(1)(a) The authority created and established by the provisions of this part is hereby granted and shall have the right to acquire, hold, construct, improve, maintain, operate, own and lease in the capacity of lessor, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway System hereinafter referred to as “system.”
(b) It is the express intention of this part that said authority, in the construction of said Orlando-Orange County Expressway System, shall be authorized to construct any extensions, additions or improvements to said system or appurtenant facilities, including all necessary approaches, roads, bridges and avenues of access, with such changes, modifications or revisions of said project as shall be deemed desirable and proper.
(2) The authority is hereby granted, and shall have and may exercise all powers necessary, appurtenant, convenient or incidental to the carrying out of the aforesaid purposes, including, but without being limited to, the following rights and powers:
(a) To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, complain and defend in all courts.
(b) To adopt, use and alter at will a corporate seal.
(c) To acquire by donation or otherwise, purchase, hold, lease as lessee and use any franchise, property, real, personal or mixed, tangible or intangible, or any options thereof in its own name or in conjunction with others, or interest therein, necessary or desirable for carrying out the purposes of the authority, and to sell, lease as lessor, transfer and dispose of any property or interest therein at any time acquired by it.
(d) To enter into and make leases for terms not exceeding 99 years, as either lessee or lessor, in order to carry out the right to lease as set forth in this part.
(e) To enter into and make lease-purchase agreements with the department for terms not exceeding 40 years, or until any bonds secured by a pledge of rentals thereunder, and any refundings thereof, are fully paid as to both principal and interest, whichever is longer.
(f) To fix, alter, charge, establish and collect rates, fees, rentals, and other charges for the services and facilities of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway System, which rates, fees, rentals and other charges shall always be sufficient to comply with any covenants made with the holders of any bonds issued pursuant to this part; provided, however, that such right and power may be assigned or delegated, by the authority, to the department.
(g) To borrow money, make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refunding bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness or obligations, either in temporary or definitive form, hereinafter in this chapter sometimes called “bonds” of the authority, for the purpose of financing all or part of the improvement or extension of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway System, and appurtenant facilities, including all approaches, streets, roads, bridges and avenues of access for said Orlando-Orange County Expressway System and for any other purpose authorized by this part, said bonds to mature in not exceeding 40 years from the date of the issuance thereof, and to secure the payment of such bonds or any part thereof by a pledge of any or all of its revenues, rates, fees, rentals or other charges, including all or any portion of the Orange County gasoline tax funds received by the authority pursuant to the terms of any lease-purchase agreement between the authority and the department; and in general to provide for the security of said bonds and the rights and remedies of the holders thereof. Provided, however, that no portion of the Orange County gasoline tax funds shall be pledged for the construction of any project for which a toll is to be charged unless the anticipated tolls are reasonably estimated by the board of county commissioners, at the date of its resolution pledging said funds, to be sufficient to cover the principal and interest of such obligations during the period when said pledge of funds shall be in effect.
1. The authority shall reimburse Orange County for any sums expended from said gasoline tax funds used for the payment of such obligations. Any gasoline tax funds so disbursed shall be repaid when the authority deems it practicable, together with interest at the highest rate applicable to any obligations of the authority.
2. In the event the authority shall determine to fund or refund any bonds theretofore issued by said authority, or by said commission as aforesaid prior to the maturity thereof, the proceeds of such funding or refunding bonds shall, pending the prior redemption of the bonds to be funded or refunded, be invested in direct obligations of the United States, and it is the express intention of this part that such outstanding bonds may be funded or refunded by the issuance of bonds pursuant to this part.
(h) To make contracts of every name and nature, including, but not limited to, partnerships providing for participation in ownership and revenues, and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying on of its business.
(i) Without limitation of the foregoing, to borrow money and accept grants from, and to enter into contracts, leases or other transactions with any federal agency, the state, any agency of the state, the County of Orange, the City of Orlando or with any other public body of the state.
(j) To have the power of eminent domain, including the procedural powers granted under both chapters 73 and 74.
