2020 Florida Statutes
348.7605 Public-private partnership.—The Legislature declares that there is a public need for the rapid construction of safe and efficient transportation facilities for traveling within the state and that it is in the public’s interest to provide for public-private partnership agreements to effectuate the construction of additional safe, convenient, and economical transportation facilities.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, the authority may receive or solicit proposals and enter into agreements with private entities, or consortia thereof, for the building, operation, ownership, or financing of authority transportation facilities or new transportation facilities within the jurisdiction of the authority which increase transportation capacity. The authority may not sell or lease any transportation facility owned by the authority without providing the analysis required in s. 334.30(6)(e)2. to the Legislative Budget Commission created pursuant to s. 11.90 for review and approval before awarding a contract on a lease of an existing toll facility. The authority may adopt rules to implement this section and shall, by rule, establish an application fee for the submission of unsolicited proposals under this section. The fee must be sufficient to pay the costs of evaluating the proposals. The authority may engage private consultants to assist in the evaluation. Before approval, the authority must determine that a proposed project:
(a) Is in the public’s best interest.
(b) Would not require state funds to be used unless the project is on or provides increased mobility on the State Highway System.
(c) Would have adequate safeguards to ensure that no additional costs or service disruptions would be realized by the traveling public and residents of the state in the event of default or the cancellation of the agreement by the authority.
(d) Would have adequate safeguards in place to ensure that the department, the authority, or the private entity has the opportunity to add capacity to the proposed project and other transportation facilities serving similar origins and destinations.
(e) Would be owned by the authority upon completion or termination of the agreement.
(2) The authority shall ensure that all reasonable costs to the state which are related to transportation facilities that are not part of the State Highway System are borne by the private entity. The authority shall also ensure that all reasonable costs to the state and substantially affected local governments and utilities related to the private transportation facility are borne by the private entity for transportation facilities that are owned by private entities. For projects on the State Highway System, the department may use state resources to participate in funding and financing the project as provided for under the department’s enabling legislation.
(3) The authority may request proposals for public-private transportation projects or, if it receives an unsolicited proposal, it must publish a notice in the Florida Administrative Register and a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which it is located at least once a week for 2 weeks stating that it has received the proposal and will accept, for 60 days after the initial date of publication, other proposals for the same project purpose. A copy of the notice must be mailed to each local government in the affected areas. After the public notification period has expired, the authority shall rank the proposals in order of preference. In ranking the proposals, the authority shall consider professional qualifications, general business terms, innovative engineering or cost-reduction terms, finance plans, and the need for state funds to deliver the proposal. If the authority is not satisfied with the results of the negotiations, it may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. If these negotiations are unsuccessful, the authority may go to the second and lower-ranked firms, in order, using the same procedure. If only one proposal is received, the authority may negotiate in good faith, and if it is not satisfied with the results, it may, at its sole discretion, terminate negotiations with the proposer. The authority may, at its discretion, reject all proposals at any point in the process up to completion of a contract with the proposer.
(4) Agreements entered into pursuant to this section may authorize the public-private entity to impose tolls or fares for the use of the facility. However, the amount and use of toll or fare revenues shall be regulated by the authority to avoid unreasonable costs to users of the facility.
(5) Each public-private transportation facility constructed pursuant to this section shall comply with all requirements of federal, state, and local laws; state, regional, and local comprehensive plans; the authority’s rules, policies, procedures, and standards for transportation facilities; and any other conditions that the authority determines to be in the public’s best interest.
(6) The authority may exercise any power possessed by it, including eminent domain, to facilitate the development and construction of transportation projects pursuant to this section. The authority may pay all or part of the cost of operating and maintaining the facility or may provide services to the private entity for which it receives full or partial reimbursement for services rendered.
(7) Except as herein provided, this section is not intended to amend existing laws by granting additional powers to or further restricting the governmental entities from regulating and entering into cooperative arrangements with the private sector for the planning, construction, and operation of transportation facilities.
History.—s. 19, ch. 2019-169.