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House | July 14, 2015 | Committee Room | Appropriations: Transportation

Full MP3 Audio File

The House Committee on Transportation Appropriations will come to order. Good morning? I'd like to start off with introducing our pages, we have Johnny Astroff who is native dollar sponsor. If the sponsor want to stand when I introduce you? Two people start awkward moment like that. Can I inform you pastor Harrison, Lee Fletcher, Larry Ogoro[sp?], Anderson Ford Kay Davis and Morgan Hazzle[sp?] Pastor Harrison welcome. We also have a sergeant of arm Scolten[sp?] Adams, Martha Gardeson[sp?] and Joel Osteen welcome and thank you were going to start off loop water continuing but are slight differences in between the two budgets comparison John Warden staff attorney Bill Drafting Division. We left off on page 87 section 29.30, and this is the Senate version for increasing and adjusting the DMV fees. The Senate version increases the fees by an average of 20%, doesn't include the late registration fee that was included in the House version, and requires the quadrennial adjustment of fees based on inflation starting in 2020. If you'd like a more detailed explanation of the differences between the fees, you can also see a chart that's been posted on the committee's website. Mr. Chair, a question to ask John Warden[sp?] Absolutely. Chairman [xx] Thank you, Luebke has a question for you. You just said that, it sound like to me the bill can future increases being fixed has kind of an automatic restrictor, not restrictor, just an auto match based on infation did they provide the formula or where they are going to capture that inflation rate in the first place. So formula is going to be based off the consumer for price index, just going to round it to the nearest 25 cents, and it's actually going to be computed based off the prior four years. Follow up. Follow up. Is that binding, or it's my understanding that we couldn't do that due to the fact that we can only [xx] relationships years as special General Assembly, is that a finding Mr. Speaker or. You're correct that you can't time future general assemblies but this is basically just a change in the law, this is going to be in statute, so future general assembly could come in and re-appeal it or adjust it [xx] Thank you. Moving on to page 105, section 29.38 this is senate only provision and move the DNV hearing fee schedule, implementation back a year and half from January 1st 2016, to July 1st 2017. Page 106, section 29.30B a senate only provision it eliminates the transfer of fund from special legislation plate account to the department of commerce and DHHS. Page 107, section 29.31, this is mainly identical except for a technical change in the senate version clarify that a penalty shall not at first against the person who insurance lapses after that person's death. Page 113 section 29.32 OPA contract standards, the senate version moves the standards established for commission contractors out of [xx] and it includes an increase in the amount of compensation payable for the issuance of a limited registration [xx]. I believe that was actually an over site that wasn't included in the house version. Page 117 section 29.33 is identical. Page 118, section 29.34 is identical. Page 119 section 29.34 A.  This is a center only provision that increases the cap on highway use tax of oath for commercial motor vehicles and recreational vehicles from $1000 to $2000, and on out of state vehicles from $150  to $250. Page 120, section 29.35, this

is identical. So page 122 section 29.36 is identical. Page 124 section 29. 36A this goes hand in hand with the earlier provision dealing with the relocation of of the visitor Senator [xx]. This qualify the fund on the special registration plate account visitor senators located at in Watauga[sp?] County as opposed to the town of Boon this accounts for any relocation within that county. Section 29.36B on page 125 this is actually a staff suggested fix earlier in the session there was a change to address the ambiguity with the stop lamps or break lights on motor vehicles, this clarifies the vehicles manufacture between 1955 and 1970 must have at least one break light. Page 127 section 29.37 the Senate version explains the time limit at tax and tag position for the bianium as opposed to the hose version which increased it has increased it for nine months page 129 section 29.38 the senate house version the only difference is essential the senate version is more concise, and I believe it's actually the version that's wanted by the agency. Section 29.39 on page 130 this is a Senate only provision it removes the driver education requirement for persons in the graduated driving licensing system, and it increases the number behind the wheel hours from 60 to 85, and increases the score needed to pass the drivers test from 80% to 85%. [xx] Did you read out the you just said one more time especially what we said we are taking in out or getting rid of it but in their mandating additional requirement can you repeat that? Sure this actually removes the driver's education requirement for people in the graduated driver's licencing system so current law provides that you're 15, 16 somewhere in that range that you have to go ahead and go through drivers education, this says that you don't now but it increases the behind the wheel hours from 60 to 85 and then it increases the score you have to achieve to pass the written test from 80 to 85%. Other questions for staff? I have one that it works with both our budget and then also with another area that we're discussing the other day, the dredging and how the dredging was funded. I don't know if we have one of you that knows both sides that can just sort of comment on the difference between the House version and the Senate version of how that's dealt with? Not probably but we can follow up that information for the entire committee including the [xx] Okay, thank you. what would be the time requirement for that follow up so we can know the schedule from [xx] next preparation? We can [xx] the committee before the end of the day Other questions or comments? Okay, thank you very much. Next time the agenda is remarks on budget comparisons Nick Hanison chief deputy sector department transportation. Nick Hanison Is this what we are staying? That was in the beginning when I Nick Hanison chief deputy secretary of M. C. D. T. M proud that I've managed to established such a relationship with at least part of the leadership with the committee. Before I make any other comments I really feel like this is a great time to bring up the topic of pavement preservation, our last budget the legislative 5052.88 lame miles were accomplished applied and there is no rounding required in this particular case. I just. No continue I think that's one of the

