S.B. No. 1131
relating to the conveyance of a ferry by the Texas Department of
Transportation to certain counties and local government
corporations and to the operation of ferries by regional mobility
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. The heading to Chapter 284, Transportation Code,
is amended to read as follows:
CHAPTER 284. CAUSEWAYS, BRIDGES, TUNNELS, TURNPIKES, FERRIES, AND
HIGHWAYS IN CERTAIN COUNTIES
SECTION 2. Subdivision (3), Section 284.001,
Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows:
(3) "Project" means a causeway, bridge, tunnel,
turnpike, highway, ferry, or any combination of those facilities,
(A) a necessary overpass, underpass,
interchange, entrance plaza, toll house, service station,
approach, fixture, and accessory and necessary equipment;
(B) necessary administration, storage, and other
(C) all property rights, easements, and related
SECTION 3. Section 284.003, Transportation Code, is amended
to read as follows:
Sec. 284.003. PROJECT AUTHORIZED; CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION,
AND COST. A county, acting through the commissioners court of the
county, or a local government corporation, without state approval,
supervision, or regulation, may:
(1) construct, acquire, improve, operate, maintain,
or pool a project located:
(A) exclusively in the county;
(B) in the county and outside the county; or
(C) in one or more counties adjacent to the
(2) issue tax bonds, revenue bonds, or combination tax
and revenue bonds to pay the cost of the construction, acquisition,
or improvement of a project;
(3) impose tolls or charges as otherwise authorized by
this chapter; [
(4) construct a bridge over a deep water navigation
channel if the bridge does not hinder maritime transportation; or
(5) construct, acquire, or operate a ferry across a
deepwater navigation channel.
SECTION 4. Subchapter A, Chapter 284, Transportation Code,
is amended by adding Section 284.011 to read as follows:
Sec. 284.011. CONVEYANCE OF FERRY CONNECTING STATE
HIGHWAYS. (a) The commission by order may convey a ferry operated
under Section 342.001 to a county or local government corporation
incorporated under Chapter 431 in a county to which this chapter
(1) the commission determines that the proposed
conveyance is an integral part of the region's overall plan to
improve mobility in the region;
(2) the county or local government corporation:
(A) agrees to the conveyance; and
(B) agrees to assume all liability and
responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the ferry on
its conveyance; and
(3) a majority of the voters in the municipality in
which the ferry is located, voting in an election held for that
purpose, approve the conveyance.
(b) A county or local government corporation shall
reimburse the commission for the cost of a conveyed ferry unless the
commission determines that the conveyance will result in a
substantial net benefit to the state, the department, and the
traveling public that equals or exceeds that cost.
(c) In computing the cost of the ferry, the commission
(1) include the total amount spent by the department
for the original construction of the ferry, including the costs
associated with the preliminary engineering and design engineering
for plans, specifications, and estimates, the acquisition of
necessary rights-of-way, and actual construction of the ferry and
all necessary appurtenant facilities; and
(2) consider the anticipated future costs of
expanding, improving, maintaining, or operating the ferry to be
incurred by the county or local government corporation and not by
the department if the ferry is conveyed.
(d) The commission shall, at the time the ferry is conveyed,
remove the ferry from the state highway system. After a conveyance,
the commission has no liability or responsibility for the
maintenance or operation of the ferry.
(e) Before conveying a ferry that is a part of the state
highway system under this section, the commission shall conduct a
public hearing at which interested persons shall be allowed to
speak on the proposed conveyance. Notice of the hearing must be
published in the Texas Register and in one or more newspapers of
general circulation in the county in which the ferry is located.
(f) The commission shall adopt rules to implement this
section. The rules must include criteria and guidelines for the
approval of a conveyance of a ferry.
(g) A county or local government corporation shall
establish criteria and guidelines for approval of the conveyance of
a ferry under this section.
(h) A county or local government corporation may
temporarily charge a toll for use of a ferry conveyed under this
section to pay the costs necessary for an expansion of the ferry and
may permanently charge a toll for use of ferry facilities that are
an expansion of the ferry conveyed under this section.
(i) The commission may not convey a ferry under this section
if any of the docking facilities used by the ferry are located in a
municipality with a population of 8,000 or less unless the
governing body of the municipality approves the conveyance.
(j) The governing body of the municipality in which the
ferry is located shall order an election held on the approval of a
conveyance under this section.
SECTION 5. Subchapter B, Chapter 370, Transportation Code,
is amended by adding Section 370.0311 to read as follows:
Sec. 370.0311. CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES. (a) This section
applies to a municipality:
(1) with a population of 5,000 or less; and
(2) in which a ferry system that is a part of the state
highway system is located.
(b) A municipality has the same authority as a county under
this chapter to create and participate in an authority.
(c) A municipality that creates or participates in an
authority has the same powers and duties as a county that creates or
participates in an authority under this chapter.
(d) The governing body of a municipality that creates or
participates in an authority has the same powers and duties as a
commissioners court of a county that creates or participates in an
authority under this chapter.
(e) An elected member of the governing body of a
municipality that creates or participates in an authority has the
same powers and duties as a commissioner of a county that creates or
participates in an authority under this chapter.
SECTION 6. Subsection (h), Section 370.037, Transportation
Code, is amended to read as follows:
(h) An authority may permanently [ temporarily] charge a
toll for use of a ferry transferred under this section [ to pay the
costs necessary for an expansion of the ferry. An authority may
permanently charge a toll for use of ferry facilities that are an
expansion of the ferry transferred under this section]. An
authority may permanently charge a fee or toll for priority use of
ferry facilities under Section 370.193.
SECTION 7. Subchapter E, Chapter 370, Transportation Code,
is amended by adding Section 370.193 to read as follows:
Sec. 370.193. PRIORITY BOARDING OF FERRY. An authority may
establish a system under which an owner of a motor vehicle may pay
an additional fee or toll that entitles the vehicle to have priority
in boarding a ferry operated by the authority.
SECTION 8. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2005.
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1131 passed the Senate on
April 14, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
the Senate concurred in House amendments on May 28, 2005, by the
following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
Secretary of the Senate
I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1131 passed the House, with
amendments, on May 20, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 136,
Nays 0, one present not voting.
Chief Clerk of the House