(2)(a) The authority is authorized to construct any feeder roads, reliever roads, connector roads, bypasses, or appurtenant facilities that are intended to improve mobility along the U.S. 98 corridor. The transportation improvement projects may also include all necessary approaches, roads, bridges, and avenues of access that are desirable and proper with the concurrence, where applicable, of the department if the project is to be part of the State Highway System or the respective county or municipal governing boards. Any transportation facilities constructed by the authority may be tolled.
(b) Notwithstanding any special act to the contrary, the authority shall plan for and study the feasibility of constructing, operating, and maintaining a bridge or bridges spanning Choctawhatchee Bay or Santa Rosa Sound, or both, and access roads to such bridge or bridges, including studying the environmental and economic feasibility of such bridge or bridges and access roads, and such other transportation facilities that become part of such bridge system. The authority may construct, operate, and maintain the bridge system if the authority determines that the bridge system project is feasible and consistent with the authority’s primary purpose and master plan.
(3)(a) The authority shall develop and adopt a corridor master plan no later than July 1, 2007. The goals and objectives of the master plan are to identify areas of the corridor where mobility, traffic safety, and efficient hurricane evacuation need to be improved; evaluate the economic development potential of the corridor and consider strategies to develop that potential; develop methods of building partnerships with local governments, other state and federal entities, the private sector business community, and the public in support of corridor improvements; and to identify projects that will accomplish these goals and objectives.
(b) After its adoption, the master plan shall be updated annually before July 1 of each year.
(c) The authority shall present the original master plan and updates to the governing bodies of the counties within the corridor and to the legislative delegation members representing those counties within 90 days after adoption.
(d) The authority may undertake projects or other improvements in the master plan in phases as particular projects or segments thereof become feasible, as determined by the authority. In carrying out its purposes and powers, the authority may request funding and technical assistance from the department and appropriate federal and local agencies, including, but not limited to, state infrastructure bank loans, advances from the Toll Facilities Revolving Trust Fund, and from any other sources.
(4) The authority is 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 acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, own, and lease in the capacity of lessor transportation facilities within the U.S. 98 corridor.
(b) To borrow money and to make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refunding bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness or obligations, either in temporary or definitive form, hereinafter in this chapter sometimes called “revenue bonds” of the authority, for the purpose of financing all or part of the mobility improvements within the U.S. 98 corridor, as well as the appurtenant facilities, including all approaches, streets, roads, bridges, and avenues of access authorized by this part, the bonds to mature not exceeding 40 years after the date of the issuance thereof, and 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.
(c) To fix, alter, charge, establish, and collect tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities of the Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor 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. The authority may not impose tolls or other charges on existing highways and other transportation facilities within the corridor.
(d) To acquire by donation or otherwise, purchase, hold, lease as lessee, and use any franchise, 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.
(e) To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, complain, and defend in all courts.
(f) To adopt, use, and alter at will a corporate seal.
(g) To enter into and make leases.
(h) 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.
(i) 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.
(j) 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, or any other public body of the state.
(k) To have the power of eminent domain, including the procedural powers granted under chapters 73 and 74.
(l) To pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise encumber all or any part of the revenues, rates, fees, rentals, or other charges or receipts of the authority.
(m) To enter into partnership and other agreements respecting ownership and revenue participation in order to facilitate financing and constructing any project or portions thereof.
(n) To participate in agreements with private entities and to receive private contributions.
(o) To contract with the department or with a private entity for the operation of traditional and electronic toll collection facilities along the U.S. 98 corridor.
(p) 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.
(q) To construct, operate, and maintain roads, bridges, avenues of access, thoroughfares, and boulevards and to construct, repair, replace, operate, install, and maintain electronic toll payment systems thereon, with all necessary and incidental powers to accomplish the foregoing.