: National Highway Performance; Surface Transportation Program; Transportation Alternatives; Metropolitan Planning; Congestion Mitigation; and Highway Safety Improvements.
A key element to MAP-21 is the institution of a performance-based, risk-based asset management plan designed to preserve and improve the condition of the national highway system by establishing performance measures and targets.
In response to questions from Representative Collins, Mr. Romine stated that MAP-21, in particular the safety program, will be more data driven, based on information that the state provides. Secretary Hancock added that there are two ways to build a sidewalk project: through a transportation alternatives project or in direct connection with an active construction project that included sidewalks.
In response to Representative Collins, Secretary Hancock stated that Transportation Cabinet staff evaluates every mile of pavement in the state of Kentucky to determine the conditions of the road and allow the Cabinet to determine where the focus of construction and repairs should be.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Romine stated Kentucky will receive $614 million in FY 2012 under SAFETEA-LU and $643.6 million in FY 2013 under MAP-21. He added MAP-21 and most of the provisions associated with it will begin October 1, 2012. Secretary Hancock explained that the recently enacted Six Year Road Plan and biennial construction plan would not be affected and that the various consolidated funding categories would mesh with the current plan. Transportation Enhancements were folded into a new “Transportation Alternative” category along with the Recreational Trails funding and the Safe Routes to Schools Program. The Cabinet will set forth the application process for these funds once more direction is received from the Federal Highway Administration.
In response to Senator Smith, Mr. Romine explained that the Cabinet will continue to monitor traffic and crash data on rural roads. If crash rates on rural roads increase over a two year period, the amount of Highway Safety Improvement funds used for projects to mitigate the dangerous situations on these roads would have to increase by at the least 200 percent. Secretary Hancock stated that, in Kentucky, high risk rural roads that have a high number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries every year have always been and will continue to be a high priority.
In response to Representative Steele, Secretary Hancock stated that the contract to repair the Eagners Ferry Bridge was approximately $7 million. He explained the Federal Highway Administration agreed to allow Kentucky to use Federal Emergency Relief Funds for this expenditure.
In response to Representative Collins, Secretary Hancock explained that the Federal Highway Administration will be working with the Appalachian Regional Commission to decide how to best set forth the Appalachian Highway System in the context of MAP-21.
In response to Representative Coursey, Secretary Hancock stated that typically, in the context of a federal highway act in referring to waterways and ports, Congress is generally referring to larger ports around the borders of the country, but occasionally there are discretionary funds available for inland waterways.
In response to Representative Riggs, Secretary Hancock stated that there are numerous factors that contribute to accidents on the narrow urban and rural roads in Kentucky. He explained that regardless the reason of the collision the Cabinet is doing everything it can to allow for more safety features to be added to roads to try and eliminate collisions when a vehicle departs the pavement as much as possible.
Unspent Federal Earmark Funds Returned to Kentucky
Russ Romine stated that on August 17, 2012 the United States Department of Transportation Secretary issued a directive to reallocate unobligated funding from projects earmarked for the FY 2003 to 2006 appropriations process. Nationwide, nearly 700 projects totaling $470 million are in this category; in Kentucky, there are 18 projects, totaling $17.5 million. A preliminary list of projects to be funded was provided to the committee and must be presented to the Department of Transportation by October 1, 2012 in order to claim the funds.
The unobligated funds on some of these projects are small sums, ranging from 44 cents to $20. Other funds can be used to reimburse the state for funds already spend on projects. When reauthorized, these funds can be used on the original project or any Title 23 or 49 eligible projects.
In response to Representative Collins, Secretary Hancock stated that at this time there is no national emphasis on I-66. In central Kentucky, the Louie Nunn Cumberland Parkway bears signage indicating that it is the future route for I-66.
Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky
Brian Wood, Executive Director, Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky gave a brief presentation and previewed the tour of the HG Mays Asphalt plant that would follow the meeting. The asphalt industry only provides most of the material to build Kentucky’s roads and employs between 4,000 and 5,000 people across the state.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m. until the next regularly scheduled meeting on October 2, 2012.