306.35 Regional transit authority - powers and duties.

Upon the creation of a regional transit authority as provided by section 306.32 of the Revised Code, and upon the qualifying of its board of trustees and the election of a president and a vice-president, the authority shall exercise in its own name all the rights, powers, and duties vested in and conferred upon it by sections 306.30 to 306.53 of the Revised Code. Subject to any reservations, limitations, and qualifications that are set forth in those sections, the regional transit authority:

(A) May sue or be sued in its corporate name;

(B) May make contracts in the exercise of the rights, powers, and duties conferred upon it;

(C) May adopt and at will alter a seal and use such seal by causing it to be impressed, affixed, reproduced, or otherwise used, but failure to affix the seal shall not affect the validity of any instrument;

(D)

(1) May adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws for the administration of its affairs and rules for the control of the administration and operation of transit facilities under its jurisdiction, and for the exercise of all of its rights of ownership in those transit facilities;

(2) The regional transit authority also may adopt bylaws and rules for the following purposes:

(a) To prohibit selling, giving away, or using any beer or intoxicating liquor on transit vehicles or transit property;

(b) For the preservation of good order within or on transit vehicles or transit property;

(c) To provide for the protection and preservation of all property and life within or on transit vehicles or transit property;

(d) To regulate and enforce the collection of fares.

(3) Before a bylaw or rule adopted under division (D)(2) of this section takes effect, the regional transit authority shall provide for a notice of its adoption to be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the territorial boundaries of the regional transit authority, or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code.

(4) No person shall violate any bylaw or rule of a regional transit authority adopted under division (D)(2) of this section.

(E) May fix, alter, and collect fares, rates, and rentals and other charges for the use of transit facilities under its jurisdiction to be determined exclusively by it for the purpose of providing for the payment of the expenses of the regional transit authority, the acquisition, construction, improvement, extension, repair, maintenance, and operation of transit facilities under its jurisdiction, the payment of principal and interest on its obligations, and to fulfill the terms of any agreements made with purchasers or holders of any such obligations, or with any person or political subdivision;

(F) Shall have jurisdiction, control, possession, and supervision of all property, rights, easements, licenses, moneys, contracts, accounts, liens, books, records, maps, or other property rights and interests conveyed, delivered, transferred, or assigned to it;

(G)

(1) Except as provided in division (G)(2) of this section, may acquire, construct, improve, extend, repair, lease, operate, maintain, or manage transit facilities within or without its territorial boundaries, considered necessary to accomplish the purposes of its organization and make charges for the use of transit facilities .

(2) Beginning on July 1, 2011, a regional transit authority shall not extend its service or facilities into a political subdivision outside the territorial boundaries of the authority without giving prior notice to the legislative authority of the political subdivision. The legislative authority shall have thirty days after receiving the notice to comment on the proposal.

(H) May levy and collect taxes as provided in sections 306.40 and 306.49 of the Revised Code;

(I) May issue bonds secured by its general credit as provided in section 306.40 of the Revised Code;

(J) May hold, encumber, control, acquire by donation, by purchase for cash or by installment payments, by lease-purchase agreement, by lease with option to purchase, or by condemnation, and may construct, own, lease as lessee or lessor, use, and sell, real and personal property, or any interest or right in real and personal property, within or without its territorial boundaries, for the location or protection of transit facilities and improvements and access to transit facilities and improvements, the relocation of buildings, structures, and improvements situated on lands acquired by the regional transit authority, or for any other necessary purpose, or for obtaining or storing materials to be used in constructing, maintaining, and improving transit facilities under its jurisdiction;

(K) May exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire property or any interest in property, within or without its territorial boundaries, that is necessary or proper for the construction or efficient operation of any transit facility or access to any transit facility under its jurisdiction in accordance with section 306.36 of the Revised Code;

(L) May provide by agreement with any county, including the counties within its territorial boundaries, or any municipal corporation or any combination of counties or municipal corporations for the making of necessary surveys, appraisals, and examinations preliminary to the acquisition or construction of any transit facility and the amount of the expense for the surveys, appraisals, and examinations to be paid by each such county or municipal corporation;

(M) May provide by agreement with any county, including the counties within its territorial boundaries, or any municipal corporation or any combination of those counties or municipal corporations for the acquisition, construction, improvement, extension, maintenance, or operation of any transit facility owned or to be owned and operated by it or owned or to be owned and operated by any such county or municipal corporation and the terms on which it shall be acquired, leased, constructed, maintained, or operated, and the amount of the cost and expense of the acquisition, lease, construction, maintenance, or operation to be paid by each such county or municipal corporation;

(N) May issue revenue bonds for the purpose of acquiring, replacing, improving, extending, enlarging, or constructing any facility or permanent improvement that it is authorized to acquire, replace, improve, extend, enlarge, or construct, including all costs in connection with and incidental to the acquisition, replacement, improvement, extension, enlargement, or construction, and their financing, as provided by section 306.37 of the Revised Code;

(O) May enter into and supervise franchise agreements for the operation of a transit system;

(P) May accept the assignment of and supervise an existing franchise agreement for the operation of a transit system;

(Q) May exercise a right to purchase a transit system in accordance with the acquisition terms of an existing franchise agreement; and in connection with the purchase the regional transit authority may issue revenue bonds as provided by section 306.37 of the Revised Code or issue bonds secured by its general credit as provided in section 306.40 of the Revised Code;

