Call to Order and Roll Call
The6th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ernie Harris, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll. The minutes from the Committee’s October 4, 2016 meeting were approved.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators C.B. Embry Jr., Jimmy Higdon, Gerald A. Neal, Dorsey Ridley, Albert Robinson, Johnny Ray Turner, Whitney Westerfield, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Tim Couch, Tom McKee, Russ A. Meyer, Charles Miller, Jerry T. Miller, Terry Mills, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, John Short, Arnold Simpson, Diane St. Onge, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Scott Butcher, Reentry Affairs Coordinator, Ashland, Mid-Atlantic Region, US Federal Bureau of Prisons; Scarlett Mattingly, Reentry Affairs Coordinator, Lexington, Mid-Atlantic Region, US Federal Bureau of Prisons; Nick D’Andrea, Vice President of Public Affairs, UPS; Megan McLain, Staff Attorney, KYTC; Patty Dunaway, State Highway Engineer, KYTC; and Jolene Parrish, Executive Director, Office of Human Resources, KYTC.
US Bureau of Prisons: Modifying Statutes Allowing Prisoners to Obtain Driver’s License and ID Card Upon Release
Scott Butcher, Reentry Affairs Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Region, US Federal Bureau of Prisons and Scarlett Mattingly, Reentry Affairs Coordinator, Lexington, Mid-Atlantic Region, US Federal Bureau of Prisons, testified about allowing federal and state prisoners to have IDs and Driver’s Licenses upon release. They also are requesting changes to allow the Transportation Cabinet, and/or circuit clerks to issue driver’s licenses to current and eligible inmates. Such a change would help inmates integrate back into society more easily, and aid them in participating in work release programs.
Mr. Butcher stated it is the mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and that provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law abiding citizens. He added the Federal Bureau of Prisons is responsible for the custody and care of federal inmates, which currently number over 190,000 nationwide.
There is a 34 percent rate of recidivism among federal prisoners. Mr. Butcher stated the Bureau provides a myriad of inmate programs to address criminogenic needs. Accordingly, the federal recidivism rate has declined over the past couple of decades and is now half the rate of many large state Departments of Corrections. There are five custody classifications within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, administrative, high, medium, low, and minimum classifications. All five types of classifications are in Kentucky and have both out and community custody levels of classifications as well.
Mr. Butcher discussed details of inmate work programs and stated that all inmates who are physically and mentally able are required to participate in work programs. The areas that work programs are utilized by the prison systems are in the food service industry, in the commissary, with the orderly, and inside different facilities. The work details at federal camps which require road access are landscaping and grounds keeping, outside facilities operations, safety and recycling, and town drivers. Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Virginia have systems that allow inmates to obtain appropriate identification in the form of driver’s licenses.
Mr. Butcher outlined the 11 factors that would be used to determine if an inmate fits the eligibility criteria for the program. Inmates undergo great scrutiny to be able to participate in the program. The driver’s license would not be kept on the inmate’s person and when the keys to the government issued vehicle are turned in, so is their license. In addition to the criteria used, wardens have final approval for participation. The inmates receive no special treatment for obtaining licenses and are held to the same standards and document production as citizens. Each inmate must provide a Social Security card, birth certificate, and other documentation needed by statute.
Mr. Butcher stated the benefits to having inmates receive their driver’s licenses are that costs to taxpayers can be reduced, as well as relief provided to institutional budgets due to the cost of inmate labor being significantly cheaper than staffing. Also, the safe, secure, and orderly running of the institution can be affected if officers are required to make trips. The use of government vehicles due to the Federal Tort Claims Act is also a benefit. Public Safety through the vetting process and the utilization of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council (CJPAC) are two other benefits.
In response to an inquiry into insurance issues, Mr. Butcher stated current inmates who obtain a driver’s license would be utilizing government vehicles which would be covered under the proper insurance policy by the government. Once an inmate is released and their term is served, it is then up to that inmate if they acquire a vehicle and to properly insure that vehicle.
In response to a question asked by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Mattingly stated it is her understanding that inmates housed in Kentucky are counted as Kentucky residents in the U.S. Census.
UPS: Natural Gas Fleet
Nick D’Andrea, Vice President of Public Affairs, UPS, discussed the use of natural gas in UPS fleet and introduced Scott Young, the new Executive Director of the Kentucky Trucking Association.
UPS is committed to thinking outside of the box and moving forward with advancing technologies including the use of alternative fuels. UPS has a global and comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction strategy which is where a piece of the natural gas rolling laboratory strategy fits in. UPS also utilizes air fleet efficiencies, where winglets have been placed on 767s that will reduce drag which reduces fuel consumption. UPS has a strategy of not making left-hand turns when possible. Taking left hand turns can add time to routes, as well as being more dangerous than taking right hand turns. There are approximately 100,000 trucks on the road; for every one mile that is taken off of the truck routes, there is $50 million in savings that is realized, and emissions are reduced. UPS uses “Orion” System software that uses package data in a truck and routes the truck in a very specific manor with the best flow of traffic. It determines where there could be issues and re-routes them around that traffic to deliver those packages. This allows for optimization of the route, which saves money and emissions.
