Transportation Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7367

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

Vote Date:

3/16/2007

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/12/2007

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Transportation Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To amend statutes concerning the Department of Transportation.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Department of Transportation – Commissioner Ralph J. Carpenter

This legislation outlines the DMV's 2007 legislative proposals. Section 6 provides statutory authority to allow articulated transit buses on Connecticut roadways. Aarticulated buses, measuring 60-feet, not including bumpers, appear to be permitted on Connecticut roadways since they are shorter than the 65-foot length indicated in the statutes. However, the DMV would like to clarify this eligibility by adding the definition of “articulated bus” to the list of definitions in 14-260n. Ridership growth on public transit justifies the consideration of higher-capacity vehicles. System-wide bus ridership is about 5% higher than last year and on targeted routes the growth rate is 10% or higher. Articulated buses can carry about 50% more passengers than a standard transit bus, thus offering the ability to provide more “seat per hour” on a route while using the same number of bus operators. Section 12 seeks to clarify that airports are included in the list of facilities for which the Commissioner may declare a state of emergency. Currently, the Commissioner of Transportation is given the authority to declare an emergency exists as a result of a disaster or which demands immediate attention to assure safety of the traveling public. This provision clarifies that this same authority is given to address emergencies at airports as well. Section 13 seeks to gauge interest in establishing a process by which new transit facilities are named and to raise revenue for mass transit purposes that will help defray the cost of such services to the state. What is being proposed in this legislation is to establish the process for and to implement policies and procedures for the selling of naming rights for transit stations and facilities. Sections 15 and 16 seek to further clarify the long-standing practice of ensuring compliance with the State Traffic Commission's (STC) Certificates of Operation. The proposal more clearly outlines and delineates the process of application, the conditions relative to obtaining a building permit, and the requirements necessary to obtain certificates of occupancy to operate such developments. It also provides for further clarification in the roles and responsibilities of the state and local building officials/inspectors as they relate to the STC process, and adds the ability to impose civil fines for noncompliance with Certificate requirements. Sections 40 and 41 repeal certain land conveyances from the DOT to various entities and municipalities. These conveyances were unable to be completed mainly because the entities who were to receive them, were no longer interested in obtaining the properties. [Adds notes on several roadway/bridge naming requests]

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

CT Conference of Municipalities – Gian-Carl Casa

In support of provision in section 15 that clarifies that municipalities need not pay for STC review for their own facilities.

DATTCO, Inc. – President Donald A. DeVivo

Specifically in support of double-decker buses. This legislation would allow high capacity double-decker charter coaches to be based in Connecticut. The vehicles we are discussing are not the open top British style double-decker buses. These vehicles are newly manufactured, state of the art, 80 passenger highway coaches. Coach USA, a large national company has purchased 20 of these units. They will begin taking delivery of the units in June of this year. It is our concern that companies will register vehicles in surrounding states and because they are more efficient in transporting large groups, come into Connecticut and take work away from Connecticut carriers. We ask the Connecticut regulations for equipment standards be waived in favor of the Federal standards and that these vehicles be allowed to be registered as Connecticut motor buses.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

CT Conference of Municipalities – Gian-Carl Casa

CCM is concerned about sections 15 and 16 which would require building officials to “confirm with the [state traffic] commission that all certificate requirements have been satisfied” and prohibits them for issuing certificates of occupancy if not. This seems to place an inappropriate burden on the local official. Rather, the developer of the property for which the application has been made should be responsible for demonstrating compliance with STC requirements. We urge the amendment of this bill.

TRANSCRIPT ON FILE.

Reported by: Antonio Peronace

Date: 3/35/07