things that we're proud of as effective that we can achieve in the miracle goal and looking forward to doing that on a continuous basis. So continuing the budget a couple of frauds, first of all revenue was identified as a concern in the government's 25 year vision for transportation and we're glad that both budgets provide addition revenue. We appreciate the house focus on the highway firm maintenance priorities and continue to support a balanced focus on maintenance and capital improvement. Meaning the bill capacity in the system as well as try to balance primary, secondary maintenance in the bridge program and look forward or just to that priority being achieved. The staffing issues that were addressed in the house budget more closer resemble the governor's budget and so therefore, that's the budget we support. I also want to note we're making progress on the outsourcing that had been previously identified and believe that we have through previous staffing changes and also for operational changes we're going to be continuing on that path. We hope that the house will agree on the [xx] and turn pipe project that was put in by the senate. We need to increase the number of projects that can be studied and recognize for legislation some projects can be removed from the list as eligible for study because they're either  already complete or already under construction. The work group on prioritization P4.0 has completed the target and the board of transportation approved the recommendation to work group without any changes so the issue  which the house want to model including those recommendation for example the peak hour travel, figure peak months travel being used as opposed annualized travel or congestion and so the department believes that there are not any modifications that are needed to the underlying STI law. Mr Chair? [xx] Thank you. Nick, I've got a question. Yes sir. You admitted that the whatever the term peak travel thing, it wasn't mentioned on the house about adjusting the correlation proximity to new roads for lack of better term and their proximity to multi mumble facilities. The current if we had a road running very closely within a 100 yards of a multi level that actually did not touch yet, we would receive no [xx]. We thought perhaps that was a little tight so we made recommendations that some type of priority be given to yes sir that was included, in a manner speaking a bubble around the facilities were supposed to having hit discreet point the entrance door to our facility proximity years included with some creditions based on proximity points based on how close you actually come and also there is a differentiation between [xx] terminal and passenger terminals. We'll get back into the details we guess that was. I want to see the report on the changes for the [xx] at this point? It's a wonderful question that I don't have an answer to, I'm not absolutely certain we sent your our reports, we will confirm that. The reason I asked you is [xx] if you could get back to the committee [xx]. Yes sir we'll do so under the heading of not your result questions we but just to reflect appreciation for the fact the house included the funding for highway bond in debt service aspect of that and we look forward to, we hope expeditious resolution discussion's on what we can do to take advantage for current interest rates conditions, and then finally the senate budget includes the provision to extend authority for minority women programs for state funded projects everybody knows and hopes that DBE aspect is required for all projects IN which federal funding involved so we would request the house action support the proposal to the extent that signs it. [xx] Yes sir. The House did of course put place over it for potential debts payments. Did the senate not plan rate bond at all? How did they address bonds in their budget in all of this? My understanding of it is that they by decreasing transfers or eliminating transfers

