SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION

 

 

February 21, 2005                                                                                                 Hearing Room 50

3:10 P.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes  21 - 22

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Joanne Verger, Chair

Sen. Doug Whitsett, Vice-Chair

Sen. Rick Metsger

Sen. Floyd Prozanski

Sen. Bruce Starr

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Rep. Greg Smith

                                                Rep. Terry Beyer

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Gary Roulier, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD & WITNESSES:      

                                                Transportation Briefing – Informational Meeting

SB 71 – Public Hearing

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 21, A

003

Chair Verger

Opens the meeting at 3:14 p.m. Introduces Congressman Earl Blumenauer and opens an informational briefing on federal transportation issues.

TRANSPORTATION BRIEFING – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

013

Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Explains that his purpose is to show state partners how the federal program fits into state funding for transportation.

054

Congressman Blumenauer

Emphasizes the importance of investment in transportation infrastructure.

096

Congressman Blumenauer

Reviews some discussions in Congress that may not be favorable to Oregon. i.e., will divert some funds from the state.

137

Congressman Blumenauer

Notes that many people around the country look to Oregon as an example of how to stretch resources.

145

Chair Verger

Stresses that small ports are vital to the state economy and comments on the lack of federal funding for dredging.

161

Sen. Prozanski

Reviews some of the issues the committee learned during a field trip to the Port of Umpqua, including fresh fish products not being classified as “commerce.”

191

Congressman Blumenauer

Responds that there are other members of Congress who would also have concern over this definition. Reviews his frustration with the shortchanging of dredging funds for Oregon ports.

231

Sen. Prozanski

Notes that the definitions from the Corps of Engineers seem to be affected by lack of funding.

240

Congressman Blumenauer

Agrees that the funding cuts have put the Corps of Engineers in a tough position.

248

Sen. B. Starr

Stresses the importance of the I-5 corridor to the economy, and asks about any actions on Sen. Ron Wyden’s proposal entitled “Build America Bonds.”

287

Congressman Blumenauer

Answers that the federal delegation must be careful regarding how this would affect other support for Oregon transportation infrastructure. Reviews federal action that is rapidly increasing the national debt.

337

Congressman Blumenauer

Adds that he is nervous because of his concern over the national debt, and that, over time, additional bonding may end up shrinking the revenue stream.

353

Sen. B. Starr

Emphasizes the importance of funds for maintenance of jettys.

378

Sen. Whitsett

Remarks on the concerns expressed regarding bonding.

396

Congressman Blumenauer

Adds that he is hopeful that we can find ways to coax more value from the state’s infrastructure.

TAPE 22, A

011

Congressman Blumenauer

Reviews his efforts in Congress to form a state transportation commission to study state issues.

041

Congressman Blumenauer

Notes that many states are being “driven by the moment,” and are not getting enough value for their investments.

054

Rep. Beyer

Asks about the level of funding in the next transportation act.

060

Congressman Blumenauer

Responds with a review of funding discussions.

102

Chair Verger

Thanks the congressman for his appearance and talks about upcoming hearings on ConnectOregon.

120

Congressman Blumenauer

Stresses the importance of the ConnectOregon legislation and expresses his support.

129

Chair Verger

Closes the informational meeting and opens a public hearing on SB 71.

SB 71 – PUBLIC HEARING

146

Judith Callens

Administrator. Explains the provisions of the bill.

154

Chris Warner

Transportation Policy Advisor and Legislative Director, Governor’s Office. Testifies in support of SB 71.

180

Stuart Foster

Chair, Oregon Transportation Commission. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT A) and testifies in support of SB 71 (ConnectOregon).

207

Foster

Emphasizes the importance of these investments in transportation infrastructure.

223

Bruce Warner

Director, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT B) and testifies in support of SB 71.

259

Bruce Warner

Reviews sections of the bill.

307

Bruce Warner

Speaks to the lack of funding in SB 71 for highway projects.

359

Bruce Warner

Expresses ODOT’s willingness to carry out the provisions of the bill.

379

Chair Verger

Asks that questions be limited to issues of critical importance.

393

Sen. Metsger

Notes concerns about “geographical spread,” the importance of leveraging funds, and how to best use the Freight Advisory Committee during these discussions.

TAPE 21, B

011

Jessica Harris-Adamson

Associated General Contractors. Testifies in support of SB 71.

019

John Bollier

Associated General Contractors and Stacy and Whitbeck Contractors. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT H) and testifies in support of SB 71.

060

Ken Armstrong

Oregon Short Line Railroad Association and Oregon Ports Group. Testifies in support of SB 71.

103

Larry Phipps

President, Portland & Western Railroad, and Chair, Oregon Short Line Railroad Association. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT C) and a report entitled “Oregon Short Line Railroads” (EXHIBIT D).

143

Phipps

Discusses the economies affecting short line railroads.

173

Gary Neal

General Manager, Port of Morrow. Testifies in support of SB 71.

226

Tom Gallagher

Snitzer Steel Industries and Urban Developers Coalition. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT E) and testifies in support of SB 71.

280

Gallagher

Reviews some suggestions, including the need for timely completion of  projects.

310

Pat Egan

State Affairs Manager, Port of Portland. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT F), and testifies in support of SB 71.

362

Egan

Reviews the port’s statewide mission and investments being made in other states.

TAPE 22, B

006

Egan

Summarizes a movement away from warehousing and toward “just-in-time” manufacturing processes.

038

Egan

Outlines the disparity between what the port receives in property tax revenues relative to Seattle.

066

Chair Verger

Stresses the importance of inclusion of other modes of transportation in the conversation.

079

Sen. Whitsett

Asks what has caused the recent decrease in container shipments.

085

Egan

Responds that the port container traffic has been affected by the huge increase of trade by some companies with China. Talks about the importance of the deepening of the channel on the Columbia.

127

Rep. Smith

Asks how enthusiastic the port would be if it were necessary to repay some of the funds in ConnectOregon.

142

Egan

Answers that the port would look at additional debt in “competitive terms.”

163

Rep. Smith

Comments that putting a cost on a “per container” basis would affect our competitive position.

185

Egan

Reviews costs of container shipping in the Columbia Corridor.

 

Fred D. Nussbaum

Strategic Planner, Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates. Submits written testimony in support of SB 71 (EXHIBIT G).

197

Chair Verger

Stresses the efforts of the committee to bring policy and budget together. Closes the public hearing and adjourns the meeting at 4:54 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 71, written testimony, Stuart Foster, 12 pp
  2. SB 71, written testimony, Bruce Warner, 5 pp
  3. SB 71, written testimony, Larry Phipps, 1 pp
  4. SB 71, report, Larry Phipps, 9 pp
  5. SB 71, written testimony, Tom Gallagher, 3 pp
  6. SB 71, written testimony, Pat Egan, 1 pp
  7. SB 71, written testimony, Fred D. Nussbaum, 1 pp
  8. SB 71, written testimony, John Bollier, 2 pp