PA 09-186—sHB 6649 (VETOED; OVERRIDDEN)

Transportation Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

SUMMARY: The act makes numerous changes to laws governing the operations of the Department of Transportation (DOT). It:

1. authorizes the executive director of the State Traffic Commission to certify copies of documents and records ( 1);

2. modifies the methods DOT must use to advertise for consultant services ( 2);

3. permits DOT to sell property acquired for potential use as the Route 7 expressway between Danbury and Norwalk ( 3);

4. prohibits DOT from starting any phase of the Stamford Transportation Center parking garage demolition project unless it makes alternative parking spaces available nearby ( 4);

5. requires DOT to study the feasibility of providing commuter bus service to the Bridgeport train station ( 5);

6. requires DOT to provide to the Transportation Committee copies of any reports required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) ( 6);

7. prohibits a town from terminating, reorganizing, or modifying a port authority or port district without the DOT commissioner's written consent ( 7);

8. requires DOT to (a) develop a plan to implement zero-emission buses throughout the state and identify locations for hydrogen refueling stations and (b) analyze the potential impact of establishing electronic tolls in Connecticut ( 8 & 13);

9. establishes a mediation process for a type of property sold by DOT because it is no longer necessary for highway purposes ( 9);

10. exempts certain types of wheelchair accessible taxi vehicles from DOT regulations on accessibility ( 10);

11. exempts wreckers towing vehicles in certain situations from maximum length and gross weight limits ( 11);

12. authorizes an East Lyme Boy Scout troop to conduct an annual Labor Day weekend coffee stop at the Waterford weigh station if certain conditions are met ( 12);

13. designates commemorative or memorial names for 17 road segments and 12 bridges, designates informational signs for eight destinations, and modifies or changes several other memorial names ( 14-52, 56-58);

14. requires DOT to adopt regulations for designating “control cities” on interstate highways ( 53); and

15. amends a provision of PA 09-154 ( 55).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1 — STATE TRAFFIC COMMISSION—CERTIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS

The act authorizes the executive director of the State Traffic Commission to certify copies of any document or record pertaining to the commission's operations. Any such document or record the executive director attests is a true copy must be considered competent evidence of the facts it contains in any Connecticut court. The State Traffic Commission consists of the transportation, motor vehicles, and public safety commissioners.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

2 — DOT CONSULTANT SELECTION PROCESS

By law, only firms that are technically prequalified by DOT in a particular year for a particular service are eligible to respond to a DOT solicitation for those particular services (CGS 13b-20e). The act conforms another law governing DOT notice to consultants to that law. It (1) requires the commissioner to notify all prequalified firms in the service category for which DOT is seeking assistance and (2) limits the current requirement that DOT publish a notice in various venues to situations where the prequalified list has fewer than five consulting firms or does not include the area of expertise DOT requires. Previously, this notice had to be published in appropriate professional magazines, professional newsletters, and newspapers. The act eliminates the requirement for posting notices in newspapers, and permits DOT to do so in on-line professional websites instead.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

3 — LAND ACQUIRED FOR ROUTE 7 EXPRESSWAY PROJECT

Prior law prohibited the DOT commissioner from selling, or using in any manner that is incompatible with transportation purposes, any existing right-of-way that was acquired for potential use as the Route 7 expressway from Danbury to Norwalk. The commissioner was also prohibited from selling or using incompatibly any property currently under his control in Danbury adjacent to Route 7 and south of Wooster Heights Road.

The act eliminates these prohibitions on sale or use of the acquired property. However, a subsequent act (PA 09-203) restores the second prohibition with respect to property in Danbury adjacent to Route 7 and south of Wooster Heights Road (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

4 — STAMFORD TRANSPORTATION CENTER PARKING GARAGE

The act prohibits the transportation commissioner from beginning any phase of the project to demolish the Stamford Transportation Center parking garage unless DOT makes alternative parking spaces available near the center before the demolition begins. The number of spaces must equal or exceed the number that will be lost by each phase of the demolition project.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

5 — COMMUTER BUS SERVICE FEASIBILITY STUDY

The act requires the DOT, within existing budgetary resources, to study and determine the feasibility of providing commuter bus service from commuter parking lots to the Bridgeport train station via Route 8 and Housatonic Avenue. DOT must submit its findings and recommendations to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2010.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

