(1)(a) The authority created and established by this part shall have the right to own, operate, maintain, and manage a public transportation system in the area of Seminole, Orange, and Osceola Counties, hereinafter referred to as the Central Florida Regional Transportation System.
(b) It is the express intention of this part that the authority be authorized to plan, develop, own, purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire, demolish, construct, improve, relocate, equip, repair, maintain, operate, and manage a regional public transportation system and public transportation facilities; to establish and determine such policies as may be necessary for the best interest of the operation and promotion of a public transportation system; and to adopt such rules as may be necessary to govern the operation of a public transportation system and public transportation facilities.
(2) The authority may exercise all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient, or incidental to the carrying out of the aforesaid purposes, including, but not limited to, the following rights and powers:
(a) To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, complain and defend in all courts in its own name.
(b) To adopt and use a corporate seal.
(c) To have the power of eminent domain for acquisition of the public transportation facilities.
(d) To acquire, purchase, hold, lease as a 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 authority.
(e) To sell, convey, exchange, lease, or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property acquired by the authority, including air rights.
(f) To fix, alter, establish, and collect rates, fares, fees, rentals, and other charges for the use of any public transportation system or facilities owned or operated by the authority.
(g) To develop and provide feeder transit services to rail stations.
(h) To adopt bylaws for the regulation of the affairs and the conduct of the business of the authority. The bylaws shall provide for quorum and voting requirements, maintenance of minutes and other official records, and preparation and adoption of an annual budget.
(i) To lease, rent, or contract for the operation or management of any part of a public transportation system or public transportation facility, including concessions. In awarding a contract, the authority shall consider, but is not limited to, the following:
1. The qualifications of each applicant.
2. The level of service.
3. The efficiency, cost, and anticipated revenue.
4. The construction, operation, and management plan.
5. The financial ability to provide reliable service.
6. The impact on other transportation modes, including the ability to interface with other transportation modes and facilities.
(j) To enforce collection of rates, fees, and charges; and to establish and enforce fines and penalties for violations of any rules.
(k) To advertise and promote public transportation systems, public transportation facilities, and activities of the authority.
(l) To employ an executive director, attorney, staff, and consultants.
(m) To cooperate with other governmental entities and to contract with other governmental agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Federal Government, counties, and municipalities.
(n) To enter into joint development agreements.
(o) To accept funds from other governmental sources, and to accept private donations.
(p) To purchase directly from local, national, or international insurance companies liability insurance which the authority is contractually and legally obligated to provide, the requirements of s. 287.022(1) notwithstanding. (q) Notwithstanding s. 343.65, to borrow money in a principal amount not to exceed $10 million in any calendar year to refinance all or part of the costs or obligations of the authority, including, but not limited to, obligations of the authority as a lessee under a lease.
(3) The authority shall develop and adopt a plan for the development of the Central Florida Commuter Rail. Such plan shall address the authority’s plan for the development of public and private revenue sources, funding of capital and operating costs, the service to be provided, and the extent to which counties within the area of operation of the authority are to be served. The plan shall be reviewed and updated annually. The plan shall be consistent, to the maximum extent feasible, with the approved local government comprehensive plans of the units of local government served by the authority.
(4) The authority may employ a secretary and executive director and such legal, financial, and other professional staff or consultants, technical experts, engineers, and other employees, permanent or temporary, as it may require and may determine the qualifications and fix the compensation of such persons, firms, or corporations. The authority may establish a personnel system for employees of the authority.
(5) The authority may delegate to one or more of its officers or employees such of its powers as it shall deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, subject always to the supervision and control of the authority.
(6) The authority, through a resolution of its governing board, may elect to expand its service area and board partnership with any county which is a contiguous county to the existing Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority service area. The board shall determine the conditions and terms, including the number of representatives of such partnership.