have had additional funding in the Highway Fund and allowed for movement of money into the Highway Trust Fund to in effective annualize a program as opposed to authorizing a debt to be used. I don't think the total topic was eliminated or prohibited, but their approach was more of an annual payment of additional Highway Trust Fund to increase the amount of money money available for the STI Program. Follow up.  Yes. That leads me to, and I apologize up front it may be a series of questions by signing up on the answers or if there's something we need to bring in other people in that's fine. That being said I'll just give 215 million for example flowing out what was being transferred now pumped into for lack of a better of terms that the STR or new bill roads have, I don't remember the exact number that was pumped into that. Mr. Chairman, if I could refer to staff? Absolutely. How much did that they actually pump into STI, do you recall? Yes, [xx] the ten year step is that the Senate went out about 130 million annually above what was in the draft, Sir. One more time how much annually? 130.130. OK, so by pumping that 130 into that STI process, that would happen when? When would that transfer go into the STI account? As I under I'm sorry It begins in the first year. So the budget would include a little bit more than $130 million the first two years beginning in fiscal year that began last week. So I guess, thank you Mr. Chairman. That would be on top of what is currently allocated go to STI. So I guess my question to DOT is let's say for example that passes and you do not have an additional $130 million [xx] to do the next projects on the list, when to do you think you can get to those next project on the list and actually touch, and put the use of tax payers money that would be sitting in DOT start new roads. When would you actually touch that money? They the day of the commencement will vary with the status of the project, there are project for which environmental  documents are complete that would rise in to that being eligible for inclusion of the step based on the increased amount of funding, but there are also projects for which no work has been done, no planning has been done and so they would, I would suspect would adverse be at the end of the tenure horizon. I think I heard you say that projects, the projects that are on the list that are, have met the environmental minimum have environmental harm. Those would go [xx] down the list, you wouldn't jump projects to pick up that's the buying process That's correct. Okay, so here again of that $ 230 million with over the next year how much of that you can be able to earn though you're experienced and actually have people money going to the roads? Both projects for five or six years sometimes longer [xx] environment Yes sir and the short answer is that I don't have an answer that Bobby do you have, I call on Chief of Staff Bobby Lewis do you have specifics that you can give on them?. Bobby Lewis the Chief of Staff, not necessarily representative Tobby but right now the first three or four years with the way the program is set and  budgeted is for additional project if he increased the budget in his first few years, seems like, chief of the deputy secretray of the senate of the state  you could divorce those projects environmental documents forward it has passed three to five years, and some projects that are small 2-4 million dollar project can environmental work is just not here, that can be advanced the additional budget class. The power in another way substitution number of process. Might be the project. The nature of my question revolve around the concern I have of the management of those dorms. The housed years focused trying

to best manage the access people's dollars so we don't have dollars staying in an account onward, good useful dollar to road but we don't have them languishing in a camp for a couple of year before they get to a proxy if those dollars can be used somewhere else like medical institute to put laws, all the while knowing that we are not reducing the project, that the funding will be there ready just kind of the management of the money that I have some questions about and and that's one of them. I get it's one of the largest concern about these payment proposal. It's implied that they simply take $130 million and placed it in the FBI, and I have no details on when that money will be assessed, so I don't want it to seat on their [xx] And if I can just amplify or restate Bobby's point, we've the ability to move projects forward to expand all available budgeted funding. So the projects that are actually added may not be the ones that are done immediately, but projects would be done. We would in that five year period, if there's something that's ready to move that was only delayed in the period because of any war cap we remove that foreplay. Follow up my fault Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much Nick that very woman helps me get what I'm trying to figure out. So you build somewhat concept of these projects to be left in that the ability to the old companies in North Carolina and the capacity to meet the additional project. In a very high scope project window.  We are repeatedly assured by representatives of the industry, they have the capacity to expand their work to meet our budget. Thank you Mr. [xx] I think that having gotten to the end of the series, I will thank the committee and ask if there are nay other questions I need to answer but right now we see in our allied here they sent us lemonades 56 filled positions and the lemonades vacancy is over five months and discussing that some of the job we have in our maintenance divisions have been vacant over five months dues to the fact we have a free zone, can you provide any on how that, the impact it's going to have and some of our maintenance division if in fact they lose some this jobs that they haven't filled because it's a free zone and the challenge that we faced in the most recent winner took us to apoint where we had fully employed all available resources to get people and seeds to clear snow and ice. If we loose the flexibility that happens with this proposed elimination about 85% of the practisational eliminations that are contemplated with that 150 day window would come from the same of folks in order to try to make sure that the department was pursuing in good faith the direction on legislature Division of Highways and Technical Services both in [xx] hiring freezes not absolute but trying to make sure that we didn't add people that we were then subsequently going to have to layoff. So we believe that we've gotten artificially high number of vacancies, and that 80 to 85% would be at the field level. Follow up. Gentleman Torbett. Jump up Till's question. The House budget has I believe 50 positions, it that right? And those 50 positions for DAs promised prior to copy what the governor request was or not, what were those 50? The department would not provide you the list of that were in the governors budget, but it was 50 position. They want changes at the house that surprises those who're being filled positions. another significant change, between the health and the senate. We're supposed to help her govern [xx] administrative positions, and the senate budget allows those to be administrative [xx] we may want to get I'm glad that the department prefers to

