There is hereby continued the office of West Virginia commissioner of highways who shall be appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, subject to the provisions of section two-a, article seven, chapter six of this code.
The commissioner shall select and employ a business manager assistant and one or more chief engineer assistants who shall be registered professional engineers, and shall establish such other offices, activities, divisions, sections and organizational units as may be necessary and practical. The business manager assistant shall be in charge of and responsible for matters of finance and such other functions as may be assigned to him from time to time by the commissioner. The chief engineer assistant or, if the commissioner has selected and employed more than one chief engineer assistant, the chief engineer assistants shall be in charge of and responsible for planning, equipment, materials, construction, maintenance, and such other functions as may be designated by the commissioner as well as such other functions as may from time to time be assigned to such chief engineer assistant or assistants by the commissioner.
The commissioner shall require every employee who collects fees or handles funds or who has custody or control of equipment or supplies belonging to the state to give bond, with such sureties and in such penal sum as may be approved by the commissioner, for the faithful discharge of each such employee's duties and his accounting for all such fees, funds, equipment and supplies coming into his hands or under his custody or control. All such bonds, when approved by the commissioner, shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state. Premiums on all such bonds shall be paid from commission funds.
In addition to the other powers given and assigned to him in this chapter, the commissioner may authorize the payment of:
(1) The reasonable traveling expenses incurred by any person he requests to visit his office to be interviewed concerning the possible employment of such person by the state road commission;
(2) All or part of the reasonable expense incurred by a person newly employed by the commission in moving his household furniture, effects and immediate family to his place of employment;
(3) All or part of the reasonable expense incurred by a technical or supervisory employee of the commission, but excluding all employees at the county level, in moving his household furniture, effects and immediate family as a result of a reassignment of the employee which is considered desirable, advantageous to and in the best interests of the state: Provided, That no part of the moving expenses of any one such employee shall be paid more frequently than once in twelve months.
The expenditures for such payments shall be made from the state road fund, and shall be a cost of administration of said commission.
The commissioner of highways is empowered to enter into contracts for training programs with state colleges, universities and other training sources and to award scholarships to competent persons, whether presently employed by the division of highways or not, for the purpose of enabling and encouraging such persons to attend a college or university to pursue the course of study as may be approved by the commissioner of highways, but the number of persons holding such scholarships at any one time shall not exceed fifteen. Each scholarship shall carry a stipend in an amount fixed by the commissioner of highways not in excess of twelve thousand dollars in the aggregate. The necessary expenditures for the scholarships shall be made from the funds available to the division of highways. The recipient of a scholarship shall execute notes and shall deliver said notes to the commissioner of highways. Each note shall be in the amount of the sum received from the state road fund and shall be payable on demand to the division of highways. The commissioner of highways shall hold said notes and if, for any reason, except death or physical or mental disability, or being drafted into the armed services, the recipient of a scholarship fails successfully to complete the course of study for which the scholarship was granted or if after the completion of the prescribed course of study does not continue or become an employee of the division of highways, or ceases to be an employee before all the notes have been paid or canceled, the commissioner of highways shall make demand for payment of all of the unpaid and uncanceled notes and shall promptly enforce collection thereon and shall deposit the sums so collected thereon in the state road fund. The commissioner of highways is authorized to credit the oldest outstanding notes in the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars every six months that the recipient of the scholarship is employed by the division of highways after completing the course of study for which the scholarship was granted. The commissioner of highways shall have the power and authority to make all necessary rules to carry this section into effect.
No person may be appointed as commissioner or employed in any other capacity or employment by the commission or commissioner when he is a candidate for or holds any public office or is a member of any political party committee. In the event the commissioner or any employee of the commission or commissioner becomes a candidate for or holds any public office or becomes a member of any political party committee, his office as commissioner or position as employee, as the case may be, shall be immediately vacated.
All commission accounting and auditing services shall be on the fiscal year basis. The commissioner shall prepare an annual financial report covering all receipts and disbursements for each fiscal year and shall deliver such report to the commission on or before the first day of December next succeeding the end of the fiscal year.
