Demonstration projects — Terms of agreements — Public participation.
(1) The secretary or a designee shall consult with legal, financial, and other experts within and outside state government in the negotiation and development of the agreements.
(2) Agreements may provide for private ownership of the projects during the construction period. After completion and final acceptance of each project or discrete segment thereof, the agreement may provide for state ownership of the transportation systems and facilities and lease to the private entity unless the state elects to provide for ownership of the facility by the private entity during the term of the agreement.
The state may lease each of the demonstration projects, or applicable project segments, to the private entities for operating purposes for up to fifty years.
(3) The department may exercise any power possessed by it to facilitate the development, construction, financing operation, and maintenance of transportation projects under this section. Agreements for maintenance services entered into under this section shall provide for full reimbursement for services rendered by the department or other state agencies. Agreements for police services for projects, involving state highway routes, developed under agreements shall be entered into with the Washington state patrol. The agreement for police services shall provide that the state patrol will be reimbursed for costs on a comparable basis with the costs incurred for comparable service on other state highway routes. The department may provide services for which it is reimbursed, including but not limited to preliminary planning, environmental certification, and preliminary design of the demonstration projects.
(4) The plans and specifications for each project constructed under this section shall comply with the department's standards for state projects. A facility constructed by and leased to a private entity is deemed to be a part of the state highway system for purposes of identification, maintenance, and enforcement of traffic laws and for the purposes of applicable sections of this title. Upon reversion of the facility to the state, the project must meet all applicable state standards. Agreements shall address responsibility for reconstruction or renovations that are required in order for a facility to meet all applicable state standards upon reversion of the facility to the state.
(5) For the purpose of facilitating these projects and to assist the private entity in the financing, development, construction, and operation of the transportation systems and facilities, the agreements may include provisions for the department to exercise its authority, including the lease of facilities, rights-of-way, and airspace, exercise of the power of eminent domain, granting of development rights and opportunities, granting of necessary easements and rights of access, issuance of permits and other authorizations, protection from competition, remedies in the event of default of either of the parties, granting of contractual and real property rights, liability during construction and the term of the lease, authority to negotiate acquisition of rights-of-way in excess of appraised value, and any other provision deemed necessary by the secretary.
(6) The agreements entered into under this section may include provisions authorizing the state to grant necessary easements and lease to a private entity existing rights-of-way or rights-of-way subsequently acquired with public or private financing. The agreements may also include provisions to lease to the entity airspace above or below the right-of-way associated or to be associated with the private entity's transportation facility. In consideration for the reversion rights in these privately constructed facilities, the department may negotiate a charge for the lease of airspace rights during the term of the agreement for a period not to exceed fifty years. If, after the expiration of this period, the department continues to lease these airspace rights to the private entity, it shall do so only at fair market value. The agreement may also provide the private entity the right of first refusal to undertake projects utilizing airspace owned by the state in the vicinity of the public-private project.
(7) Agreements under this section may include any contractual provision that is necessary to protect the project revenues required to repay the costs incurred to study, plan, design, finance, acquire, build, install, operate, enforce laws, and maintain toll highways, bridges, and tunnels and which will not unreasonably inhibit or prohibit the development of additional public transportation systems and facilities. Agreements under this section must secure and maintain liability insurance coverage in amounts appropriate to protect the project's viability and may address state indemnification of the private entity for design and construction liability where the state has approved relevant design and construction plans.
(8) Agreements entered into under this section shall include a process that provides for public involvement in decision making with respect to the development of the projects.
(9)(a) In carrying out the public involvement process required in subsection (8) of this section, the private entity shall proactively seek public participation through a process appropriate to the characteristics of the project that assesses and demonstrates public support among: Users of the project, residents of communities in the vicinity of the project, and residents of communities impacted by the project.
(b) The private entity shall conduct a comprehensive public involvement process that provides, periodically throughout the development and implementation of the project, users and residents of communities in the affected project area an opportunity to comment upon key issues regarding the project including, but not limited to: (i) Alternative sizes and scopes; (ii) design; (iii) environmental assessment; (iv) right-of-way and access plans; (v) traffic impacts; (vi) tolling or user fee strategies and tolling or user fee ranges; (vii) project cost; (viii) construction impacts; (ix) facility operation; and (x) any other salient characteristics.
(c) If the affected project area has not been defined, the private entity shall define the affected project area by conducting, at a minimum: (i) A comparison of the estimated percentage of residents of communities in the vicinity of the project and in other communities impacted by the project who could be subject to tolls or user fees and the estimated percentage of other users and transient traffic that could be subject to tolls or user fees; (ii) an analysis of the anticipated traffic diversion patterns; (iii) an analysis of the potential economic impact resulting from proposed toll rates or user fee rates imposed on residents, commercial traffic, and commercial entities in communities in the vicinity of and impacted by the project; (iv) an analysis of the economic impact of tolls or user fees on the price of goods and services generally; and (v) an analysis of the relationship of the project to state transportation needs and benefits.
The agreement may require an advisory vote by users of and residents in the affected project area.
(d) In seeking public participation, the private entity shall establish a local involvement committee or committees comprised of residents of the affected project area, individuals who represent cities and counties in the affected project area, organizations formed to support or oppose the project, if such organizations exist, and users of the project. The private entity shall, at a minimum, establish a committee as required under the specifications of RCW 47.46.030(6)(b) (ii) and (iii) and appointments to such committee shall be made no later than thirty days after the project area is defined.
(e) Local involvement committees shall act in an advisory capacity to the department and the private entity on all issues related to the development and implementation of the public involvement process established under this section.
(f) The department and the private entity shall provide the local involvement committees with progress reports on the status of the public involvement process including the results of an advisory vote, if any occurs.
(10) Nothing in this chapter limits the right of the secretary and his or her agents to render such advice and to make such recommendations as they deem to be in the best interests of the state and the public.
[2005 c 319 § 133; 2002 c 114 § 16; 2001 c 64 § 14; 1995 2nd sp.s. c 19 § 3; 1993 c 370 § 4.]
| Findings--Intent--Part headings--Effective dates -- 2005 c 319: See notes following RCW 43.17.020.|
Finding -- Intent -- 2002 c 114: See RCW 47.46.011.
Captions not law -- 2002 c 114: See note following RCW 47.46.011.
Effective date -- 1995 2nd sp.s. c 19: See note following RCW 47.46.010.