(1) There is created and established a body politic and corporate, an agency of the state, to be known as the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.
(2) The governing board of the authority shall consist of 16 members.
(a) There shall be one nonvoting, ex officio member of the board who shall be appointed by the secretary of the department but who must be the district secretary for one of the department districts within the seven-county area of the authority, at the discretion of the secretary of the department.
(b) There shall be 15 voting members of the board as follows:
1. The county commissions of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties shall each appoint one elected official to the board. Members appointed under this subparagraph shall serve 2-year terms with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person. If a member under this subparagraph leaves elected office, a vacancy exists on the board to be filled as provided in this subparagraph.
2. The West Central Florida M.P.O. Chairs Coordinating Committee shall appoint one member to the board who must be a chair of one of the six metropolitan planning organizations in the region. The member appointed under this subparagraph shall serve a 2-year term with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person.
3.a. Two members of the board shall be the mayor, or the mayor’s designee, of the largest municipality within the service area of each of the following independent transit agencies or their legislatively created successor agencies: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. The largest municipality is that municipality with the largest population as determined by the most recent United States Decennial Census.
b. Should a mayor choose not to serve, his or her designee must be an elected official selected by the mayor from that largest municipality’s city council or city commission. A mayor or his or her designee shall serve a 2-year term with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person.
c. A designee’s term ends if the mayor leaves office for any reason. If a designee leaves elected office on the city council or commission, a vacancy exists on the board to be filled by the mayor of that municipality as provided in sub-subparagraph a.
d. A mayor who has served three consecutive terms on the board must designate an elected official from that largest municipality’s city council or city commission to serve on the board for at least one term.
4.a. One membership on the board shall rotate every 2 years between the mayor, or his or her designee, of the largest municipality within Manatee County and the mayor, or his or her designee, of the largest municipality within Sarasota County. The mayor, or his or her designee, from the largest municipality within Manatee County shall serve the first 2-year term. The largest municipality is that municipality with the largest population as determined by the most recent United States Decennial Census.
b. Should a mayor choose not to serve, his or her designee must be an elected official selected by the mayor from that municipality’s city council or city commission.
5. The Governor shall appoint to the board four business representatives, each of whom must reside in one of the seven counties governed by the authority, none of whom may be elected officials, and at least one but not more than two of whom shall represent counties within the federally designated Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area. Members appointed by the Governor shall serve 3-year terms with not more than two consecutive terms being served by any person.
(c) Appointments may be staggered to avoid mass turnover at the end of any 2-year or 4-year period. A vacancy during a term shall be filled by the respective appointing authority within 90 days in the same manner as the original appointment and only for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(3) The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to receive from the authority reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem actually incurred in connection with the business of the authority as provided in s. 112.061. (4) Members of the board shall comply with the applicable financial disclosure requirements of ss. 112.3145, 112.3148, and 112.3149.
(5) The Governor shall appoint the initial chair from among the full membership of the board immediately upon their appointment. In no case may those appointments be made any later than 45 days following the creation of the authority. The chair will hold this position for a minimum term of 2 years. The board shall elect a vice chair and secretary-treasurer from among its members who shall serve a minimum term of 1 year and shall establish the duties and powers of those positions during its inaugural meeting. During its inaugural meeting, the board will also establish its rules of conduct and meeting procedures.
(6) At the end of the initial chair’s term, the board shall elect a chair from among its members. The chair shall hold office at the will of the board. In that election, the board shall also elect a vice chair and secretary-treasurer.
(7) The first meeting of the authority shall be held no later than 60 days after the creation of the authority.
(8) Eight members of the board shall constitute a quorum, and the vote of eight members is necessary for any action to be taken by the authority. The authority may meet upon the constitution of a quorum. A vacancy does not impair the right of a quorum of the board to exercise all rights and the ability to perform all duties of the authority.
(9) The board may establish committees for the following areas:
(10) The authority may employ an executive director, an executive secretary, its own legal counsel and legal staff, technical experts, engineers, and such employees, permanent or temporary, as it may require. The authority shall determine the qualifications and fix the compensation of such persons, firms, or corporations and may employ a fiscal agent or agents; however, the authority shall solicit sealed proposals from at least three persons, firms, or corporations for the performance of any services as fiscal agents. The authority may, except for duties specified in chapter 120, delegate its power to one or more of its agents or employees to carry out the purposes of this part, subject always to the supervision and control of the authority.
(11)(a) The authority shall establish a Transit Management Committee comprised of the executive directors or general managers, or their designees, of each of the existing transit providers and bay area commuter services.
(b) The authority shall establish a Citizens Advisory Committee comprised of appointed citizen committee members from each county and transit provider in the region, not to exceed 16 members.
(c) The authority may establish technical advisory committees to provide guidance and advice on regional transportation issues. The authority shall establish the size, composition, and focus of any technical advisory committee created.
(d) Persons appointed to a committee shall serve without compensation but may be entitled to per diem or travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.