(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 Southwest Florida Transportation System, hereinafter referred to as the “system,” unless precluded by state or federal law. This part does not preclude the department from acquiring, holding, constructing, improving, maintaining, operating, or owning the tolled lanes on Interstate Highway 75 or nontolled facilities that may be part of the Southwest Florida Transportation System and that are part of the State Highway System.
(b) It is the express intention of this part that said authority, in the construction of said Southwest Florida Transportation System, within the geographic boundaries of Collier and Lee Counties, is limited to the pursuit of additional lanes on Interstate Highway 75 within these counties which are tolled as express lanes. Further, the authority shall be authorized to construct any extensions, additions, or improvements to said system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches, roads, bridges, and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications, or revisions of said project as shall be deemed desirable and proper with the concurrence of the respective county commissions and the department if the project is to be part of the State Highway System. The responsibilities of the authority will not be expanded to cover any other projects beyond Interstate Highway 75 toll lanes and appurtenant facilities unless resolutions in support of such expansion or other project are adopted by the Boards of County Commissioners of Lee and Collier Counties and, if applicable, by the governing body having jurisdiction of a road system if the project is to become a part of that system.
(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 not limited to, the following rights and powers:
(a) To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, complain, and defend in all courts.
(b) To adopt, use, and alter at will a corporate seal.
(c) To acquire by donation or otherwise, purchase, hold, lease as lessee, and use any franchise or property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, or any options thereof in its own name or in conjunction with others, or 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 it deems necessary, 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 it deems necessary 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 Southwest Florida Transportation 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) To borrow money and make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refunding bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness or obligations, either in temporary or definitive form, hereinafter in this part sometimes called “bonds” of the authority, for the purpose of financing all or part of the improvement or extension of the Southwest Florida Transportation System and appurtenant facilities, including all approaches, streets, roads, bridges, and avenues of access for said Southwest Florida Transportation System, and for any other purpose authorized by this part; to secure the payment of such bonds or any part thereof by a pledge of any or all of its revenues, rates, fees, rentals, or other charges; and in general to provide for the security of said bonds and the rights and remedies of the holders thereof. The authority may enter into an agreement between the authority and one or more counties for the pledge of county gasoline tax funds, county sales tax, or other county revenues to secure any bonds issued for an authority project as authorized hereunder. In the event the authority shall determine to fund or refund any bonds theretofore issued by said authority, prior to the maturity thereof, the proceeds of such funding or refunding bonds shall, pending the prior redemption of the bonds to be funded or refunded, be invested in direct obligations of the United States, and it is the express intention of this part that such outstanding bonds may be funded or refunded by the issuance of bonds pursuant to this part.
(h) To make contracts of every name and nature, including, but not limited to, partnerships providing for participation in ownership and revenues, 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, Collier County, Lee County, any city within Collier County or Lee County, or with any other public body of the state.
(j) To have the power of eminent domain, including the procedural powers granted under 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 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.
(m) With the consent of the county within whose jurisdiction the following activities occur, to construct, operate, and maintain roads, bridges, avenues of access, thoroughfares, and boulevards outside the jurisdictional boundaries of Collier and Lee Counties, together with the right to construct, repair, replace, operate, install, and maintain toll payment systems thereon, with all necessary and incidental powers to accomplish the foregoing.