6 — REPORT ON ACTIONS CONCERNING THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA)

The act requires the DOT to submit copies of reports required pursuant to the ARRA to the Transportation Committee.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

7 — TERMINATION, REORGANIZATION, OR MODIFICATION OF A PORT DISTRICT OR PORT AUTHORITY

The act requires a town to get the written consent of the transportation commissioner before it:

1. terminates or reorganizes a port district established by the town's legislative body pursuant to state law or a port authority appointed by the town's chief elected official pursuant to the law;

2. modifies the duties or powers of a port authority; or

3. modifies the property included in the port district.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

8 — ZERO-EMISSION BUS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The act requires DOT to consult with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. to develop a plan to implement zero-emissions buses throughout the state. The plan must include the technological, facility, and financial arrangements needed for such a fleet conversion. It must also identify specific locations for hydrogen refueling stations along state highways or at locations that could potentially be used by state fleets or other public or private sector fleets.

The plan must be part of a larger collaborative effort between DOT and the center to identify strategies to expand the availability and use of hydrogen fuel and renewable energy resources within any corridor or around such a centralized fleet fueling location. The plan must be completed within available appropriated funds designated for the purpose of studying or designing clean fuel or alternative fuel solutions.

The plan must be submitted to the Transportation, Environment, and Energy and Technology committees by December 31, 2010, subject to the availability of study funds from readily available and already appropriated funding sources.

The hydrogen refueling stations identified in the plan must provide fuel for zero-emissions vehicles at appropriate pressures and volumes the center identifies. The study must consider technologies for generating hydrogen that use products principally manufactured and assembled in Connecticut.

The plan must also examine appropriate available funding from the state and federal governments for purchasing zero-emissions buses and constructing any recommended hydrogen fueling facilities from funds designated for the purpose of encouraging clean fuel or alternative fuel use. Funding plans within the study must be provided in a way that encourages federal and private cost sharing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

9 — MEDIATION OF LAND SALES

The act establishes a mediation process between DOT and certain owners of property it has acquired for highway purposes when the parties fail to negotiate a purchase as the law provides. By law, when the DOT determines that a residential property that had a single family dwelling on it when DOT acquired it is no longer necessary for highway purposes, DOT must first offer it for purchase by the former owner or owners at its appraised value. This right of first refusal applies for 25 years from the time of acquisition.

Under the act, someone is an “eligible owner” for purposes of the mediation process if the person (1) retained residency on the property for at least 10 years after DOT acquired the property, (2) was notified by DOT that the property is no longer necessary for highway purposes, and (3) failed to negotiate a purchase pursuant to the statutory requirements.

No later than January 1, 2010, the act requires the public works and environmental protection commissioners and the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in conjunction with the State Properties Review Board (SPRB), to serve as mediators. The officials may designate someone else to perform this function, but anyone serving as a mediator must have mediation training and experience in real estate transactions and valuation.

Notwithstanding the requirements of the law on such first refusal purchases, if the DOT commissioner and an eligible owner are unable to negotiate a purchase pursuant to the law, the eligible owner or the owner's designee, on or after January 1, 2010, may submit a written request for mediation to the SPRB. When it receives such a request, the SPRB must (1) notify the DOT commissioner, or his designee, and (2) convene the mediators. The mediation must be limited to the value of the property and the purchase price. The costs of mediation must be shared equally by DOT and the eligible owner.

Once assigned by the SPRB, the designated mediator must contact the eligible owner and the DOT commissioner, or their designees, to schedule the mediation. The mediation must be completed within 90 days of the SPRB's receipt of the owner's request for mediation. Within 30 days after completing the mediation, the “mediators” must submit a written summary of the mediation agreement to the Transportation and Government Administrative and Elections committees for their approval. (This reference implies that more than one mediator is assigned the mediation, but the previous provision requires “a person” assigned as a mediator to contact the parties to schedule the mediation. ) The committees must hold a joint meeting during a regular legislative session to approve or disapprove the agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the eligible owner has 15 days to sign a purchase agreement. If it is disapproved, or if a purchase agreement is not signed within the time limit, the state must dispose of the property according to law.