The commissioner shall report quarterly to the commission on finances, personnel and other aspects and phases of the road program and system.
(a) Beginning May 1, 2015, the Division of Highways shall provide access to and make available all of the Division's books, accounts, records and any other information requested by the independent qualified firm that may be selected by the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to conduct a performance audit of the Division of Highways and any one or more of the individual district within the state road system for the preceding three fiscal years, as determined by the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
(b) The independent qualified firm selected to conduct the performance audit shall be selected by the Legislative Auditor under the oversight of the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on a competitive bid based upon price and qualifications. The performance audit shall be conducted in accordance with the generally accepted government auditing standards. The audit may include, but not be limited to examination of areas of inefficiency, best practices, the appropriateness of staffing across functions and locations, vehicles allocated within the agency, compensation levels including overtime and relation to employee turnover, procurement practices, existing or recommended system of performance benchmarks, organizational structure, and internal operating or management policies.
(c) The independent qualified firm shall submit the final report of the audit to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, with a copy to the Governor, on or before December 31, 2015. The Joint Committee on Government and Finance may authorize extension of the reporting requirement or expansion of the terms of the audit. The Joint Committee on Government and Finance shall pay the costs associated with the performance audit prescribed by this section.
(1) Shall select and employ a competent legal staff adequate for the ordinary legal services required by him and shall provide therefor such quarters, equipment, facilities, services and stenographic and other personnel as may be necessary;
(2) May call upon the attorney general and the prosecuting attorneys of the several counties, within their respective jurisdictions, for legal assistance and services as provided by law;
(3) May employ such additional legal counsel as he deems necessary upon a reasonable fee basis to perform legal services in acquiring, by right of eminent domain or otherwise, property, or an estate, right or interest therein.
(1) Exercise general supervision over the state road program and the construction, reconstruction, repair and maintenance of state roads and highways;
(2) Determine the various methods of road construction best adapted to the various sections and areas of the state and establish standards for the construction and maintenance of roads and highways in the various sections and areas of the state;
(3) Conduct investigations and experiments, hold hearings and public meetings and attend and participate in meetings and conferences within and without the state for purposes of acquiring information, making findings and determining courses of action and procedure relative to advancement and improvement of the state road and highway system;
(4) Enter private lands to make inspections and surveys for road and highway purposes;
(5) Acquire, in name of the department, by lease, grant, right of eminent domain or other lawful means all lands and interests and rights in lands necessary and required for roads, rights-of-way, cuts, fills, drains, storage for equipment and materials and road construction and maintenance in general;
(6) Procure photostatic copies of any or all public records on file at the state capitol of Virginia which may be considered necessary or proper in ascertaining the location and legal status of public road rights-of-way located or established in what is now the state of West Virginia, which when certified by the commissioner, may be admitted in evidence, in lieu of the original, in any of the courts of this state;
(7) Plan for and hold annually a school of good roads, of not less than three or more than six days' duration, for instruction of his or her employees, which is held in conjunction with West Virginia university and may be held at the university or at any other suitable place in the state;
(8) Negotiate and enter in reciprocal contracts and agreements with proper authorities of other states and of the United States relating to and regulating the use of roads and highways with reference to weights and types of vehicles, registration of vehicles and licensing of operators, military and emergency movements of personnel and supplies and all other matters of interstate or national interest;
(9) Classify and reclassify, locate and relocate, expressway, trunkline, feeder and state local service roads and designate by number the routes within the state road system;
(10) Create, extend or establish, upon petition of any interested party or parties or on the commissioner's own initiative, any new road or highway found necessary and proper;
(11) Exercise jurisdiction, control, supervision and authority over local roads, outside the state road system, to the extent determined by him or her to be expedient and practicable;
(12) Discontinue, vacate and close any road or highway, or any part of any road or highway, the continuance and maintenance of which are found unnecessary and improper, upon petition and hearing or upon investigation initiated by the commissioner;
(13) Close any state road while under construction or repair and provide a temporary road during the time of the construction or repair;
(14) Adjust damages occasioned by construction, reconstruction or repair of any state road or the establishment of any temporary road;
