(a) An authority, through its board, may:
(1) adopt rules for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business;
(2) adopt an official seal;
(3) study, evaluate, design, finance, acquire, construct, maintain, repair, and operate transportation projects, individually or as one or more systems, provided that a transportation project that is subject to Subpart C, 23 C.F.R. Part 450, is:
(A) included in the plan approved by the applicable metropolitan planning organization; and
(B) consistent with the statewide transportation plan and the statewide transportation improvement program;
(4) acquire, hold, and dispose of property in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under this chapter;
(5) enter into contracts or operating agreements with a similar authority, another governmental entity, or an agency of the United States, a state of the United States, the United Mexican States, or a state of the United Mexican States;
(6) enter into contracts or agreements necessary or incidental to its powers and duties under this chapter;
(7) cooperate and work directly with property owners and governmental entities and officials to support an activity required to promote or develop a transportation project;
(8) employ and set the compensation and benefits of administrators, consulting engineers, attorneys, accountants, construction and financial experts, superintendents, managers, full-time and part-time employees, agents, consultants, and other persons as the authority considers necessary or useful;
(8-a) participate in the state travel management program administered by the comptroller for the purpose of obtaining reduced airline fares and reduced travel agent fees, provided that the comptroller may charge the authority a fee not to exceed the costs incurred by the comptroller in providing services to the authority;
(9) notwithstanding Sections 221.003 and 222.031 and subject to Subsections (j) and (m), apply for, directly or indirectly receive and spend loans, gifts, grants, and other contributions for any purpose of this chapter, including the construction of a transportation project, and receive and spend contributions of money, property, labor, or other things of value from any source, including the United States, a state of the United States, the United Mexican States, a state of the United Mexican States, the commission, the department, a subdivision of this state, or a governmental entity or private entity, to be used for the purposes for which the grants, loans, or contributions are made, and enter into any agreement necessary for the grants, loans, or contributions;
(10) install, construct, or contract for the construction of public utility facilities, direct the time and manner of construction of a public utility facility in, on, along, over, or under a transportation project, or request the removal or relocation of a public utility facility in, on, along, over, or under a transportation project;
(11) organize a corporation under Chapter 431 for the promotion and development of transportation projects;
(12) adopt and enforce rules not inconsistent with this chapter for the use of any transportation project, including tolls, fares, or other user fees, speed and weight limits, and traffic and other public safety rules, provided that an authority must consider the same factors that the Texas Turnpike Authority division of the department must consider in altering a prima facie speed limit under Section 545.354;
(13) enter into leases, operating agreements, service agreements, licenses, franchises, and similar agreements with a public or private party governing the party’s use of all or any portion of a transportation project and the rights and obligations of the authority with respect to a transportation project;
(14) borrow money from or enter into a loan agreement or other arrangement with the state infrastructure bank, the department, the commission, or any other public or private entity; and
(15) do all things necessary or appropriate to carry out the powers and duties expressly granted or imposed by this chapter.
(b) Except as provided by this subsection, property that is a part of a transportation project of an authority is not subject to condemnation or the exercise of the power of eminent domain by any person, including a governmental entity. The department may condemn property that is a part of a transportation project of an authority if the property is needed for the construction, reconstruction, or expansion of a state highway or rail facility.
Terms Used In Texas Transportation Code 370.033
- Comptroller: means the state comptroller of public accounts. See Texas Government Code 312.011
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
- Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
- Person: includes corporation, organization, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, and any other legal entity. See Texas Government Code 311.005
- Property: means real and personal property. See Texas Government Code 311.005
- United States: includes a department, bureau, or other agency of the United States of America. See Texas Government Code 311.005
- User fees: Fees charged to users of goods or services provided by the government. In levying or authorizing these fees, the legislature determines whether the revenue should go into the treasury or should be available to the agency providing the goods or services.
- Written: includes any representation of words, letters, symbols, or figures. See Texas Government Code 311.005
(c) An authority may perform any function not specified by this chapter to promote or develop a transportation project that the authority is authorized to develop or operate under this chapter.