By law, when a first refusal offer is not accepted, DOT must next offer a parcel that meets local zoning requirements for residential or commercial use to other state agencies. A parcel that does not meet the requirements must next be offered to all abutting landowners according to DOT regulations. If the sale or transfer of the parcel results in an abutting owner's property becoming a nonconforming use under local zoning, DOT may sell or transfer the property without public bid or auction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

10 — WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE TAXICABS

The act permits any vehicle that (1) complies with the wheelchair accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and (2) meets Department of Motor Vehicles registration requirements to be used to provide taxicab service for people requiring wheelchair accessibility regardless of any DOT regulatory requirements on wheelchair accessibility that might otherwise apply.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

11 — WRECKERS

The act (1) modifies the current exception for wreckers from the maximum vehicle length law for certain types of towing operations and (2) establishes a second exception for wreckers from the state's maximum vehicle weight limits.

Towing that Exceeds State Length Limits

State law establishes maximum length, width, height, and weight requirements for vehicles using public highways. Vehicles exceeding these maximum dimensions may only be operated under a DOT over-dimension permit. Previously, a licensed wrecker could tow or haul a motor vehicle without regard to the overall length of the wrecker and the towed vehicle if the vehicle (1) was involved in an accident or became disabled and remained within the limits of the highway, or (2) was being removed by order of a traffic or law enforcement authority. The tow had to occur from the highway to the nearest license repair facility or the motor carrier's terminal where it could be properly repaired, but the distance could not exceed 25 miles.

The act (1) removes the restrictive circumstances on the purpose and destination of the tow, (2) applies the exception to both vehicles and combinations of vehicles, and (3) applies the exception to a “vehicle” rather than a “motor vehicle. ” (By law, a “vehicle” is any device suitable for the conveyance, drawing, or other transportation of persons or property, whether operated on wheels, runners, a cushion of air, or other means. This does not include devices propelled or drawn by a human owner or used exclusively on tracks. ) Thus, for example, under the third change noted above, towers could make an over-length tow if only the trailer portion of a tractor-trailer was involved.

Towing that Exceeds State Weight Limits

If a wrecker has been issued an annual DOT permit, the act permits it to tow or haul a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles that exceeds the state maximum gross combination weight limits for that type of vehicle or combination if it (1) was involved in an accident, (2) became disabled and remains within the highway limits, or (3) is being removed pursuant to a law enforcement order. The tow must be made to the nearest repair facility or the carrier's terminal. Any wrecker that does not have an annual DOT permit may only make such a tow if it gets a DOT single trip permit.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

12 — BOY SCOUT LABOR DAY COFFEE STOP

The act authorizes Boy Scout Troop 24 of East Lyme to operate an annual Labor Day weekend coffee stop at the Waterford weigh station on I-95 southbound in accordance with any public health and safety standards established by the State Police, the DMV, and the DOT.

It permits the coffee stop to operate 24 hours per day for each day of the Labor Day weekend if adequate adult supervision is provided during all operational hours. The adult leaders of the scout troop must give the transportation commissioner a complete schedule of the hours of operation and a roster of the adult supervision to be provided each hour. The information must be submitted at least 30 days before Labor Day weekend annually.

The commissioner must review the schedule and roster to determine if adequate adult supervision is provided and, at his discretion, may require provision of additional supervision. If it is not provided, the commissioner may prohibit the troop's use of the Waterford facility.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

13 — DOT ANALYSIS OF IMPACTS OF ESTABLISHING ELECTRONIC TOLLS IN CONNECTICUT

The act requires DOT to analyze, with people it employs and within existing budgetary resources, the potential impact of establishing electronic tolls on Connecticut highways. The analysis must consider:

1. legal prohibitions or constraints, including liability issues and state and federal constitutional issues; and

2. financial issues, including potential revenue to be generated, potential funding lost or at risk, including federal funds, and any constraints on the revenue received from such tolls.

