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RULE §27.13Transfer of Toll Projects

(a) Requirements. Transportation Code, §228.151, authorizes the department to lease, sell, or transfer a toll project or system, including a non-tolled state highway or a segment of a non-tolled state highway converted to a toll project, to a governmental entity that has the authority to operate a tolled highway or a local government corporation created under Transportation Code, Chapter 431.

(b) Request. To secure approval under this section, the receiving entity must submit to the executive director:

  (1) an evaluation of the impact of such action on regional mobility and project financial viability;

  (2) a written commitment that the entity will assume all liability and responsibility for the safe and effective maintenance and operation of the highway on its transfer;

  (3) a written commitment that the entity will assume all liability and responsibility for existing and future EPIC, including obtaining all environmental permits and approvals and for compliance with all federal and state environmental laws, regulations, and policies applicable to the highway and related improvements;

  (4) a written commitment that the entity agrees to provide for public involvement and to conduct a study of the social and environmental impact of all proposed improvements to a toll project; and

  (5) if applicable, a written commitment that the entity agrees to comply with the design and construction standards of §27.15 of this subchapter (relating to Project Development for Transferred Toll Projects) when developing projects on the transferred highway.

(c) Approval.

  (1) In order to approve the lease, sale, or transfer of a project, and after considering public comment received under subsection (e) of this section, the commission must find that such transfer:

    (A) is in the best interests of the state;

    (B) is in the best interests of the entity receiving the project; and

    (C) will not adversely affect:

      (i) the financial viability of the project; or

      (ii) regional mobility.

  (2) The commission may not approve the lease, sale, or transfer unless the governor approves the transfer as being in the best interests of the state and the entity receiving the project.

(d) Reimbursement. The receiving entity must agree to reimburse the department for any expenditures of the department for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project that have not been reimbursed with the proceeds of bonds issued by the commission for the project, unless the commission finds that the transfer will result in substantial net benefits to the state, the department, and the public that equal or exceed the amount of the repayment waived.

(e) Public involvement.

  (1) As part of the information that will be used by the commission in determining whether to lease, sell, or transfer a toll project, the department will:

    (A) hold one or more hearings in each county in which that project is located for the purpose of receiving oral comments; and

    (B) solicit written comments.

  (2) Notice of a solicitation of written comments and a public hearing held under paragraph (1) of this subsection will be:

    (A) published in the Texas Register;

    (B) published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in each of the counties in which the involved toll project is located; and

    (C) posted on the department's website.

  (3) The department will publish and post notices under paragraph (2) of this subsection at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing.

  (4) The department will prepare a summary of the public hearings and all comments received in response to the notice and hearings.

Source Note: The provisions of this §27.13 adopted to be effective effective March 18, 2004, 29 TexReg 2739; amended to be effective January 5, 2006, 30 TexReg 9002

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