have that mix or keep the Governor's Budget in targeting administrative position. Okay, what I think I heard you say that the Governor said [xx] but he din't give the salary number, your [xx] personnel ID number. The Governor's Budget could have been vacant positions, but the department would not acknowledge anything to do with those [xx] position [xx] gave a little bit [xx] just a little bit more. Is it filled?  Filled positions. Okay, but again we did not list your pretty much your employee number. Is that correct? and it is my understanding that in the senate budget that, 50 or 56? 56 and it was cross the board in the senate and the senate rules required if you eliminated any position you had to [xx] the provision number so that was not something that was targeted at the department of transportation but it was across the board for all committees. So what I'm hearing you say is, which I personally feel is very poor policy is unemployed with State North Carolina [xx] at the Senate budget and see their job pretty much because they have the employee number [xx] perform. What performance did he put to study?   Let's give it an example. I think there is. If I, I'm sorry [xx] Sure Let's give it an example of how the department of transportation went through this [xx] and process to eliminate 81 positions to meet the guidelines that they generally recently set forward. I believe they even ended up eliminating 71 positions and the rest were vacant. So of those 71 what the Department of Transportation did is, because again you don't eliminate a person you eliminate a position number. And so 60 of those positions moved to vacant positions, and so it only about 11 or 12 that actually lost their job. So it is an important distinction to say you don't eliminate an employee, you eliminate a position. Follow up question. Follow up. Would it be a fair assessment that an employee would know what his position rank number would be? They are notified based on the State personnel, like I personally don't know my position number, but you are quickly notified by the Human Resources Department you are affected. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'm actually going to follow up on the same line but directed to Mr. Henderson. Not all administrative in the regards of the [xx] Adams that or the personel number that were listed. Was there any or are you aware of any sort of over locking strategic plan or philosophy behind the ones that were eliminated in the budget? In the senate budget? Right, not sir, I'm not aware the specific strategy. There is some concern on our part that some of the positions were identified out of less than complete understanding of the function carried out by those positions. The departments proposal or the departments actual proposal over the governors budget identify a total number of dollars to be saved, but did not identify positions. We certainly understand that there is a lot of change that goes on as the budget adopted and therefore wanted to preserve the maximum amount of flexibility we would have to make those changes with the least disruption to the actual ongoing process. As Mr. Cameron has pointed out, to eliminate a position merely starts a process whereby an individual is able to be moved if that's possible or to apply with Ref-priority for additional vacancies that come open. From an organisational management standpoint, it definitely has an impact to the people who are identified as any of us would, but may not ultimately have an impact on whether they stay with the State. Thank you. Any other questions or comments from the citizens[sp?] Right, thank you Sir. Thank you. Next we have Kelly Thomas,