(15) Establish and maintain a uniform system of road signs and markers;
(16) Fix standard widths for road rights-of-way, bridges and approaches to bridges and fix and determine grades and elevations therefor;
(17) Test and standardize materials used in road construction and maintenance, either by governmental testing and standardization activities or through contract by private agencies;
(18) Allocate the cost of retaining walls and drainage projects, for the protection of a state road or its right-of-way, to the cost of construction, reconstruction, improvement or maintenance;
(19) Acquire, establish, construct, maintain and operate, in the name of the department, roadside recreational areas along and adjacent to state roads and highways;
(20) Exercise general supervision over the construction and maintenance of airports and landing fields under the jurisdiction of the West Virginia state aeronautics commission, of which the commissioner is a member, and make a study and general plan of a statewide system of airports and landing fields;
(21) Provide traffic engineering services to municipalities of the state upon request of the governing body of any municipality and upon terms that are agreeably arranged;
(22) Institute complaints before the public service commission or any other appropriate governmental agency relating to freight rates, car service and movement of road materials and equipment;
(23) Invoke any appropriate legal or equitable remedies to enforce his or her orders, to compel compliance with requirements of law and to protect and preserve the state road and highway system or any part of the system;
(24) Make and promulgate rules for the government and conduct of personnel, for the orderly and efficient administration and supervision of the state road program and for the effective and expeditious performance and discharge of the duties and responsibilities placed upon him or her by law;
(25) Delegate powers and duties to his or her appointees and employees who shall act by and under his or her direction and be responsible to him or her for their acts;
(26) Designate and define any construction and maintenance districts within the state road system that is found expedient and practicable;
(27) Contract for the construction, improvement and maintenance of the roads;
(28) Comply with provisions of present and future federal aid statutes and regulations, including execution of contracts or agreements with and cooperation in programs of the United States government and any proper department, bureau or agency of the United States government relating to plans, surveys, construction, reconstruction, improvement and maintenance of state roads and highways;
(29) Prepare budget estimates and requests;
(30) Establish a system of accounting covering and including all fiscal and financial matters of the department;
(31) Establish and advance a right-of-way acquisition revolving fund, a materials revolving fund and an equipment revolving fund;
(32) Enter into contracts and agreements with and cooperate in programs of counties, municipalities and other governmental agencies and subdivisions of the state relating to plans, surveys, construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance and supervision of highways, roads, streets and other travel ways when and to the extent determined by the department to be expedient and practical;
(33) Report, as provided by law, to the governor and the Legislature;
(34) Purchase materials, supplies and equipment required for the state road program and system;
(35) Dispose of all obsolete and unusable and surplus supplies and materials which cannot be used advantageously and beneficially by the department in the state road program by transfer of the supplies and materials to other governmental agencies and institutions by exchange, trade or sale of the supplies and materials;
(36) Investigate road conditions, official conduct of department personnel and fiscal and financial affairs of the department and hold hearings and make findings thereon or on any other matters within the jurisdiction of the department;
(37) Establish road policies and administrative practices;
(38) Fix and revise from time to time tolls for transit over highway projects constructed by the division of highways after the first day of May, one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine, that have been authorized by the provisions of section five-b, article seventeen-a of this chapter;
(39) Take actions necessary to alleviate any conditions as the governor may declare to constitute an emergency, whether or not the emergency condition affects areas normally under the jurisdiction of the department of highways; and
(40) Provide family restrooms at all rest areas along interstate highways in this state, all to be constructed in accordance with federal law.
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the commissioner may employ as witnesses to testify in eminent domain proceedings such persons who are qualified to give competent testimony as to the value of the property, or estate, right or interest therein, being condemned in an eminent domain proceeding, as he deems necessary. Each such person so employed shall receive for his services the sum agreed upon in a written contract signed by the commissioner and such person. The sum contracted to be paid, however, shall not be made contingent upon the outcome of the action or hearing in which the competent testimony is to be given.
In addition to the other powers given and assigned to him in this chapter, where an emergency exists, the commissioner may authorize the use of state road commission vehicles to provide towing service to vehicles stranded on any highway in this state, or may provide a sufficient quantity of gasoline or other fuel for the vehicle to propel it to a point where such fuel may be purchased.