(d) An authority may sue and be sued and plead and be impleaded in its own name.
(e) An authority may rent, lease, franchise, license, or make portions of its properties available for use by others in furtherance of its powers under this chapter by increasing the feasibility or the revenue of a transportation project. If the transportation project is a project other than a public utility facility an authority may rent, lease, franchise or make property available only to the extent that the renting, lease or franchise benefits the users of the project.
(f) An authority may enter into a contract, agreement, interlocal agreement, or other similar arrangement under which the authority may acquire, plan, design, construct, maintain, repair, or operate a transportation project on behalf of another governmental entity if:
(1) the transportation project is located in the authority’s area of jurisdiction or in a county adjacent to the authority’s area of jurisdiction;
(2) the transportation project is being acquired, planned, constructed, designed, operated, repaired, or maintained on behalf of the department or another toll project entity, as defined by Section 372.001; or
(3) for a transportation project that is not described by Subdivision (1) or (2), the department approves the acquisition, planning, construction, design, operation, repair, or maintenance of the project by the authority.
(f-1) A contract or agreement under Subsection (f) may contain terms and conditions as may be approved by an authority, including payment obligations of the governmental entity and the authority.
(g) Payments to be made to an authority under a contract or agreement described by Subsection (f) constitute operating expenses of the transportation project or system that is to be operated under the contract or agreement. The contract or agreement may extend for the number of years as agreed to by the parties.
(h) An authority shall adopt a written drug and alcohol policy restricting the use of controlled substances by officers and employees of the authority, prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages by employees while on duty, and prohibiting employees from working for the authority while under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol. An authority may adopt policies regarding the testing of employees suspected of being in violation of the authority’s drug and alcohol policy. The policy shall provide that, unless required by court order or permitted by the person who is the subject of the testing, the authority shall keep the results of the test confidential.
(i) An authority shall adopt written procedures governing its procurement of goods and services that are consistent with general laws applicable to the authority.
(j) An authority may not apply for federal highway or rail funds without the approval of the department.
(k) An authority may not directly provide water, wastewater, natural gas, petroleum pipeline, electric transmission, electric distribution, telecommunications, information, or cable television services.
(l) If an authority establishes an airport in Central Texas, the authority may not establish the airport at a location prohibited to the department by Section 21.069(c).
(m) If an authority receives money from the general revenue fund, the Texas Mobility Fund, or the state highway fund, it:
(1) may use the money only to acquire, design, finance, construct, operate, or maintain a turnpike project under Section 370.003(14)(A) or (D) or a transit system under Section 370.351; and
(2) must repay the money.
(n) Nothing in this chapter or any contractual right obtained under a contract with an authority under this chapter supersedes or renders ineffective any provision of another law applicable to the owner or operator of a public utility facility, including any provision of the utilities code regarding licensing, certification, or regulatory jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission of Texas or the Railroad Commission of Texas.
(o) Except as provided in Subchapter J, an authority may not provide mass transit services in the service area of another transit provider that has taxing authority and has implemented it anywhere in the service area unless the service is provided under a written agreement with the transit provider or under Section 370.186.
(p) Before providing public transportation or mass transit services in the service area of any other existing transit provider, including a transit provider operating under Chapter 458, an authority must first consult with that transit provider. An authority shall ensure there is coordination of services provided by the authority and an existing transit provider, including a transit provider operating under Chapter 458. An authority is ineligible to participate in the formula or discretionary program under Chapter 456 unless there is no other transit provider, including a transit provider operating under Chapter 458, providing public transportation or mass transit services in the service area of the authority.
(q) An authority, acting through its board, may agree with another entity to acquire a transportation project or system from that entity and to assume any debts, obligations, and liabilities of the entity relating to a transportation project or system transferred to the authority.
(r) This chapter may not be construed to restrict the ability of an authority to enter into an agreement under Chapter 791, Government Code, with another governmental entity located anywhere in this state.