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The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title XXVI
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Chapter 348
EXPRESSWAY AND BRIDGE AUTHORITIES
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F.S. 348.0306
348.0306 Purposes and powers.
(1)(a) The agency created and established pursuant to this act may acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, and own an expressway system.
(b) The agency, in the construction of an expressway system, shall construct expressways. Construction of an expressway system may be completed in segments, phases, or stages in a manner that will permit the expansion of these segments, phases, or stages to the desired expressway configuration. The agency, in the construction of an expressway system, may construct any extensions of, additions to, or improvements to the expressway system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches, roads, bridges, and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications, or revisions of the project that are deemed desirable and proper. For new capacity projects, the agency shall use the department’s design standards and, to the maximum extent practicable, design facilities such as the department would for high-speed limited access facilities. The agency may only add additional expressways to an expressway system, under the terms and conditions set forth in this act, with the prior express written consent of the board of county commissioners of the county, and only if such additional expressways lack adequate committed funding for implementation, are financially feasible, and are compatible with the existing plans, projects, and programs of the agency.
(2) The agency may exercise all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient, or incidental to the carrying out of its purposes, including, but not limited to, the following rights and powers:
(a) To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, and complain and defend in all courts.
(b) To adopt, use, and alter at will a corporate seal.
(c) To acquire, purchase, hold, lease as lessee, and use any franchise or property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, or any interest therein necessary or desirable for carrying out the purposes of the agency and to sell, lease as lessor, transfer, and dispose of any property or interest therein at any time acquired by it.
(d) To enter into and make leases, either as lessee or as lessor, in order to carry out the right to lease as set forth in this act.
(e) To fix, alter, charge, establish, and collect tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities system, which tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges must always be sufficient to comply with any covenants made with the holders of any bonds secured by the net revenues of the expressway system, including any additions, extensions, or improvements thereof. However, such right and power may be assigned or delegated by the agency to the department.
1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the agency may not increase its toll rates until July 1, 2029, including any increase to the extent necessary to adjust for inflation pursuant to the procedure for toll rate adjustments provided in s. 338.165, except:
a. As may be necessary to comply with covenants in the trust indentures or resolutions adopted in connection with the agency’s bonds secured by the net revenues of the expressway system; or
b. On or after July 1, 2024, as approved by a supermajority vote of the governing body of the agency.
2. A toll rate increase must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the members of the governing body of the agency.
3. The amount of toll revenues used for administrative costs by the agency may not be greater than 10 percent above the annual state average of administrative costs determined as provided in this subparagraph. The Florida Transportation Commission shall determine the annual state average of administrative costs based on the annual administrative costs of all the expressway authorities in this state. For purposes of this subparagraph, administrative costs include, but are not limited to, employee salaries and benefits, small business outreach, insurance, professional service contracts not directly related to the operation and maintenance of the expressway system, and other overhead costs.
4. There must be a distance of at least 5 miles between main through-lane tolling points. The distance requirement of this subparagraph does not apply to entry and exit ramps. However, the agency may establish toll rates such that the toll rate per mile is equal to the rates in effect on July 1, 2019.
(f) To borrow money, make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refund bonds, and other evidence of indebtedness of the agency, which bonds or other evidence of indebtedness may be issued pursuant to the State Bond Act or, in the alternative, pursuant to s. 348.0309(2) to finance or refinance additions, extensions, or improvements to the expressway system within the geographic boundaries of the agency, and to provide for the security of the bonds or other evidence of indebtedness and the rights and remedies of the holders of the bonds or other evidence of indebtedness. Any bonds or other evidence of indebtedness pledging the full faith and credit of the state may only be issued pursuant to the State Bond Act.
1. The agency shall reimburse the county in which it exists for any sums expended from any county gasoline tax funds used for payment of such obligations. Any county gasoline tax funds so disbursed shall be repaid in accordance with the terms of any lease-purchase or interlocal agreement with any county or the department together with interest, at the rate agreed to in such agreement. In no event shall any county gasoline tax funds be more than a secondary pledge of revenues for repayment of any obligations issued pursuant to this part.
2. The agency may refund any bonds previously issued, to the extent allowable by federal tax laws, to finance or refinance an expressway system located within the geographic boundaries of the agency regardless of whether the bonds being refunded were issued by such agency, an agency of the state, or a county.
(g) To enter contracts and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying on of its business. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the agency is subject to the procurement and contracting requirements applicable to the department contained in chapters 287 and 337.
(h) Without limitation of the foregoing, to borrow money and accept grants from, and to enter into contracts, leases, or other transactions with, any federal agency, the state, any agency of the state, any county, or any other public body of the state.
(i) To have the power of eminent domain, including the procedural powers granted under chapters 73 and 74.
(j) To pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise encumber all or any part of the revenues, tolls, rates, fees, rentals, or other charges or receipts of the agency, including all or any portion of county gasoline tax funds received by the agency pursuant to the terms of any lease-purchase agreement between the agency and the department, as security for all or any of the obligations of the agency.
(k) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient for the conduct of its business and the general welfare of the agency in order to carry out the powers granted to it by law.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the consent of any municipality is not necessary for any project of the agency, regardless of whether the project lies in whole or in part within the boundaries of the municipality, if the project is consistent with the locally adopted comprehensive plan. However, if a project is inconsistent with the affected municipal comprehensive plan, the project may not proceed without a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 at which it is determined that the project is consistent with the adopted metropolitan planning organization transportation improvement plan, if any, and the applicable strategic regional plan, and at which regional interests are determined to clearly override the interests of the municipality.
(4) The use or pledge of all or any portion of county gasoline tax funds may not be made without the prior express written consent of the board of county commissioners of each county located within the geographic boundaries of the agency.
(5) The agency shall comply with all statutory requirements of general application which relate to the filing of any report or documentation required by law, including the requirements of ss. 189.015, 189.016, 189.051, and 189.08.
(6) Notwithstanding subsection (3) or any other provision of law to the contrary, the agency may not undertake any construction that is not consistent with both the metropolitan planning organization’s transportation improvement program and the county’s comprehensive plan.
(7) The agency may finance or refinance the planning, design, acquisition, construction, extension, rehabilitation, equipping, preservation, maintenance, or improvement of a public transportation facility or transportation facilities owned or operated by such county, an intermodal facility or facilities, multimodal corridor or corridors, including, but not limited to, bicycle facilities or greenways that will improve transportation services within the county, or any programs or projects that will improve the levels of service on an expressway system, subject to approval of the governing body of the county after public hearing.
(8) The governing body of the county may enter into an interlocal agreement with the agency pursuant to s. 163.01 for the joint performance or performance by either governmental entity of any corporate function of the county or agency necessary or appropriate to enable the agency to fulfill the powers and purposes of this part and promote the efficient and effective transportation of persons and goods in such county.
(9) The agency must have an annual financial audit conducted by an independent certified public accountant licensed pursuant to chapter 473, and the audit report must be made available on the agency’s website.
History.s. 14, ch. 2019-169.