(k) To pledge, hypothecate or otherwise encumber all or any part of the revenues, rates, fees, rentals or other charges or receipts of the authority, including all or any portion of the Orange County gasoline tax funds received by the authority pursuant to the terms of any lease-purchase agreement between the authority and the department, as security for all or any of the obligations of the authority.
(l) To enter into partnership and other agreements respecting ownership and revenue participation in order to facilitate financing and constructing the Western Beltway, or portions thereof.
(m) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient for the conduct of its business and the general welfare of the authority, in order to carry out the powers granted to it by this part or any other law.
(n) With the consent of the county within whose jurisdiction the following activities occur, the authority shall have the right to construct, operate, and maintain roads, bridges, avenues of access, thoroughfares, and boulevards outside the jurisdictional boundaries of Orange County, together with the right to construct, repair, replace, operate, install, and maintain electronic toll payment systems thereon, with all necessary and incidental powers to accomplish the foregoing.
(6)(a) Notwithstanding s. 255.05, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority may waive payment and performance bonds on construction contracts for the construction of a public building, for the prosecution and completion of a public work, or for repairs on a public building or public work that has a cost of $500,000 or less and when the project is awarded pursuant to an economic development program for the encouragement of local small businesses that has been adopted by the governing body of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority pursuant to a resolution or policy. (b) The authority’s adopted criteria for participation in the economic development program for local small businesses requires that a participant:
1. Be an independent business.
2. Be principally domiciled in the Orange County Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area.
3. Employ 25 or fewer full-time employees.
4. Have gross annual sales averaging $3 million or less over the immediately preceding 3 calendar years with regard to any construction element of the program.
5. Be accepted as a participant in the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority’s microcontracts program or such other small business program as may be hereinafter enacted by the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
6. Participate in an educational curriculum or technical assistance program for business development that will assist the small business in becoming eligible for bonding.
(c) The authority’s adopted procedures for waiving payment and performance bonds on projects with values not less than $200,000 and not exceeding $500,000 shall provide that payment and performance bonds may only be waived on projects that have been set aside to be competitively bid on by participants in an economic development program for local small businesses. The authority’s executive director or his or her designee shall determine whether specific construction projects are suitable for:
1. Bidding under the authority’s microcontracts program by registered local small businesses; and
2. Waiver of the payment and performance bond.
The decision of the authority’s executive director or deputy executive director to waive the payment and performance bond shall be based upon his or her investigation and conclusion that there exists sufficient competition so that the authority receives a fair price and does not undertake any unusual risk with respect to such project.
(d) For any contract for which a payment and performance bond has been waived pursuant to the authority set forth in this section, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority shall pay all persons defined in s. 713.01 who furnish labor, services, or materials for the prosecution of the work provided for in the contract to the same extent and upon the same conditions that a surety on the payment bond under s. 255.05 would have been obligated to pay such persons if the payment and performance bond had not been waived. The authority shall record notice of this obligation in the manner and location that surety bonds are recorded. The notice shall include the information describing the contract that s. 255.05(1) requires be stated on the front page of the bond. Notwithstanding that s. 255.05(9) generally applies when a performance and payment bond is required, s. 255.05(9) shall apply under this subsection to any contract on which performance or payment bonds are waived and any claim to payment under this subsection shall be treated as a contract claim pursuant to s. 255.05(9).
(e) A small business that has been the successful bidder on six projects for which the payment and performance bond was waived by the authority pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be ineligible to bid on additional projects for which the payment and performance bond is to be waived. The local small business may continue to participate in other elements of the economic development program for local small businesses as long as it is eligible.
(f) The authority shall conduct bond eligibility training for businesses qualifying for bond waiver under this subsection to encourage and promote bond eligibility for such businesses.
(g) The authority shall prepare a biennial report on the activities undertaken pursuant to this subsection to be submitted to the Orange County legislative delegation. The initial report shall be due December 31, 2010.