Senate Bill 527 History
Senate Bill No. 527
(By Senator Unger)
[Introduced February 10, 2010; referred to the Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure; and then to the Committee on
A BILL to amend and reenact §29-18-6 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a
new section, designated §29-18-25, all relating to powers,
duties and responsibilities of the West Virginia State Rail
Authority; requiring the authority to establish a state plan
for transportation and local rail services; and providing what
the state plan may include.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §29-18-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding
thereto a new section, designated §29-18-25, all to read as
ARTICLE 18. WEST VIRGINIA STATE RAIL AUTHORITY.
§29-18-6. Powers, duties and responsibilities of authority generally.
The West Virginia State Rail Authority is hereby granted, has
and may exercise all powers necessary or appropriate to carry out
and effectuate its corporate purpose.
(a) The authority may:
(1) Adopt and, from time to time, amend and repeal bylaws
necessary and proper for the regulation of its affairs and the
conduct of its business and propose rules for legislative approval
in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-
nine-a of this code to implement and make effective its powers and
(2) Adopt an official seal.
(3) Maintain a principal office and, if necessary, regional
suboffices at locations properly designated or provided.
(4) Sue and be sued in its own name and plead and be impleaded
in its own name and particularly to enforce the obligations and
covenants made under sections ten, eleven and sixteen of this
article. Any actions against the authority shall be brought in the
circuit court of Kanawha County. The location of the principal
office of the authority shall be determined by the Governor.
(5) Make loans and grants to governmental agencies and persons
for carrying out railroad projects by any governmental agency or
person and, in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a of this code,
propose rules for legislative approval and procedures for making
such loans and grants.
(6) Acquire, construct, reconstruct, enlarge, improve,
furnish, equip, maintain, repair, operate, lease or rent to or
contract for operation by a governmental agency or person, railroad
projects and, in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a of this
code, propose legislative rules for the use of these projects.
(7) Make available the use or services of any railroad project
to one or more persons, one or more governmental agencies or any
(8) Issue Railroad Maintenance Authority bonds and notes and
refunding bonds of the state, payable solely from revenues as
provided in section ten of this article unless the bonds are
refunded by refunding bonds for the purpose of paying any part of
the cost of one or more railroad projects or parts thereof.
(9) Acquire, by gift or purchase, hold and dispose of real and
personal property in the exercise of its powers and the performance
of its duties as set forth in this article.
(10) Acquire in the name of the state, by purchase or
otherwise, on terms and in the manner it considers proper, or by
the exercise of the right of eminent domain in the manner provided
in chapter fifty-four of this code, rail properties and appurtenant
rights and interests necessary for carrying out railroad projects.
(11) (A) Make and enter into all contracts and agreements and
execute all instruments necessary or incidental to the performance
of its duties and the execution of its powers including, but not
limited to, the power to make contracts and agreements in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraph (B) of this
(B) Make and enter into contracts and agreements to acquire
rolling stock or equipment with a value of $500,000 or less exempt
from the provisions of article three, chapter five-a of this code.
The authority shall propose rules for legislative approval in
accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-
nine-a of this code which set forth the methods for determining
value of rolling stock or equipment to be purchased in accordance
with the provisions of paragraph (B) of this subdivision.
(C) Where rolling stock, equipment or trackage of the
authority is in need of immediate maintenance, repair or
reconstruction in order to avoid a cessation of its operations,
economic loss, the inability to provide essential service to
customers or danger to authority personnel or the public, the
following requirements and procedures for entering into the
contract or agreement to remedy the condition shall be in lieu of
those provided in article three, chapter five-a of this code or any
legislative rule promulgated pursuant thereto:
(i) If the cost under the contract or agreement involves an
expenditure of more than $1,000, but $10,000 or less, the authority
shall award the contract to or enter into the agreement with the
lowest responsible bidder based upon at least three oral bids made
pursuant to the requirements of the contract or agreement.
(ii) If the cost under the contract or agreement, other than one for compensation for personal services, involves an expenditure
of more than $10,000, but $100,000 or less, the authority shall
award the contract to or enter into the agreement with the lowest
responsible bidder based upon at least three bids, submitted to the
authority in writing on letterhead stationery, made pursuant to the
requirements of the contract or agreement.