Mr. D’Andrea stated UPS has utilized electric cars since the 1930s, but now UPS also utilizes other fuel sources such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, and some electric and hybrid vehicles. Most of the suburban routes have alternative fuel usage of compressed natural gas and hybrid vehicles. The suburban routes average approximately 100 miles. The regional routes which involve routes from a UPS hub to another UPS hub and ranges an average of 400-600 miles per haul utilizes liquified natural gas, compressed natural gas and biomethane. For city center routes which are usually less than an average of 60 miles, UPS utilizes electric and ethanol sources. UPS does not use any ethanol sources in Kentucky. Finally, during a rural operating situation for UPS, which the routes average approximately 100 plus miles, propane can be utilized. Of the 100,000 UPS vehicles, there are over 8,000 that are alternative fuel vehicles. UPS runs approximately 50 package cars and 73 tractors in Kentucky on natural fuels. Also, 8.3 million miles are run on natural gas vehicles in Kentucky each year. With the centennial hub expansion UPS has planned for Louisville, there will be another 75 compressed natural gas tractors and possible more compressed natural gas package cars that will be added in 2017. There is a possibility to add more compressed natural gas package cars in Lexington and other locations.
Mr. D’Andrea added when studying the use of alternative fuels, there are several considerations a business must observe. One being the diesel versus gasoline versus alternative fuel price spread. Another consideration is the vehicle miles traveled and the vehicle fuel economy for the amount of fuel consumption.
The Trash to Gas program is being looked into for future use at UPS. Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biomethane can be derived from many abundant, renewable sources including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. Renewable natural gas can be used in any natural gas vehicle. UPS’s rolling laboratory approach provides a unique opportunity for UPS to test different fuels and technologies and positions for UPS to use RNG in its extensive natural gas fleet. Methange gas is pulled from acres of buried waste and then naturally occurring methane is captured before it is released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas emission. The methane is then purified and processed into RNG. The RNG is then distributed across the country through natural gas pipelines. UPS reached its goal of driving 1 billion miles with alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year early as the original goal was to complete this task in 2017.
In response to a question asked by Representative McKee, Mr. D’Andrea stated at this time there are no UPS vehicles that are run on pure ethanol in Kentucky, nor are there any vehicles running on flex fuels such as E-85 in Kentucky. Representative McKee inquired as to why E-85 is not currently being utilized in Kentucky. Mr. D’Andrea stated he would be happy to get back with him at a later date with an answer as to why E-85 is not being utilized.
In response to a question asked by Representative Jerry Miller, Mr. D’Andrea stated only specific routes make running a propane vehicle more efficient. Using compressed natural gas vehicles are better for shorter routes, but more mileage can be gotten out of the use of propane.
In response to Representative Collins, Mr. D’Andrea clarified that UPS does make left hand turns occasionally, however, when possible, right hand turns are used. In response to a second question asked by Representative Collins, Mr. D’Andrea stated UPS is being charged a fuel tax for the use of compressed natural gas.
In response to a question asked by Representatives Santoro and St. Onge concerning a lack of natural gas stations statewide and incentives to have companies increase their natural gas fleets, Mr. D’Andrea stated the possibility of exercising Florida’s idea of waiving the natural gas fuel tax was one idea to incentivize the use of natural gas. He added because very few companies are using natural gas currently, the hit to the Road Fund would be minimal. The idea is that after 5 years and after more companies start utilizing the natural gas fleet, then the companies would be required to pay the tax. Florida has gone from 20 natural gas fueling stations to over 200 because of the fuel tax holiday that was implemented.
In response to a question asked by Senator Wilson, Mr. D’Andrea stated UPS is running hydrogen vehicles in California and on shorter routes there have been good results, however, there have been some issues with the use of the hydrogen vehicles on longer routes.
Motorcycle Transponders for Louisville Bridges tolling system
Megan McLain, Staff Attorney, KYTC, testified about motorcycle transponders for the Louisville Bridges tolling system. She stated there are two types of transponders that are offered to motorcyclists. The first type is called a Riverlink local transponder, which is given away for free and if a replacement is needed the cost is $5.00 per transponder. The Riverlink local transponder is a sticker, is not water resistant, and is not expected to be able to withstand weather conditions. They also cannot be removed without breaking the transponder. The Riverlink local transponder is not recommended for motorcyclists. The second type of transponder that is available is the Riverlink E-Z Pass transponder, which is a box. The cost of the Riverlink E-Z Pass transponder is $15.00 and can be taken off of the windshield and moved between vehicles, and is more water resistant therefore it is the recommended choice for motorcyclists to use.
Chairman Harris questioned the possible blowback from motorcyclists as to why they are required to spend $15.00 for a transponder that is better equipped for motorcycle usage whereas the other transponder is free. Ms. McLain stated there have been a few comments made concerning that issue, and the reason there are not free transponders for motorcyclists is that the technology just does not exist yet for that to be a possibility, but as soon as technology catches up, KYTC will definitely look into providing a new and different transponder. Ms. McLain stated there are other agencies who opt for usage of a sticker transponder to use on motorcycle headlights, but it has become evident that that type of transponder only works approximately 70 percent of the time, so Kentucky has opted out of the usage of those. Ms. McLain stated one benefit to the Riverlink E-Z Pass transponder is that it will work anywhere on the E-Z Pass network, not just in Kentucky and the transponder can be moved vehicle to vehicle.
