Section 348.0004, Florida Statutes 2007
348.0004 Purposes and powers.--
(1)(a) An authority created and established pursuant to the Florida Expressway Authority Act may acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, own, and lease an expressway system.
(b) Each authority, in the construction of an expressway system, shall construct expressways. Construction of an expressway system may be completed in segments, phases, or stages, in a manner which will permit the expansion of these segments, phases, or stages to the desired expressway configuration. Each authority, in the construction of an expressway system, may construct any extensions of, additions to, or improvements to, the expressway system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches, roads, bridges, and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications, or revisions of the project that are deemed desirable and proper. An authority may only add additional expressways to an expressway system, under the terms and conditions set forth in the Florida Expressway Authority Act, with the prior express written consent of the board of county commissioners of each county located within the geographic boundaries of the authority, and only if such additional expressways lack adequate committed funding for implementation, are financially feasible, and are compatible with the existing plans, projects, and programs of the authority.
(2) Each authority may exercise all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient, or incidental to the carrying out of its purposes, including, but not 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, either as lessee or as lessor, in order to carry out the right to lease as set forth in the Florida Expressway Authority Act.
(e) To enter into and make lease-purchase agreements with the department until any bonds secured by a pledge of rentals thereunder, and any refundings thereof, are fully paid as to both principal and interest.
(f) To fix, alter, charge, establish, and collect tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities system, which tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges must always be sufficient to comply with any covenants made with the holders of any bonds issued pursuant to the Florida Expressway Authority Act. However, such right and power may be assigned or delegated by the authority to the department. Notwithstanding s. 338.165 or any other provision of law to the contrary, in any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), to the extent surplus revenues exist, they may be used for purposes enumerated in subsection (7), provided the expenditures are consistent with the metropolitan planning organization's adopted long-range plan. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, but subject to any contractual requirements contained in documents securing any outstanding indebtedness payable from tolls, in any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), the board of county commissioners may, by ordinance adopted on or before September 30, 1999, alter or abolish existing tolls and currently approved increases thereto if the board provides a local source of funding to the county expressway system for transportation in an amount sufficient to replace revenues necessary to meet bond obligations secured by such tolls and increases.
(g) In any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), to borrow money, make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refund bonds and other evidence of indebtedness, either in temporary or definitive form, of the authority, which bonds or other evidence of indebtedness may be issued pursuant to the State Bond Act, or in the alternative, pursuant to the provisions of s. 348.0005(2), to finance an expressway system within the geographic boundaries of the authority, and to provide for the security of the bonds or other evidence of indebtedness and the rights and remedies of the holders of the bonds or other evidence of indebtedness. Any bonds or other evidence of indebtedness pledging the full faith and credit of the state shall only be issued pursuant to the State Bond Act.
1. An authority shall reimburse the county in which it exists for any sums expended from any county gasoline tax funds used for payment of such obligations. Any county gasoline tax funds so disbursed shall be repaid in accordance with the terms of any lease-purchase or interlocal agreement with any county or the department together with interest, at the rate agreed to in such agreement. In no event shall any county gasoline tax funds be more than a secondary pledge of revenues for repayment of any obligations issued pursuant to this part.
2. In any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), an authority may refund any bonds previously issued, to the extent allowable by federal tax laws, to finance or refinance an expressway system regardless of whether the bonds being refunded were issued by such authority, an agency of the state, or a county.
(h) To enter contracts 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, county, or 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, tolls, rates, fees, rentals, or other charges or receipts of the authority, including all or any portion of 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 law.
(3) Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the consent of any municipality is not necessary for any project of an existing or new authority, whether or not the project lies in whole or in part within the boundaries of the municipality, if the project is consistent with the locally adopted comprehensive plan. However, if a project is inconsistent with the affected municipal comprehensive plan, the project may not proceed without a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, at which it is determined that the project is consistent with the adopted metropolitan planning organization transportation improvement plan, if any, and the applicable strategic regional plan, and at which regional interests are determined to clearly override the interests of the municipality.
(4) The use or pledge of all or any portion of county gasoline tax funds may not be made without the prior express written consent of the board of county commissioners of each county located within the geographic boundaries of the authority.
(5) Any authority formed pursuant to this act shall comply with all statutory requirements of general application which relate to the filing of any report or documentation required by law, including the requirements of ss. 189.4085, 189.415, 189.417, and 189.418.
(6) Notwithstanding subsection (3) or any other provision of law to the contrary, in any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), no expressway authority shall undertake any construction that is not consistent with both the metropolitan planning organization's transportation improvement program and the county's comprehensive plan.
(7) In any county as defined in s. 125.011(1), an expressway authority may finance or refinance the planning, design, acquisition, construction, extension, rehabilitation, equipping, preservation, maintenance, or improvement of a public transportation facility or transportation facilities owned or operated by such county, an intermodal facility or facilities, multimodal corridor or corridors, including, but not limited to, bicycle facilities or greenways that will improve transportation services within the county, or any programs or projects that will improve the levels of service on an expressway system, subject to approval of the governing body of such county after public hearing.