In addition to the other powers given and assigned to him in this chapter, the commissioner of highways shall have authority to use, and permit and allow or disallow his designated employees to use, publicly provided carriage to travel from their residences to their workplace and return: Provided, That such usage is subject to the supervision of such official and is directly connected with and required by the nature and in the performance of such official's or designated employee's duties and responsibilities.
In any hearing, investigation or proceeding conducted by or before the commission or commissioner, the evidence of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence may be required at any designated place of hearing and summons may be issued therefor by the commissioner or any member of the commission. In case of disobedience to a summons or other process so issued, the commissioner, a member of the commission or any party to the proceedings may invoke the aid of any circuit court in requiring the evidence and testimony of witnesses and the production of papers, books and documents. And upon proper showing, such court shall issue an order requiring such persons to appear before the commissioner or commission, as the case may be, and produce all books and papers and give evidence touching the matter in question. Any person failing to obey such order may be punished by such court as for contempt. A claim that any such testimony or evidence may tend to incriminate the person giving the same shall not excuse such witness from testifying, but such witness shall not be prosecuted for any offense concerning which he is compelled hereunder to testify.
The commission may regulate and, when the safety and convenience of the traveling public so require, may prohibit parking of vehicles on and along roads and highways and the rights-of-way thereof.
All purchases and acquisitions shall be made in consideration and within limits of available appropriations and funds and in accordance with applicable provisions of article two, chapter five-a of this code, relating to expenditure schedules and quarterly allotments of funds.
The director of purchases shall make available the facilities and services of his department to the commissioner in the purchase and acquisition of materials, supplies and equipment and shall cooperate with the commissioner in all such purchases and acquisitions upon request of the commissioner. The actual expenses incurred by the director of purchases in all such cases shall be paid by the commissioner.
Any person, firm or corporation failing or refusing to comply with said statute as herein required shall be ineligible to sell or offer to sell commodities to the commissioner as hereinabove set forth.
As used in this article, "state road purposes" shall include provision for, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(a) Constructing, establishing, laying out, widening, enlarging, extending, straightening, reconstructing, relocating, grading, altering, improving, and maintaining state roads;
(b) Rights-of-way for state roads, including those needed for such roads within municipalities, such rights-of-way to be as wide as deemed necessary by the commissioner;
(c) Adequate drainage of state roads;
(d) Controlled-access facilities, as defined in section thirty-nine, article four of this chapter, including existing and vested rights of access, air, view and light, whether privately or publicly owned, and local service roads to controlled-access facilities;
(e) Broadcasting stations, weighing stations, shops, equipment sheds, office buildings, storage buildings and yards, snow fences, road maintenance or construction sites;
(f) Road-building material storage sites, quarry sites, gravel pits, sites for the acquisition or manufacture of road- building materials including borrow pits, stock pile sites, waste- material sites and access roads to any such sites or places;
(g) The culture and support of trees which benefit any state road by aiding in the maintenance and preservation of the road;
(h) Landscape and roadside development, and maintenance thereof, within any state road right-of-way, and the acquisition and maintenance of lands and interests in lands for the restoration, preservation and enhancement of places of scenic beauty, and other objects of attraction or scenic value adjacent to or near any state road, and the acquisition, development and maintenance of publicly owned and controlled rest and recreation areas and sanitary and other facilities reasonably necessary for the accommodation of the traveling public, within, adjacent to or near the right-of-way of any road within the state road system;
(i) Development and maintenance of parking places, auto camps, camp sites, roadside parks, historic roadside markers and sites, forest or timbered areas or other places of attraction and scenic value which are adjacent to or near any state road and which in the judgment of the commissioner are necessary for the convenience of the public and will contribute to the general welfare and pleasure of the motoring public or road users;
(j) Maintenance of an unobstructed view of any portion of any state road in order to provide for the safety of the traveling public;
(k) Erection and maintenance of markers, warning signs and traffic signals;
(l) Construction and maintenance on state roads of sidewalks and highway illumination;
(m) Elimination or prevention of hazardous or undesirablepoints of entry to state roads from adjacent property;
