H. B. 4115
(By Delegates Manuel and Doyle)
[Introduced January 21, 2000; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article two-c, chapter
seventeen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the acquisition
and maintenance of orphan roads; preserving existing rights
related to property acquired including contract rights,
providing for assignment to the commissioner of highways of
right to bring civil action, and providing for division of
highways to use proceeds of civil action for maintenance of
orphan roads and bridges.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article two-c, chapter seventeen of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2C. ORPHAN ROAD AND BRIDGE ACQUISITION PROGRAM.
§17-2C-2. Development of program; acquisition of rights-of-way.
(a) The West Virginia division of highways shall develop an
orphan roads and bridges identification, acquisition and
maintenance program which shall include all counties. At the
discretion of the commissioner of the division of highways,
existing and temporary employees of the division shall be
assigned to locate and designate each orphan road and bridge in
each county. These employees shall give to the commissioner of
highways, in a form proscribed by
him or her the commissioner, a
detailed report on acquisition, status of rights-of-way, and
needed maintenance for orphan roads and bridges in each county or
highway district. Specific contents of each report shall be
designated by the commissioner.
(b) In order for a road or bridge to qualify for inclusion
into the state system, all necessary rights-of-way shall be
either dedicated or donated to the division of highways.
(c) In the event that all property owners do not agree to
dedicate or donate the necessary rights-of-way, then any
individual, group, business or governmental entity can donate to
the state road fund a sum sufficient to cover the expense of
acquiring the right-of-way that has not been dedicated or
donated. The commissioner may also use any moneys donated to the
state road fund specifically for the purposes of acquiring a right-of-way which has not been dedicated or donated.
(d) No action to designate, acquire or donate rights-of-way
shall be deemed to nullify existing contracts, agreements or
vested property rights relating to such rights-of-way. Rights
of civil actions, including those for breach or to recover
damages against previous, private owners of roads acquired under
this article, may be assigned by actual or potential claimants to
the commissioner of highways. The commissioner, or at the
commissioner's request, the attorney general may bring civil
actions against previous owners to enforce obligations including
payment of damages in accordance with the contracts, agreements
or vested property rights. Any moneys so realized shall be used
by the division of highways, and applied to the costs of
maintenance of roads and bridges acquired under this article.
NOTE: This bill preserves certain rights of owners of
property acquired by the state through the Orphan Roads and
Bridges Program and provides for rights of landowners to bring
civil actions against previous private owners of roadways
acquired to be transferred to the Commissioner of Highways.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.