(1)(a) The department shall have regulatory authority over all public railroad-highway grade crossings in the state, including the authority to issue permits which shall be required prior to the opening and closing of such crossings.
(b) A “public railroad-highway grade crossing” is a location at which a railroad track is crossed at grade by a public road.
(2)(a) The department, in cooperation with the several railroad companies operating in the state, shall develop and adopt a program for the expenditure of funds available for the construction of projects for the reduction of the hazards at public railroad-highway grade crossings. The department and the railroad companies are not liable for any action or omission in the development of such program or for the priority given to any crossing improvement.
(b) Every railroad company maintaining a public railroad-highway grade crossing shall, upon reasonable notice from the department, install, maintain, and operate at such crossing traffic control devices to provide motorists with warning of the approach of trains. The department shall base its notice on its adopted program for the reduction of hazards at such crossings and on construction efficiency considerations relating to the geographical proximity of crossings included in such program. The design of the traffic control devices must be approved by the department, and the cost of their purchase and installation must be paid from the funds described in paragraph (a).
(c) Any public railroad crossing opened prior to July 1, 1972, shall be maintained by the railroad company at its own expense, unless the maintenance has been provided for in another manner by contractual agreement entered into prior to October 1, 1982. If the railroad company fails to maintain the crossing, the unit of government with jurisdiction over the public road that is crossed, after notifying the railroad company of the needed repairs and after giving the company 30 days after the date of receipt of the notice to make the repairs, shall proceed to make the repairs. The cost of repairs shall thereupon become a lien upon the railroad and its rolling stock, which lien shall be enforceable by an ordinary suit at law. Any judgment rendered under this paragraph shall include a reasonable attorney’s fee.
(d) Prior to commencing the construction, rehabilitation, or maintenance of the railroad grade or highway approaches at a public railroad-highway grade crossing, the railroad company or governmental entity initiating the work shall notify the other party in order to promote the coordination of activities and to ensure a safe crossing with smooth pavement transitions from the grade of the railroad to the highway approaches.
(3) The department is authorized to regulate the speed limits of railroad traffic on a municipal, county, regional, or statewide basis. Such speed limits shall be established by order of the department, which order is subject to the provisions of chapter 120. The department shall have the authority to adopt reasonable rules to carry out the provisions of this subsection. Such rules shall, at a minimum, provide for public input prior to the issuance of any such order.
(4) Jurisdiction to enforce such orders shall be as provided in s. 316.640, and any penalty for violation thereof shall be imposed upon the railroad company guilty of such violation. Nothing herein shall prevent a local governmental entity from enacting ordinances relating to the blocking of streets by railroad engines and cars.
(5) Any local governmental entity or other public or private agency planning a public event, such as a parade or race, that involves the crossing of a railroad track shall notify the railroad as far in advance of the event as possible and in no case less than 72 hours in advance of the event so that the coordination of the crossing may be arranged by the agency and railroad to assure the safety of the railroad trains and the participants in the event.