In response to a question asked by Co-Chair Collins concerning the process that is carried out if someone does not have a transponder, Ms. McLain stated a picture of the license plate is taken which is then matched with DMV data. Then the person will be charged a toll, it will just be a higher toll than with the usage of a transponder. She added eventually there will be an option to pre-register a license plate number and pay the toll that way if the person does not wish to use a transponder.
In response to a question asked by Senator Westerfield, Ms. McLain stated the photographs that are taken of the license plates are only kept a few months, just long enough to get through the billing cycle.
In response to a question asked by Chairman Harris, Ms. McLain stated tolling is on track to be implanted in December 2016.
Highway Equipment Operators Salary Study
Patty Dunaway, State Highway Engineer, KYTC, and Jolene Parrish, Executive Director, Office of Human Resources, KYTC, gave an update on the Highway Equipment Operator Salary Study as well as the approval by Governor Matt Bevin to administer raises to 2,100 employees who work in maintenance for KYTC. Ms. Dunaway stated the results of the salary study are not final yet, however the Personnel Cabinet made a recommendation for raises which included the classifications of Heavy Equipment Operators and Highway Superintendents.
Ms. Dunaway stated within the Department of Highways, there are several different series that work in the maintenance area, and that several have the core function of providing snow and ice removal. She added it was important to the Cabinet not to exclude the series of the maintenance staff in the salary study. Ms. Dunaway stated there are a total of eight series that have had recommendations for raises to be given. Ms. Dunaway stated the average raise is approximately $3.20 per hour for the eight different series within the maintenance staff, which include Highway Equipment Operators, Highway Laborers, Highway Traffic Technicians, Transportation Auto Truck Technicians, Welders, Auto Parts Specialist, Machinist Consultant, and Highway Equipment Maintenance and Management Technician, for a total of approximately 2,100 employees in the maintenance area that will receive raises.
There were some positions that were left out of the Engineers Salary study, so the Engineering Technologists II and III series will be given raises as well. There are approximately 530 employees from the Engineering tech series that will be receiving raises. The final details are being worked on as there are still classification and compensation issues to be ironed out. As soon as the final details are finished, they will be released. Ms. Dunaway reiterated the turnover rates that the Cabinet had been experiencing due to lack of salary for these positions and thanked all who were involved for the push that was given to make the raises a reality.
Senator Harris commented on the awareness that has been made on the pay inequities for the Cabinet and in these particular series, and expressed his delight that the problem has been addressed. He also questioned how these raises were being funded. Ms. Dunaway stated in order for the raises to be considered, a business case was presented showing the internal savings within the Cabinet as well as specifically in the Department of Highways in order for the raises to be afforded. She stated a lot of contract work will also be pulled as “in-house” work, which will result in a cost savings as well in order to generate the funds needed. Much of the contract work will now be able to be done in-house due to the ability to retain employees because of the raises given. Cross-training of employees will also be a consideration to generate cost savings. She added an estimated $25 million in savings is what is projected.
In response to a question asked by Representative Short who inquired why the report was being released at this particular time even though Governor Bevin vetoed a timeline for the study at the end of last session, Ms. Dunaway stated that the Personnel Cabinet still managed to complete the study by the original anticipated timeline and stressed that it was imperative that other classifications such as the auto truck technician needed to be included in the study. Ms. Dunaway stated the Salary Series study will be provided as soon as possible.
In response to a question asked by Co-Chair Collins, Ms. Dunaway stated there are approximately 800 employees with the Highway Department that would not be receiving a raise. A significant amount of those 800 employees are administrative and support staff such as secretaries or administrative assistants, and due to the large number of those positions held across each branch Kentucky Government, raises for secretaries or administrative assistants were not considered. She added that Personnel Cabinet has left some options open for the possibility of raises for other classifications specific to KYTC, if the Cabinet feels such actions are necessary.
Senator Higdon reiterated his position of changing Cabinet employees to working a 40 hour work week instead of a 37.5 hour work week. He added more employees might be able to be retained due to the extra hours per week and extra pay for those hours.
In response to a question asked by Representative McKee, Ms. Dunaway stated the target date for the raises to take effect is by the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017. Representative McKee requested more details to be forthcoming on the 800 employees who will not receive the raises.
Representative Mills stated be believes in a fair days work for a fair days pay and is excited about the raises for the employees. In response to a question asked by Representative Mills, Ms. Dunaway stated the annual cost of the raises including benefits is approximately $31 million per year.
Senator Turner thanked the Cabinet and asked if there was an anticipation for the need for new trucks to be purchased. Ms. Dunaway stated there is not an anticipation that any new trucks will need to be purchased.
With no further business to come before the committee, Chairman Harris adjourned the meeting at 2:30 P.M.