(n) Acquisition of property, or any interest or right therein, for the purpose of exchanging it for other property, or any interest or right therein, which the commission is authorized to acquire by the other provisions of this section: Provided, That such substitute property, or any interest or right therein, may be acquired by the commissioner by condemnation only if the following conditions are satisfied: (1) Money compensation would be substantially inadequate for the property, or interest or right therein, which the commissioner is authorized to acquire by the other provisions of this section, and (2) the commission has entered into a written agreement to exchange the substitute property, or the right or interest therein, for the property, or right or interest therein, which is needed for state road purposes, regardless of whether the person who has agreed to accept the exchange has the right to condemn the substitute property, or the right or interest therein;
(o) Acquisition of real property, not needed as such for a state road, for the purpose of moving and relocating thereon a building or other structure or appurtenance which is situated on a lot or tract of land all or a portion of which is needed for a state road and which, after relocation, will be suitable for the purpose for which it was used prior to its being relocated: Provided, however, That such additional real property may be acquired by the commissioner by condemnation only if the following conditions are satisfied: (1) The building or other structure or appurtenance is of substantial value, (2) the real property on which it is to be relocated is not substantially improved and is adjacent to or near the location from which it is to be removed, (3) the owner of the real property needed for the state road has entered into a written agreement with the commission to accept in exchange the additional property with the relocated building or structure or appurtenance thereon, (4) substantial savings in expenditure of state road funds will result from condemning the additional property and relocating the building or structure or appurtenance rather than condemning the lot or tract, or the portion thereof, on which the building or other structure or appurtenance may be located, and (5) the real property with the relocated building or structure or appurtenance thereon will be relatively equal in value to the real property needed for the state road.
(b) This subsection applies to property held by the division, including a right-of-way, that was not acquired for use, or used, as a highway. When the real property, or any part of the property, or any interest or right in the property, is considered by the commissioner not necessary, or desirable for present or presently foreseeable future division of highways purposes, it may be exchanged for other real property, or any interest or right in the property, considered by the commissioner to be necessary or desirable for present or presently foreseeable future division of highways purposes, or it may be sold. In addition the division may exchange real property, or any part of the property, or any interest or right in the property, even though it may be necessary or desirable for present or presently foreseeable future division of highways purposes, if the exchange is made for other real property, or any interest or right in the property, in close proximity to the property which the commissioner considers of equal or superior useful value for present or presently foreseeable future division of highways purposes. In making exchanges the division may make allowances for differences in the value of the properties being exchanged and may move or pay the cost of moving buildings, structures or appurtenances in connection with the exchange.
Every sale of real property, or any interest or right in the property or structure on the property, shall be at public auction in the county in which the real property, or the greater part of the property, is located, and the division shall advertise, by publication or otherwise, the time, place, and terms of the sale at least twenty days prior to the sale. The property shall be sold in the manner which will bring the highest and best price. The division may reject any or all bids received at the sale. The commissioner shall keep a record, open to public inspection, indicating the manner in which the real property, or any interest or right in the property or structure on the property, was publicly advertised for sale, the highest bid received and from whom, the person to whom sold, and payment received. The record shall be kept for a period of five years and may be destroyed after five years.
(c)(1) This subsection applies to property held by the division, including a right-of-way, that was acquired for use, or used, as a highway. The commissioner may transfer, sell or otherwise dispose of any right-of-way properties or any interest or right in the property, owned by or to be acquired by the division of highways which the commissioner in his or her sole discretion determines are not necessary or desirable for present or presently foreseeable future highway purpose by first offering the property to the principal abutting landowners without following the procedure for public auction provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(2) The commissioner shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code governing and controlling the making of any leases or sales pursuant to the provisions of this subsection. The rules may provide for the giving of preferential treatment in making leases to the persons from whom the properties or rights or interests in the property were acquired, or their heirs or assigns and shall also provide for granting a right of first refusal to abutting landowners at fair market value in the sale of any real estate or any interest or right in the property, owned by the division of highways.
