(a) The commission by order may transfer a ferry operated under Section 342.001 to an authority if:
(1) the commission determines that the proposed transfer is an integral part of the region’s overall plan to improve mobility in the region; and
(2) the authority:
(A) agrees to the transfer; and
(B) agrees to assume all liability and responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the ferry on its transfer.
(b) An authority shall reimburse the commission for the cost of a transferred ferry unless the commission determines that the transfer will result in a substantial net benefit to the state, the department, and the traveling public that equals or exceeds that cost.
Terms Used In Texas Transportation Code 370.037
- Population: means the population shown by the most recent federal decennial census. See Texas Government Code 311.005
(c) In computing the cost of the ferry, the commission shall:
(1) include the total amount spent by the department for the original construction of the ferry, including the costs associated with the preliminary engineering and design engineering for plans, specifications, and estimates, the acquisition of necessary rights-of-way, and actual construction of the ferry and all necessary appurtenant facilities; and
(2) consider the anticipated future costs of expanding, improving, maintaining, or operating the ferry to be incurred by the authority and not by the department if the ferry is transferred.
(d) The commission shall, at the time the ferry is transferred, remove the ferry from the state highway system. After a transfer, the commission has no liability, responsibility, or duty for the maintenance or operation of the ferry.
(e) Before transferring a ferry that is a part of the state highway system under this section, the commission shall conduct a public hearing at which interested persons shall be allowed to speak on the proposed transfer. Notice of the hearing must be published in the Texas Register, one or more newspapers of general circulation in the counties in which the ferry is located, and a newspaper, if any, published in the counties of the applicable authority.
(f) The commission shall adopt rules to implement this section. The rules must include criteria and guidelines for the approval of a transfer of a ferry.
(g) An authority shall adopt rules establishing criteria and guidelines for approval of the transfer of a ferry under this section.
(h) An authority may permanently charge a toll for use of a ferry transferred under this section. An authority may permanently charge a fee or toll for priority use of ferry facilities under Section 370.193.
(i) The commission may not transfer a ferry under this section if the ferry is located in a municipality with a population of 5,000 or less unless the city council of the municipality approves the transfer.