(R) May apply for and accept grants or loans from the United States, the state, or any other public body for the purpose of providing for the development or improvement of transit facilities, mass transportation facilities, equipment, techniques, methods, or services, and grants or loans needed to exercise a right to purchase a transit system pursuant to agreement with the owner of those transit facilities, or for providing lawful financial assistance to existing transit systems; and may provide any consideration that may be required in order to obtain those grants or loans from the United States, the state, or other public body, either of which grants or loans may be evidenced by the issuance of revenue bonds as provided by section 306.37 of the Revised Code or general obligation bonds as provided by section 306.40 of the Revised Code;

(S) May employ and fix the compensation of consulting engineers, superintendents, managers, and such other engineering, construction, accounting and financial experts, attorneys, and other employees and agents necessary for the accomplishment of its purposes;

(T) May procure insurance against loss to it by reason of damages to its properties resulting from fire, theft, accident, or other casualties or by reason of its liability for any damages to persons or property occurring in the construction or operation of transit facilities under its jurisdiction or the conduct of its activities;

(U) May maintain funds that it considers necessary for the efficient performance of its duties;

(V) May direct its agents or employees, when properly identified in writing, after at least five days' written notice, to enter upon lands within or without its territorial boundaries in order to make surveys and examinations preliminary to the location and construction of transit facilities, without liability to it or its agents or employees except for actual damage done;

(W) On its own motion, may request the appropriate zoning board, as defined in section 4563.03 of the Revised Code, to establish and enforce zoning regulations pertaining to any transit facility under its jurisdiction in the manner prescribed by sections 4563.01 to 4563.21 of the Revised Code;

(X) If it acquires any existing transit system, shall assume all the employer's obligations under any existing labor contract between the employees and management of the system. If the board acquires, constructs, controls, or operates any such facilities, it shall negotiate arrangements to protect the interests of employees affected by the acquisition, construction, control, or operation. The arrangements shall include, but are not limited to:

(1) The preservation of rights, privileges, and benefits under existing collective bargaining agreements or otherwise, the preservation of rights and benefits under any existing pension plans covering prior service, and continued participation in social security in addition to participation in the public employees retirement system as required in Chapter 145. of the Revised Code;

(2) The continuation of collective bargaining rights;

(3) The protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions with respect to their employment;

(4) Assurances of employment to employees of those transit systems and priority reemployment of employees terminated or laid off;

(5) Paid training or retraining programs;

(6) Signed written labor agreements.

The arrangements may include provisions for the submission of labor disputes to final and binding arbitration.

(Y) May provide for and maintain security operations, including a transit police department, subject to section 306.352 of the Revised Code. Regional transit authority police officers shall have the power and duty to act as peace officers within transit facilities owned, operated, or leased by the transit authority to protect the transit authority's property and the person and property of passengers, to preserve the peace, and to enforce all laws of the state and ordinances and regulations of political subdivisions in which the transit authority operates. Regional transit authority police officers also shall have the power and duty to act as peace officers when they render emergency assistance outside their jurisdiction to any other peace officer who is not a regional transit authority police officer and who has arrest authority under section 2935.03 of the Revised Code. Regional transit authority police officers may render emergency assistance if there is a threat of imminent physical danger to the peace officer, a threat of physical harm to another person, or any other serious emergency situation and if either the peace officer who is assisted requests emergency assistance or it appears that the peace officer who is assisted is unable to request emergency assistance and the circumstances observed by the regional transit authority police officer reasonably indicate that emergency assistance is appropriate.

Before exercising powers of arrest and the other powers and duties of a peace officer, each regional transit authority police officer shall take an oath and give bond to the state in a sum that the board of trustees prescribes for the proper performance of the officer's duties.

Persons employed as regional transit authority police officers shall complete training for the position to which they have been appointed as required by the Ohio peace officer training commission as authorized in section 109.77 of the Revised Code, or be otherwise qualified. The cost of the training shall be provided by the regional transit authority.

(Z) May procure a policy or policies insuring members of its board of trustees against liability on account of damages or injury to persons and property resulting from any act or omission of a member in the member's official capacity as a member of the board or resulting solely out of the member's membership on the board;

(AA) May enter into any agreement for the sale and leaseback or lease and leaseback of transit facilities, which agreement may contain all necessary covenants for the security and protection of any lessor or the regional transit authority including, but not limited to, indemnification of the lessor against the loss of anticipated tax benefits arising from acts, omissions, or misrepresentations of the regional transit authority. In connection with that transaction, the regional transit authority may contract for insurance and letters of credit and pay any premiums or other charges for the insurance and letters of credit. The fiscal officer shall not be required to furnish any certificate under section 5705.41 of the Revised Code in connection with the execution of any such agreement.

(BB) In regard to any contract entered into on or after March 19, 1993, for the rendering of services or the supplying of materials or for the construction, demolition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction of transit facilities in which a bond is required for the faithful performance of the contract, may permit the person awarded the contract to utilize a letter of credit issued by a bank or other financial institution in lieu of the bond;

(CC) May enter into agreements with municipal corporations located within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional transit authority permitting regional transit authority police officers employed under division (Y) of this section to exercise full arrest powers, as provided in section 2935.03 of the Revised Code, for the purpose of preserving the peace and enforcing all laws of the state and ordinances and regulations of the municipal corporation within the areas that may be agreed to by the regional transit authority and the municipal corporation.

Cite as R.C. § 306.35

History. Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 6/30/2011.

Effective Date: 09-26-2003