(3)(A) With respect to real property acquired subsequent to the year one thousand nine hundred seventy-three for use as a highway through voluntary real estate acquisition or exercise of the right of eminent domain, which real estate the commissioner has determined should be sold as not necessary for highways purposes, the commissioner shall give preferential treatment to an abutting landowner if it appears that:
(i) A principal abutting landowner is an individual from whom the real estate was acquired or his or her surviving spouse or descendant. In order to qualify for preferential treatment, the surviving spouse or descendant need not be a beneficiary of the individual. The terms used in this subdivision are as defined in section one, article one, chapter forty-two of this code; and
(ii) The primary use of the abutting property has not substantially changed since the time of the acquisition.
(B) When the provisions of paragraph (A) of this subdivision are met, the commissioner shall offer the property for sale to the principal abutting landowner at a cost equal to the amount paid by the division of highways in acquiring the real estate. If improvements on the property have been removed since the time of the acquisition, the cost shall be reduced by an amount attributable to the value of the improvements removed. The cost may be adjusted to reflect interest at a rate equal to the increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers as reported by the United States department of labor since the time of disbursement of the funds.
(d) The commissioner may insert in any deed or conveyance, whether it involves an exchange, lease or sale, the conditions as are in the public interest and have been approved in advance by the governor.
(e) All moneys received from the exchange, sale, or lease of real property, or any right or interest in the property, shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the state road fund.
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, property may not be transferred, sold or otherwise disposed of unless the commissioner finds that the right-of-way or other property has no significant value to the state as a hiking trail and does not serve as a link between two or more state owned properties. This subsection does not apply to property that lies within six hundred feet of any dwelling house.
In any instance where the West Virginia department of highways has or shall hereafter acquire title to the airspace upon and over any highway or right-of-way for highway purposes, such department may, subject to the conditions herein, transfer such airspace or any part thereof to any person, firm or corporation by sale, lease or permit to use.
When such airspace or any part thereof is determined by the commissioner not necessary, or desirable for present or presently foreseeable future state road purposes, it may be transferred by lease for such period or periods of time and on such terms and conditions, including consideration, as the commissioner shall determine to be fair and reasonable, or it may be transferred by sale, or the commissioner may transfer the use thereof by a permit to use such airspace or any part thereof for such period or periods of time as he shall determine and under such terms and conditions, including consideration, as he shall deem fair and reasonable, except that in the case of a publicly or privately owned utility, no consideration shall be required for an easement through such airspace or any part thereof.
Every such transfer by sale shall be at public auction in the county in which the airspace to be transferred by sale is located, and the department shall advertise, by publication, the time, place and terms of such sale at least twenty days prior thereto. The publication shall be published as a Class I-O legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county in which the airspace to be transferred by sale is located. The airspace shall be sold in a manner which will bring the highest and best price therefor. The department may reject any or all bids received at the sale. The commissioner shall keep a record, open to public inspection, indicating the newspapers in which the airspace to be transferred by sale was publicly advertised for sale, the highest bid received therefor and from what party, the party to whom sold, and the payment received therefor. Such record shall be kept for a period of five years and may thereafter be destroyed. Every such transfer by lease with any party other than another agency of this state or any county or municipality in this state or any agency thereof shall be upon the basis of competitive bids solicited by publication of a notice of the proposed lease published as a Class I-O legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county in which the airspace to be transferred by lease is located.
The commissioner shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing and controlling the transferring of airspaces by sale, lease, or permit to use, pursuant to the provisions of this section, which rules and regulations shall provide for the giving of preferential treatment in making leases or issuing permits to use to the persons from whom the airspace was acquired, or their heirs or assigns.
The commissioner may insert in any instrument executed pursuant to the provisions of this section such conditions as are in the public interest and have been approved in advance by the governor.
All moneys received from the sale or lease of, or permit to use, any airspace or any part thereof, shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the state road fund.
