Statewide Long-Range Transportation Policy Plan Update
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Statewide Long-Range Transportation Policy Plan Update Transportation Stakeholders Group Public Open House Meeting Wasilla, Alaska July 18, 2007 Lois N. Epstein, P.E. Engineer and Director, AK Transportation Priorities Project (Anchorage, AK) [email protected]

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Statewide Long-Range Transportation Policy Plan UpdateTransportation Stakeholders GroupPublic Open House Meeting Wasilla, AlaskaJuly 18, 2007

Lois N. Epstein, P.E.

Engineer and Director, AK Transportation Priorities Project

(Anchorage, AK)

[email protected]

www.aktransportation.org

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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What is the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project?

ATPP:

  • Works on transportation systems, projects, and policies

  • Promotes safe, economic, well-maintained, and environmentally-appropriate transportation

  • Consists of an alliance of conservation organizations, some businesses, some individuals

  • Funded by foundations, businesses, individuals

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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What is the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project? Continued…

ATPP:

  • Has an advisory board including two former state commissioners (DNR, Highways)

  • Uses Southeast Alaska Conservation Council as its “fiscal sponsor”; SEACC performs administrative and financial services for ATPP, which has independent decision-making authority from SEACC

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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My Background/Credentials Continued…

  • Practicing engineering for over 20 years (licensed since 1989 – MD, 2003 - AK)

  • Worked in the private, public, and non-profit sectors

  • Served on several federal advisory committees, with appointments by Cabinet members (DOT, EPA)

  • Delivered invited Congressional testimony over 10 times

  • Stanford, M.S.; bachelors degrees from MIT and Amherst College

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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What ATPP Can Bring to the Table Continued…

  • Public and non-profit organizational support for ADOT actions

  • Public education on issues like the changing federal funding environment

  • Conservation, safety, and fiscal responsibility advocacy

  • Serving as a watch-dog for ADOT decisions

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Notable Process Problems with Continued… Statewide LRTPP Development

  • No TSG members representing conservation, non-motorized transportation, tribal, or worker interests

  • Public meetings are not convenient and accessible (midsummer in Wasilla is not convenient or accessible); the 2020 LRTPP involved two public committees (one with 600 members), statewide radio call-ins, meetings in many communities, and a state fair booth

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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ATPP Supports the Following from TSG Interviews Continued…

  • AMHS is important to the state, not just SE

  • Lack of adequate operations and maintenance funding needs to be remedied

  • Lack of transit funding needs to be remedied

  • Earmarks for mega-projects mean less money for smaller projects statewide; avoid high-cost projects

  • Engaging more people in the process would increase effectiveness

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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ATPP Supports the Following from the Transportation Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

  • “priorities should be influenced less by politics and more by data, need…” (p. 2)

  • “[Juneau and Ketchikan] projects are seen as a severe drain on resources” (p. 2)

  • Earmarks “basically trump all other project priorities, even those in the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) due to [the] influence behind them” (p. 2)

  • “Clearly showing the entire funding sources in the STIP for all projects including “mega projects” is needed” (p. 2)

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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ATPP Supports the Following from the Transportation Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

  • “modernize aged [AMHS] vessels with more route and user appropriate vessels that burn less fuel and require less manpower” (p. 3)

  • “consistent, stable ferry schedule known well in advance” (p. 3)

  • “too much of the state’s limited funding is going to projects that do not assist with the National Highway System” (p. 8)

  • “Develop a State Funded Transportation and Maintenance program” (p. 9)

  • “the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) project needs to follow a more methodical and deliberate approach” (p. 12)

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Policy Addition Needed Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

ADOT needs a public “right-to-know” policy to ensure transparency and accountability

ADOT should publicly report, for example:

  • Costs per lane-mile for new and repaired/reconstructed roads to allow appropriate project cost comparisons

  • Full project costs in the STIP, including project “cost estimate validation” for projects costing over $X

  • All revenue sources in the STIP, past, present, and potential future revenues

  • The draft STIP needs to include a chart showing which projects have been scaled back, delayed, and cancelled to assist the public in commenting

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Fix it First! Transition Team Report, 12/19/06 Policy Needed

ADOT should maximally fund maintenance and safety upgrades before building new roads

  • 33% of Alaska’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition (ASCE, 2005)

  • 30% of Alaska’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete (ASCE, 2005)

  • Alaskan motorists pay $102 mill./yr in extra repairs and operating costs due to poor roads (ASCE, 2005)

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Regional Transportation Planning Policies Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

Southcentral – Regional plan for Southcentral transportation is needed as Anchorage and the MSB increasingly are interconnected; extensive public involvement is warranted

Southeast – The Knowles and Murkowski Southeast regional plans should be reviewed critically and revisited with the assumptions critiqued, individual routes analyzed for a wide variety of factors, ferry privatization increasingly explored, etc.

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Transportation Financing Policies Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

Remote/Bush Communities – ATPP supports maintaining the state’s unique character and way of life by helping finance transportation needs in remote/Bush communities with state revenues

Urban Areas – ATPP supports financial assistance to public transportation in urban areas using state revenues

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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Industrial Roads Policies Transition Team Report, 12/19/06

  • There should be no public subsidy for roads only used by industry

  • Some industrial roads, even if fully-funded by industry, may not be environmentally-appropriate because they pass through sensitive areas

  • The road development policy in the 1988 Alaska Mineral Policy Act should be revisited in this era of declining funds for transportation

Promoting sensible transportation systems in Alaska


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