(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the
contrary, a contract or lease for the operation of a railroad
project constructed and owned by the authority or an agreement for
cooperation in the acquisition or construction of a railroad
project pursuant to section sixteen of this article is not subject
to the provisions of article three, chapter five-a of this code or
any legislative rule promulgated pursuant thereto and the authority
may enter into the contract or lease or the agreement pursuant to
negotiation and upon such terms and conditions and for a period of
time as it finds to be reasonable and proper under the
circumstances and in the best interests of proper operation or of
efficient acquisition or construction of the railroad project.
(E) The authority may reject any and all bids. A bond with
good and sufficient surety, approved by the authority, is required
of all contractors in an amount equal to at least fifty percent of
the contract price, conditioned upon the faithful performance of
(12) Appoint a director and employ managers, superintendents
and other employees and retain or contract with consulting engineers, financial consultants, accountants, attorneys and other
consultants and independent contractors as are necessary in its
judgment to carry out the provisions of this article and fix the
compensation or fees thereof. All expenses thereof are payable
from the proceeds of Railroad Maintenance Authority revenue bonds
or notes issued by the authority, from revenues and funds
appropriated for this purpose by the Legislature or from grants
from the federal government which may be used for such purpose.
(13) Receive and accept from any state or federal agency
grants for or in aid of the construction of any railroad project or
for research and development with respect to railroads and receive
and accept aid or contributions from any source of money, property,
labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only
for the purposes for which the grants and contributions are made.
(14) Engage in research and development with respect to
(15) Purchase fire and extended coverage and liability
insurance for any railroad project and for the principal office and
suboffices of the authority, insurance protecting the authority and
its officers and employees against liability, if any, for damage to
property or injury to or death of persons arising from its
operations and be a member of, and to participate in, the state
workers' compensation program.
(16) Charge, alter and collect rates, rentals and other
charges for the use or services of any railroad project as provided in this article.
(17) Do all acts necessary and proper to carry out the powers
expressly granted to the authority in this article.
(b) In addition, the authority has the power to:
(1) Acquire rail properties both within and not within the
jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission and rail
properties within the purview of the federal Regional Rail
Reorganization Act of 1973, any amendments to it and any other
relevant federal legislation.
(2) Enter into agreements with owners of rail properties for
the acquisition of rail properties or use, or both, of rail
properties upon the terms, conditions, rates or rentals that can
best effectuate the purposes of this article.
(3) Acquire rail properties and other property of a railroad
in concert with another state or states as is necessary to ensure
continued rail service in this state.
(4) Establish a state plan for rail transportation and local
Administer and coordinate the state plan.
Provide in the state plan for the equitable
distribution of federal rail service continuation subsidies among
state, local and regional transportation authorities.
Promote, supervise and support safe, adequate and
efficient rail services.
Employ sufficiently trained and qualified personnel for these purposes.
Maintain adequate programs of investigation, research,
promotion and development in connection with the purposes and to
provide for public participation therein.
Provide satisfactory assurances on behalf of the
state that fiscal control and fund accounting procedures will be
adopted by the state necessary to assure proper disbursement of and
accounting for federal funds paid to the state as rail service
Comply with the regulations of the Secretary of
Transportation of the United States Department of Transportation
affecting federal rail service continuation programs.
Do all things otherwise necessary to maximize
federal assistance to the state under Title IV of the federal
Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 and to qualify for rail
service continuation subsidies pursuant to the federal Regional
Rail Reorganization Act of 1973.
(c) Additional authority in regard to the Maryland Area
(1) The Rail Authority is hereby granted, has and may exercise
all aforementioned powers necessary or appropriate to coordinate
all activities with the Maryland Transit Administration to assure
the continued operation of the Maryland Area Regional Commuter into
the eastern panhandle of the state.
§29-18-25. State rail plan required.
(a) The authority shall establish a state plan for rail
transportation and local rail services. In establishing and
updating the plan, the authority may request input from freight and
rail passenger associations.
(b) The plan shall, at a minimum, comply with the provisions
of the laws of the United States and any regulations made
thereunder relating to capturing and administering federal moneys
for rail transportation, local rail services, and intermodal
facilities as deemed necessary by the authority.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require the State Rail
Authority to establish a state plan for transportation and local
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would
§29-18-25 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.)