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The Florida Senate

2006 Florida Statutes

Section 334.30, Florida Statutes 2006

334.30  Public-private transportation facilities.--The Legislature hereby finds and declares that there is a public need for rapid construction of safe and efficient transportation facilities for the purpose of travel within the state, and that it is in the public's interest to provide for the construction of additional safe, convenient, and economical transportation facilities.

(1)  The department may receive or solicit proposals and, with legislative approval as evidenced by approval of the project in the department's work program, enter into agreements with private entities, or consortia thereof, for the building, operation, ownership, or financing of transportation facilities. The department may advance projects programmed in the adopted 5-year work program using funds provided by public-private partnerships or private entities to be reimbursed from department funds for the project as programmed in the adopted work program. The department shall by rule establish an application fee for the submission of proposals under this section. The fee must be sufficient to pay the costs of evaluating the proposals. The department may engage the services of private consultants to assist in the evaluation. Before approval, the department must determine that the proposed project:

(a)  Is in the public's best interest;

(b)  Would not require state funds to be used unless the project is on the State Highway System; and

(c)  Would have adequate safeguards in place to ensure that no additional costs or service disruptions would be realized by the traveling public and citizens of the state in the event of default or cancellation of the agreement by the department.

The department shall ensure that all reasonable costs to the state, related to transportation facilities that are not part of the State Highway System, are borne by the private entity. The department 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.

(2)  Agreements entered into pursuant to this section may authorize the 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 department to avoid unreasonable costs to users of the facility.

(3)  Each private transportation facility constructed pursuant to this section shall comply with all requirements of federal, state, and local laws; state, regional, and local comprehensive plans; department rules, policies, procedures, and standards for transportation facilities; and any other conditions which the department determines to be in the public's best interest.

(4)  The department may exercise any power possessed by it, including eminent domain, with respect to the development and construction of state transportation projects to facilitate the development and construction of transportation projects pursuant to this section. The department may provide services to the private entity. Agreements for maintenance, law enforcement, and other services entered into pursuant to this section shall provide for full reimbursement for services rendered for projects not on the State Highway System.

(5)  Except as herein provided, the provisions of this section are not intended to amend existing laws by granting additional powers to, or further restricting, local governmental entities from regulating and entering into cooperative arrangements with the private sector for the planning, construction, and operation of transportation facilities.

(6)  The department may request proposals from private entities for public-private transportation projects or, if the department receives an unsolicited proposal, the department shall publish a notice in the Florida Administrative Weekly and a newspaper of general circulation at least once a week for 2 weeks stating that the department 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 area. After the public notification period has expired, the department shall rank the proposals in order of preference. In ranking the proposals the department may consider factors, including, but not limited to, professional qualifications, general business terms, innovative engineering or cost-reduction terms, finance plans, and the need for state funds to deliver the project. If the department is not satisfied with the results of the negotiations, the department may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. If these negotiations are unsuccessful, the department may go to the second-ranked and lower-ranked firms, in order, using this same procedure. If only one proposal is received, the department may negotiate in good faith and, if the department is not satisfied with the results of the negotiations, the department may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. Notwithstanding this subsection, the department may, at its discretion, reject all proposals at any point in the process up to completion of a contract with the proposer.

(7)  The department may lend funds from the Toll Facilities Revolving Trust Fund, as outlined in s. 338.251, to private entities that construct projects on the State Highway System containing toll facilities that are approved under this section. 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. The state's liability for the funding of a facility is limited to the amount approved for that specific facility in the department's 5-year work program adopted pursuant to s. 339.135

(8)  A fixed-guideway transportation system authorized by the department to be wholly or partially within the department's right-of-way pursuant to a lease granted under s. 337.251 may operate at any safe speed.

History.--s. 1, ch. 91-160; s. 67, ch. 93-164; s. 21, ch. 95-257; s. 7, ch. 99-256; s. 52, ch. 2002-20; s. 6, ch. 2004-366.