(1)(a) The authority created and established by the provisions of this part is granted and shall have the right to acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, own, and lease all or any part of the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge System, hereinafter referred to as the “system.”
(b) It is the express intention of this part that the authority, in the construction of the system, be authorized to construct any extensions, additions, or improvements to the system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications, or revisions of the project as are deemed desirable and proper.
(2) The authority is granted, and shall have and may exercise, all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient, or incidental to the carrying out of said 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 this part.
(e) To enter into and make lease-purchase agreements with the department as provided herein.
(f) To fix, alter, charge, establish, and collect tolls, rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities of the 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 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 bonds, which bonds may be issued pursuant to the State Bond Act or, in the alternative, pursuant to the provisions of s. 348.969(2), in either case, for any purpose of the authority authorized, including the financing of all or part of the cost, as specified in s. 190.003(8), of all or any part of the system and the refunding of any and all previous issues of bonds of the authority at or prior to maturity.
(h) To make contracts of every name and nature and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying on of its business, including entering into contracts for the services of consultants to perform planning, engineering, legal, or other appropriate services of a professional nature, subject to the requirements of applicable law relating to public bidding.
(i) Without limitation of the foregoing, to borrow money and accept grants from, and to enter into contracts, including interlocal agreements, leases, or other transactions, with any federal agency, the state, or any political subdivision thereof, any agency of the state, Santa Rosa County, or any other public body of the state, including pursuant to s. 348.973. For purposes of the foregoing, the authority shall have the right to apply for, receive, and participate in, any and all grants, advances, and technical support provided by any federal agency or the department, the division, the county, or other political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the state to local governmental entities, special districts, expressway or transportation authorities, road and bridge districts, special road and bridge districts, metropolitan transportation authorities, and other public subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities of the state pursuant to the Florida Transportation Code, in connection with the State Highway System or otherwise.
(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 its receipts 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) Any provision in this part or any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the consent of any municipality is not necessary for any project of the authority, whether or not the project lies in whole or in part within the boundaries of the municipality. 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 positions thereon at a duly advertised public hearing. Advertisement of the public hearing shall be by way of a newspaper published in Santa Rosa County and circulated in the affected municipality. The legal notice and display advertisement shall be published at least 2 weeks before 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 the necessity of further advertisement. In routing and locating any expressway or its interchanges in or through a municipality, the authority shall give due regard to the effect of such location on the municipality as a whole and shall not unreasonably split, divide, or otherwise separate areas of the municipality one from the other.