Section 341.302, Florida Statutes 2007
341.302 Rail program, duties and responsibilities of the department.--The department, in conjunction with other governmental units and the private sector, shall develop and implement a rail program of statewide application designed to ensure the proper maintenance, safety, revitalization, and expansion of the rail system to assure its continued and increased availability to respond to statewide mobility needs. Within the resources provided pursuant to chapter 216, and as authorized under Title 49 C.F.R. part 212, the department shall:
(1) Provide the overall leadership, coordination, and financial and technical assistance necessary to assure the effective responses of the state's rail system to current and anticipated mobility needs.
(2) Promote and facilitate the implementation of advanced rail systems, including high-speed rail and magnetic levitation systems.
(3) Develop and periodically update the rail system plan, on the basis of an analysis of statewide transportation needs. The plan shall be consistent with the Florida Transportation Plan developed pursuant to s. 339.155. The rail system plan shall include an identification of priorities, programs, and funding levels required to meet statewide needs. The rail system plan shall be developed in a manner that will assure the maximum use of existing facilities and the optimum integration and coordination of the various modes of transportation, public and private, in the most cost-effective manner possible. The rail system plan shall be updated at least every 2 years and include plans for both passenger rail service and freight rail service.
(4) As part of the work program of the department, formulate a specific program of projects and financing to respond to identified railroad needs.
(5) Provide technical and financial assistance to units of local government to address identified rail transportation needs.
(6) Secure and administer federal grants, loans, and apportionments for rail projects within this state when necessary to further the statewide program.
(7) Develop and administer state standards concerning the safety and performance of rail systems, hazardous material handling, and operations. Such standards shall be developed jointly with representatives of affected rail systems, with full consideration given to nationwide industry norms, and shall define the minimum acceptable standards for safety and performance.
(8) Conduct, at a minimum, inspections of track and rolling stock; train signals and related equipment; hazardous materials transportation, including the loading, unloading, and labeling of hazardous materials at shippers', receivers', and transfer points; and train operating practices to determine adherence to state and federal standards. Department personnel may enforce any safety regulation issued under the Federal Government's preemptive authority over interstate commerce.
(9) Assess penalties, in accordance with the applicable federal regulations, for the failure to adhere to the state standards.
(10) Administer rail operating and construction programs, which programs shall include the regulation of maximum train operating speeds, the opening and closing of public grade crossings, the construction and rehabilitation of public grade crossings, and the installation of traffic control devices at public grade crossings, the administering of the programs by the department including participation in the cost of the programs.
(11) Coordinate and facilitate the relocation of railroads from congested urban areas to nonurban areas when relocation has been determined feasible and desirable from the standpoint of safety, operational efficiency, and economics.
(12) Implement a program of branch line continuance projects when an analysis of the industrial and economic potential of the line indicates that public involvement is required to preserve essential rail service and facilities.
(13) Provide new rail service and equipment when:
(a) Pursuant to the transportation planning process, a public need has been determined to exist;
(b) The cost of providing such service does not exceed the sum of revenues from fares charged to users, services purchased by other public agencies, local fund participation, and specific legislative appropriation for this purpose; and
(c) Service cannot be reasonably provided by other governmental or privately owned rail systems.
The department may own, lease, and otherwise encumber facilities, equipment, and appurtenances thereto, as necessary to provide new rail services; or the department may provide such service by contracts with privately owned service providers.
(14) Furnish required emergency rail transportation service if no other private or public rail transportation operation is available to supply the required service and such service is clearly in the best interest of the people in the communities being served. Such emergency service may be furnished through contractual arrangement, actual operation of state-owned equipment and facilities, or any other means determined appropriate by the secretary.
(15) Assist in the development and implementation of marketing programs for rail services and of information systems directed toward assisting rail systems users.
(16) Conduct research into innovative or potentially effective rail technologies and methods and maintain expertise in state-of-the-art rail developments.
(17) Exercise such other functions, powers, and duties in connection with the rail system plan as are necessary to develop a safe, efficient, and effective statewide transportation system.
History.--s. 2, ch. 84-333; s. 18, ch. 89-301; s. 72, ch. 92-152; s. 53, ch. 93-164; s. 58, ch. 95-257; s. 35, ch. 99-385.