Any individual, family, business concern (including the operation of a farm) or nonprofit organization to be displaced by a highway construction project shall be compensated consistent with the provisions and limitations of federal acts for reasonable and necessary costs to be incurred in consequence of being so displaced. When a family is displaced, no additional payment shall be made to individuals who are members of such family; but, if two or more displaced families occupy the same dwelling or comprise a single household, each family within such dwelling or household may receive relocation costs as provided in this section. Payments under this section are subject to the limitations provided herein and to any rules and regulations made by the commissioner as herein provided.
With respect to state highway projects and federal-aid highway projects, the commissioner shall have authority to make such payments for relocation costs, reestablishment costs, replacement housing costs, including the increased interest costs which the displaced person is required to pay for financing the acquisition of a comparable replacement dwelling, and reasonable expenses incurred by such displaced person for evidence of title, recording fees, and other closing costs incident to the purchase of the replacement dwelling, and expenses incidental to the transfer of property as are authorized by the abovementioned Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, being Public Law 91-646 enacted by the Ninety-first Congress of the United States of America, and the 1987 amendments thereto known as Title IV of the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, being Public Law 100-17 enacted by the One Hundredth Congress of the United States of America.
The commissioner shall establish by rules and regulations a procedure for the payment of relocation costs within the limits of and consistent with the policies of this section and the aforesaid federal laws and regulations. Such rules and regulations may authorize lump sum payments to individuals or families, in lieu of their respective provable costs, based upon the size of the dwelling being vacated or the number of persons being affected or any other reasonable basis. The commissionermay authorize the obligations of or payment of relocation costs in advance of expenditure for relocation by any person, firm or organization eligible to receive such payment where such advance obligation or payment would speed the clearance of highway construction sites or reduce hardships.
With respect to state highway projects and federal-aid highway projects, the commissioner shall also have authority to comply with the aforesaid federal laws and regulations relating to providing last-resort replacement housing.
Nothing contained in this section or in the federal laws and regulations relating to relocation assistance and payments to displaced person shall be construed as creating in any condemnation proceedings brought under the power of eminent domain, any element of damages not in existence on the effective date of this section or of the federal laws and regulations relating to relocation assistance and payments to displaced persons.
In order to promote engineering and design quality and to ensure maximum competition by professional companies of all sizes providing engineering and design services, the commissioner of highways may establish cost principles for determining the reasonableness and allowability of various costs. These cost principles will govern the overhead ceilings, salary limits, expense reimbursement and any other cost the commissioner may deem necessary to regulate. The commissioner of highways shall propose a legislative rule pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code regarding standard cost principles for determining the reasonableness and allowability of various costs. The legislative rule may include provisions for deviations from the standard cost principles in special situations and circumstances.
The commissioner may issue a commercial work order to certified vendors for repair of vehicles and equipment when the commissioner determines that the repairs would extend the life of the equipment or vehicle a minimum of five years and that the expenditure would be the safest cost effective alternative to purchase of new vehicles and equipment or in-house repair.
Any commercial vendor of vehicle and equipment repair may apply to the commissioner for certification as a certified repair vendor under the provisions of this section. In order to qualify, the vendor must provide proof that it has the trained personnel, the required tools, equipment and facilities to provide the work. The commissioner shall inspect or cause to be inspected the facilities and shall review the qualifications of personnel of vendors applying for certification. If approved by the commissioner, the vendor may be certified as a qualified vendor for the type of repair work the commissioner determines the vendor is qualified to provide.
Prior to issuing a commercial work order with a certified vendor, the commissioner must determine the cost of repair of the vehicle or equipment. If on site inspection is required, the commissioner may issue a work order to provide for the inspection and estimate.
Preference for issuing vehicle and equipment repair work orders shall be given to in-state licensed qualified vendors: Provided, That a vendor which fails to guarantee its work for at least one year, or which fails to guarantee its work for a longer period if the longer period is comparable to that offered by local rebuild or repair shops, or which fails to complete any work order in the time specified within the work order, or which fails to complete any work order to the specifications of the work order, shall be decertified for a period of one year.
Nothing herein requires the commissioner of highways to issue a work order to any particular commercial vendor.
The commissioner of highways shall propose a legislative rule pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code regarding certification of qualified vendors and awarding work orders. The legislative rule may include provisions for deviations from the standard cost principles in special situations and circumstances.