who is the Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner. Good morning, Kelly Thomas again. Thank you, Chairs members of the committee thank you for your support and special thanks to Fiscal Research Division for all their work in both of these budget items. I'd like to start off and say I won't be as eloquent as the chief, I use knuckle head English and so if I get a little complicated I'll slow it back. Driving change is what I was brought here to do. I was not brought here to keep DMV at the status quo, and so driving change with your support has had significant improvements. The customer service training last year, the issuance of single tax this year, optimization as of this morning we've opened our second optimize office in Greensboro today it opened with all new cubical setups, we'll send that kiosk[sp?] coming in September and online renewal testing that began on 4th June, as of yesterday we've issued 42, 000 online renewals, and I got to tell you that test is still in progress. But that's 42, 000 citizens that did not have to visit a DMV to get their services completed and accomplished. All that's done because of your support as we modernize DNV. Your LPA compensation changes in budget were exactly what we asked for. Our LPA study highlighted that they weren't correctly being compensated for, and I think they oversighted on the LRP was just a simple oversight. The SOP in the new contract performance contracts is exactly what we want to get towards. I think that the difference between the two budgets that I saw is that the senate had a language that did not use rules or temporary rules and that more supported our SOP, our performance contract. More importantly it also supported the LPA Association and what they're language would support and reference to the Gladwin County Customer Call Center, and our second year of tax and tags together, we had nearly 1.9 million calls, of the 1.9 million calls 40% of them that was taxes. So when you think about the request to retain 44 term positions, that's 44 of the 59, it's not all the positions we requested to retain. That's 44 of the 59, it's not all the positions we requested to retain, but the one's we needed the answer forms, that is essential. So again 40% of the calls in the second year of tax and tags is what Bladen County customer call center is answering. Chairman Torbett. Thank you commissioner. The concern I had when we were discussing that part was we know it'll be a transitioning period of time as you would tax and tag, and we were hoping that would at some time be reduced in doorway to the point where the visiting staff would be able to manage those policies, but it wasn't a new thing and it wasn't a very hard new thing to put on people of North Carolina, but when would you think say today would be sufficient enough time where that full compliment would no longer be needed to do that process? That's a good question so after two years, we've eliminated 59 down to 44 so after another year maybe that 44 goes to 39, I got to tell you, the calls haven't stopped. Now, our automation service for a call center is improving, so again we talk about what is our industry standard, how long can a customer wait on hold before we answer a call? The industry standard is 60 seconds worth three minutes. So if I go above 44 we're going to go to five minutes wait time so you can ask why I'm trying to get a balance here at what an industry standard is for a wait time for phone systems. Improve a phone system that at least plays music so that when you're on hold for a minute, at least you can listen to Toby Keith. Obviously you're all targeted to the number of calls coming in. Yes sir. Do you see them suddenly ever so close, or not decreasing at all. Sir, that's a good question. I would have thought that at the end of March, come 1st April that these calls would have died down so that we wouldn't continue to see something in April, May and June. That's not been the answer. Most of the time, it continues

through out the year. March was our peak, but the calls still continue on April, May and June. So, I want to monitor just like you want me to do, I'd like to say that 44 is what we need at least for the next year. I'd like to say it's for two years. But come January February if our calls have died down that much as this term positions, my recommendation ought to be something less than 44, but again so I'm measuring wait-time, customers calls and trying to improve our customer's support and service. Follow up. Finally on this [xx] perhaps playing different genre, but you left calling [xx]  People might just be calling for the music [xx] didn't know. Yes Sir, they have no music today. You're right, thank you. I'm going to not spend a whole lot of time on positions except to say that all DMV positions, all 1, 529 of them are admin positions. They're not technicians, they're not engineers. So as we look at where these positions would come if they're vacant, all those are DMV positions for the most part, and so today based on the outsourcing that I do, I outsourced 700 contract employees for LPA services. I don't think either one of the elements gave me a whole lot of credit for outsourcing because it's not a measurement that I've had before but just to be upfront with it we outsource 700 contract providers to do vehicle services. Lastly the DMV headquarters is going to complete a life safety program here in about 30 days is on a punch list right now complete in it, this life safety is so that we can continue to operate in this building for at least at max five more years the life safety allowed us to give ingress, emergency ingress, emergency notification and fire safety measures up to standard before that we were not in standards we are at risk. In a capital improvements with the DOT it had projection where DMV headquarters to be go out to the state property along poor roads that design right now result $4.8 million as a couple improvements project to be D. A. P. P. P of [xx] was going to be [xx] sponsored and co-sponsored by private industry or support without a headquarters on the focus on a five year program  i'm not sure where the headquarters will go. We cannot stay in the building we're in for five more years after they finish life safety. That was an oversight technically I believe on both budgets. It was not recognized in either one and it's a $4.8 million capital improvement so those are the driving change questions and comments.   [xx] thank you Rick, rounded to the to the next part do you often know specifically you would acquire the biggest time [xx] when you have your clientele, your [xx], your customers coming to that facility or would that be best understood [xx] like all [xx]. Great question sir, let me tell you the idea and the concept for this headquarters is the customer facing sanction any business section. This customer facing section would collapse three location in [xx] today. It brings the event [xx] district headquarters and licences theft and drivers services into this one facility. It would still have vehicle services which currently we refer to as [xx] window and it eliminated a warehouse, which we no longer need or an RTP area which we do all transportation registration, which we are leasing today. So it collapses all these functions at DMV into one headquarters. It also privatizes it, it allows five guys or whoever else wants to establish, wants to have their facility established there. Its along with DMV services and that was a concept for this new DMV headquarters. It wasn't just DMV business, that could be a mortgage loan, bank system co-located there. It could be a restaurant, it could be a physical fitness center, it is a public access. Any other questions or comments? Thank you Commissioner.

Any other general questions or comments from the committee? Alright with that we stand adjourned.