The transportation commissioner may consult with the attorney general in completing the analysis and must submit the results to the General Assembly by December 31, 2010.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

14-52 & 56-58 — COMMEMORATIVE ROAD AND BRIDGE NAMES AND SPECIAL DIRECTION SIGNS FOR DESIGNATED DESTINATIONS

The act designates commemorative or memorial names for 17 road segments, and 12 bridges. It also directs DOT to post directional information signs on state highways for eight specific destinations. Finally, the act modifies two previous memorial bridge names, relocates another, and changes one memorial designation from a highway to a bridge. The individual names and act sections are shown below.

Act

Location

Commemorative or Memorial Name

Highways

16

Route 130 in Stratford from Bridgeport line to Elm Street

“Rev. Dr. William O. Johnson Memorial Highway”

17

Route 309 in Simsbury from Sugar Loaf Cut to the Route 167 junction

“Sergeant Felix M. Del Greco, Jr. Memorial Highway”

18

From Bridge No. 3830 over Route 40 in North Haven to Route 5 (State Street)

“Amvets Post No. 9 Memorial Highway”

19

Route 364 in Southington from Route 120 to East Street

“Officer Timothy Foley Memorial Highway”

20

Route 66 in East Hampton

“Governor William A. O'Neill Memorial Highway”

21

Route 337 in New Haven from Myron Street to Beecher Place

“Julia 'Nana' Coppola Memorial Highway”

23

Route 22 in North Branford (Notch Hill Road) between Route 1 at the intersection of the Branford, Guilford, and North Branford town lines to Route 80 (Foxon Road)

“Beverly D. Tulli Memorial Highway”

24

Route 82 in Salem between Routes 85 and 11

“Officer H. David Cordell Memorial Highway”

26

Route 30 in Vernon from the Route 30/83 junction to the Tolland town line

“Captain Patrick Reeves Memorial Highway”

27

Route 4 in Farmington from Route 10 to the State Road 508 junction

“Colonel Everett H. Kandarian Memorial Highway”

34

Route 4 in Torrington between Routes 118 and 202

“Francis J. Oneglia Memorial Highway”

39

Route 33 in Westport from Route 136 to the Wilton/Ridgefield town line

“Fallen Heroes Highway”

46

Route 133 in Brookfield from the Route 7/202 intersection to Route 25

“Joseph Baker Memorial Highway”

47

Route 202 in Brookfield from the northbound exit of Route 7 north to the intersection of the Route 7 bypass

“Kenneth Keller Memorial Highway”

48

Route 133 in Brookfield from Route 25 to Bridge No. 1343

“Hon. B. Scott Santa Maria Memorial Highway”

49

Route 161 in East Lyme from Route 156 to the I-95 underpass

“Warrant Officer Corps Memorial Highway”

56

Route 116 in Ridgefield from North Street to Maple Shade Road

“Ridgefield Veterans Memorial Highway”

Bridges

14

Bridge No. 431 on Route 4 over the Farmington River in Farmington

“Vincent DiPietro Memorial Bridge”

22

Bridges Nos. 608 and 609 on Route 8 over the Saugatuck River

“Trooper James Savage Memorial Bridge”

25

Bridge No. 1697 on Route 2 eastbound in Glastonbury over Route 94

“Marine Sgt. David Coullard Memorial Bridge”

32

Bridge No. 838 on Route 195 over I-84 in Tolland

“Gary M. Passaro Memorial Bridge”

33

Bridge No. 1432B on I-291 eastbound in South Windsor

“South Windsor Patriotic Commission Memorial Bridge”

35

Bridge No. 43 on I-95 over Route 1 in Darien

“Speaker R. E. Van Norstrand Memorial Bridge”

36

Bridge No. 443 on Route 5 over Route 190 in Enfield

“LTC Robert Albert 'Hitchcock' Burnham Memorial Bridge”

37

Bridge No. 4247 on High Street and the GTI Railroad over Route 72 in New Britain

“Captain Brian S. Letendre Memorial Bridge”

38

Bridge No. 3096 on I-91 over Route 80 in New Haven

“Officer Daniel P. Picagli Memorial Bridge”

43

Bridge No. 4180 on I-84 westbound over the Housatonic River in Southbury and Newtown

“Lt. Thomas F. Carney Memorial Bridge”

45

Bridge No. 3929 over Route 7 in Brookfield

“Petty Officer 1st Class Dale Lewis Memorial Bridge”