(8) The governing body of the county may enter into an interlocal agreement with an authority pursuant to chapter 163, for the joint performance or performance by either governmental entity of any corporate function of the county or authority necessary or appropriate to enable the authority to fulfill the powers and purposes of this part and promote the efficient and effective transportation of persons and goods in such county.
(9) The Legislature declares that there is a public need for the rapid construction of safe and efficient transportation facilities for traveling within the state and that it is in the public's interest to provide for public-private partnership agreements to effectuate the construction of additional safe, convenient, and economical transportation facilities.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Florida Expressway Authority Act, any expressway authority, transportation authority, bridge authority, or toll authority may receive or solicit proposals and enter into agreements with private entities, or consortia thereof, for the building, operation, ownership, or financing of authority transportation facilities or new transportation facilities within the jurisdiction of the authority which increase transportation capacity. An authority may not sell or lease any transportation facility owned by the authority, without providing the analysis required in s. 334.30(6)(e)2. to the Legislative Budget Commission created pursuant to s. 11.90 for review and approval prior to awarding a contract on a lease of an existing toll facility. An authority is authorized to adopt rules to implement this subsection and shall, by rule, establish an application fee for the submission of unsolicited proposals under this subsection. The fee must be sufficient to pay the costs of evaluating the proposals. An authority may engage private consultants to assist in the evaluation. Before approval, an authority must determine that a proposed project:
1. Is in the public's best interest.
2. Would not require state funds to be used unless the project is on or provides increased mobility on the State Highway System.
3. Would have adequate safeguards to ensure that no additional costs or service disruptions would be realized by the traveling public and residents of the state in the event of default or the cancellation of the agreement by the authority.
4. Would have adequate safeguards in place to ensure that the department, the authority, or the private entity has the opportunity to add capacity to the proposed project and other transportation facilities serving similar origins and destinations.
5. Would be owned by the authority upon completion or termination of the agreement.
(b) An authority shall ensure that all reasonable costs to the state which are related to transportation facilities that are not part of the State Highway System are borne by the private entity. An authority shall also ensure that all reasonable costs to the state and substantially affected local governments and utilities related to the private transportation facility are borne by the private entity for transportation facilities that are owned by private entities. For projects on the State Highway System, the department may use state resources to participate in funding and financing the project as provided for under the department's enabling legislation.
(c) The authority may request proposals for public-private transportation projects or, if it receives an unsolicited proposal, it must publish a notice in the Florida Administrative Weekly and a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which it is located at least once a week for 2 weeks, stating that it has received the proposal and will accept, for 60 days after the initial date of publication, other proposals for the same project purpose. A copy of the notice must be mailed to each local government in the affected areas. After the public notification period has expired, the authority shall rank the proposals in order of preference. In ranking the proposals, the authority shall consider professional qualifications, general business terms, innovative engineering or cost-reduction terms, finance plans, and the need for state funds to deliver the proposal. If the authority is not satisfied with the results of the negotiations, it may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. If these negotiations are unsuccessful, the authority may go to the second and lower-ranked firms, in order, using the same procedure. If only one proposal is received, the authority may negotiate in good faith, and if it is not satisfied with the results, it may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. The authority may, at its discretion, reject all proposals at any point in the process up to completion of a contract with the proposer.
(d) The department may lend funds from the Toll Facilities Revolving Trust Fund, as outlined in s. 338.251, to public-private partnerships. To be eligible a private entity must comply with s. 338.251 and must provide an indication from a nationally recognized rating agency that the senior bonds for the project will be investment grade or must provide credit support, such as a letter of credit or other means acceptable to the department, to ensure that the loans will be fully repaid.
(e) Agreements entered into pursuant to this subsection may authorize the public-private entity to impose tolls or fares for the use of the facility. However, the amount and use of toll or fare revenues shall be regulated by the authority to avoid unreasonable costs to users of the facility.
(f) Each public-private transportation facility constructed pursuant to this subsection shall comply with all requirements of federal, state, and local laws; state, regional, and local comprehensive plans; the authority's rules, policies, procedures, and standards for transportation facilities; and any other conditions that the authority determines to be in the public's best interest.
(g) An authority may exercise any power possessed by it, including eminent domain, to facilitate the development and construction of transportation projects pursuant to this subsection. An authority may pay all or part of the cost of operating and maintaining the facility or may provide services to the private entity for which it receives full or partial reimbursement for services rendered.
(h) Except as herein provided, this subsection is not intended to amend existing laws by granting additional powers to or further restricting the governmental entities from regulating and entering into cooperative arrangements with the private sector for the planning, construction, and operation of transportation facilities. Use of the powers granted in this subsection does not subject a statutorily created expressway authority, transportation authority, bridge authority, or toll authority, other than one created under this part, to any of the requirements of this part other than those contained in this subsection.
History.--s. 25, ch. 90-136; s. 148, ch. 92-152; s. 56, ch. 94-237; s. 9, ch. 95-149; s. 88, ch. 96-410; s. 27, ch. 97-280; s. 55, ch. 99-385; ss. 23, 24, ch. 2004-366; s. 54, ch. 2007-196.