(1)(a) The authority created and established by the provisions of this part is hereby granted and shall have the right to acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, own, and lease, in the capacity of lessor, the Pasco County Expressway System, hereinafter referred to as “system.”
(b) It is the express intention of this part that said authority, in the construction of the Pasco County Expressway System, shall be authorized to construct any extensions, additions, or improvements to the system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches, roads, bridges, and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications, or revisions of the project as shall be deemed desirable and proper.
(2) The authority is hereby granted, and shall have and may exercise, all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient, or incidental to the carrying out of the aforesaid purposes, including, but without being 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 authority, 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 for terms not exceeding 40 years, as either lessee or lessor, in order to carry out the right to lease as set forth in this part.
(e) To enter into and make lease-purchase agreements with the department for terms not exceeding 40 years or until any bonds secured by a pledge of rentals thereunder and any refundings thereof are fully paid as to both principal and interest, whichever is longer.
(f) To fix, alter, charge, establish, and collect rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities of the Pasco County Expressway System, which rates, fees, rentals, and other charges shall always be sufficient to comply with any covenants made with the holders of any bonds issued pursuant to this part. However, such right and power may be assigned or delegated by the authority to the department.
(g)1. To borrow money as provided by the State Bond Act.
2. The authority shall reimburse Pasco County for any sums expended from the gasoline tax funds used for the payment of such obligations. Any gasoline tax funds so disbursed shall be repaid when the authority deems it practicable, together with interest at the highest rate applicable to any obligations of the authority.
(h) To make contracts of every name and nature and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying on of its business.
(i) 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, the County of Pasco, or any other public body of the state.
(j) To have the power of eminent domain, including the procedural powers granted under both chapters 73 and 74.
(k) To pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise encumber all or any part of the revenues, rates, fees, rentals, or other charges or receipts of the authority, including all or any portion of the Pasco County gasoline tax funds received by the authority pursuant to the terms of any lease-purchase agreement between the authority and the department as security for all or any of the obligations of the authority.
(l) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient for the conduct of its business and the general welfare of the authority in order to carry out the powers granted to it by this part or any other law.
(3) The authority shall have no power at any time or in any manner to pledge the credit or taxing power of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof, including the County of Pasco; nor shall any of the authority’s obligations be deemed to be obligations of the state or of any political subdivision or agency thereof; nor shall the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof except the authority be liable for the payment of the principal of or interest on such obligations.
(4) Anything in this part or any other provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, the consent of any municipality shall not be necessary for any project of the authority, whether or not the project lies within the boundaries of any municipality either in whole or in part. However, the officials and residents of any municipality in which any project of the authority is to be located in whole or in part shall be given ample opportunity to discuss the project and advise the authority as to their position thereon at a duly advertised public hearing. Advertisement of said public hearing shall be by way of a newspaper published in Pasco County and circulated in the affected municipalities. Said legal advertisement shall be published once at least 2 weeks prior to the public hearing and shall contain the time and place of the public hearing and a short description of the subject to be discussed. The public hearing may be adjourned from time to time and set for a time and place certain without necessity of further advertisement.
(5)(a) The authority is directed to reevaluate all projects planned as of July 1, 1969. As to such projects, the authority shall hold at least one duly advertised public hearing in each of the cities of Dade City and New Port Richey prior to final approval of any such project. Subsequent to the hearings, the authority may amend or modify the project and adjust its proposed route so as to best serve the needs of the county and to protect the rights of persons affected by the project.
(b) Projects subject to the provisions of this subsection shall not be finally approved except by a three-fifths vote of the authority. After the authority approves same, the Pasco County Commission shall order a referendum election on such project by the freeholders of the county. Approval of a majority of those voting in such election shall constitute approval of such project.