57

The “overpass bridge” of I-95 in East Norwalk

“Donald F. Reid Memorial Bridge”

Location Information Signs

28

I-91 at Exit 37 for the Antique Radio Museum

29

I-95 at appropriate north and south bound locations for the Connecticut River Museum in Essex

30

Route 1 north and southbound and Route 156 southbound at the Route 1 intersection for the Veterans Memorial Green in Waterford

31

I-84 at exit 15 east and west bound for the Connecticut Antiques Trail

40

Route 3 in Rocky Hill at the corners of Brook Street and Cromwell Avenue for “Compass Point”

41

I-91 northbound at Exit 48 in Enfield for “Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society”

42

Route 8 southbound at Exit 37 for “Watertown Business Park”

44

Route 9 directing traffic over the Arrigoni Bridge to “Brownstone Discovery Park”

Corrections or Re-designations of Prior Memorial Names

15

Changes the designation for the Route 411 bridge in Rocky Hill from the “John L. Levitow Memorial Bridge” to the “John L. Levitow, S/Sgt. U. S. Air Force and Medal of Honor Recipient Memorial Bridge”

50 & 58

Repeals the designation of Route 102 from Route 35 to Route 7 in Ridgefield as the “Robert Mugford Memorial Highway” and designates Bridge No. 6065 on Route 7 in Norwalk over the Norwalk River as the “Robert Mugford Memorial Bridge”

51

Changes the designation for the “Firefighter Patrick L. Brooks Memorial Bridge” from Bridge No. 3485 on I-84 in West Hartford over Woodruff Street to Bridge No. 1743 A & B on I-84 in West Hartford over SR 535/Ridgewood Road

52

Changes the designation for the bridge on Route 2 in Norwich over the Yantic River from the “Thomas F. Sweeney Bridge” to the “Thomas F. Sweeney Memorial Bridge”

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

53 — REGULATIONS FOR DESIGNATING CONTROL CITIES

The act requires the transportation commissioner to adopt regulations for designating “control cities” in accordance with the standards of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Control Cities

Control cities are forward locations shown on highway signs on the Interstate Highway System. AASHTO periodically publishes a list of control cities for all Interstate routes. Control cities are locations determined by each state to be major destinations or population centers on or near the Interstate Highway System. Once control cities are designated, successive signs throughout the length of the route are expected to display only these cities until the destinations are reached.

Under the AASHTO guidelines, states may submit requests for the addition of cities to the list of control cities to the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Traffic Engineering for consideration. The state's request should include a statement of the proposed addition or change, an illustration which would be helpful to understand the request, and any supporting data or information that would present justification for making the addition or change. A task force selected by the subcommittee reviews the submitted information and makes its recommendation to the subcommittee for a vote. Recommendations are presented to the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways and its Board of Directors for approval.

AASHTO

AASHTO is a professional association consisting of state agencies with official highway and transportation responsibilities. Its primary mission is to advocate transportation-related policies, provide technical services to member states, and establish uniform guidelines and standards, many of which have been adopted as national standards.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

54 — TECHNICAL CHANGE TO DOT OVER-DIMENSION PERMIT AUTHORITY

The act makes a technical change to DOT's authority to issue permits for vehicles that do not conform to the maximum length, width, height, or weight limits to incorporate the changes made for wreckers in 11 of the act.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

55 — AMENDMENT TO PA 09-154

The act modifies a provision of PA 09-154 which requires that accommodations for motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians must be a routine part of the planning, design, construction, and operating activities of all highways in the state. It also requires, beginning October 1, 2010, that at least 1% of the total amount of the funds the state or a municipality has available for construction, maintenance, or repair of roads must be used for all users, including, specifically, bicyclists and pedestrians. Expenditure of the minimum set aside is subject to exception for certain reasons. This act makes the provision requiring routine accommodation for all users in planning, designing, constructing, and operating all highways subject to the same set of exceptional circumstances.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

BACKGROUND

Related Act

PA 09-203 ( 25) readopts the prohibition on the DOT commissioner selling or using in a transportation-incompatible way any property he controls in Danbury adjacent to Route 7 and south of Wooster Heights Road that was repealed by this act. PA 09-203 was vetoed.

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