5531.03 Acceptance of federal funds for elimination of grade crossings.

The director of transportation may accept any allotment of funds by the United States or any department or agency thereof, as appropriated under the "emergency relief appropriation act of 1935," 49 Stat. 115, or by the act of congress approved July 11, 1916, entitled "An act to provide that the United States shall aid the states in the construction of rural post roads and for other purposes," known as the "federal road aid act of 1916," as amended by the act of congress approved June 16, 1936, and any subsequent legislation either supplementing or amending either of such acts, or otherwise providing funds for the same or similar purposes, in accordance with the rules and regulations issued thereunder, for or in connection with the separation of grades of a public highway and a railroad by the construction of a bridge, underpass, or highway, or railroad relocation, or for the alteration, relocation, reconstruction, change, or repair of any bridge or underpass carrying a public highway over or under a railroad, or for the protection of grade crossings. If any allotment of funds is made by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the purposes stated, the division of any expense, in connection with such improvement, between the state or any political subdivision thereof and the railroad involved, unless otherwise agreed upon, shall be in accordance with existing laws applying to municipal, county, or state highway grade separation projects, but the division of expense shall be limited to only that part of the expense of the improvement as remains after the application thereto of any funds accepted from the United States or any department or agency thereof.

To accomplish the improvements contemplated under the "emergency relief appropriation act of 1935," or the "federal road act of 1916," as amended, and any subsequent legislation supplementing or amending either of such acts, or under any other act of congress, the director, in all instances where it is necessary and expedient and the appropriate federal agency is in accord, may proceed with the separation of grades of any public highway or street and a railroad, or the alteration, relocation, reconstruction, change, or repair of any crossing of a public highway or street and railroad at which the grades are already separated. The procedure governing such improvements shall be in accordance with sections 5523.01 and 5523.19 and related sections of the Revised Code, as applicable to railroad crossings on the state highway system, except as provided in this section. On receipt of waiver of the notice of hearing provided for in section 5523.03 of the Revised Code from the affected railroad company, the director may dispense with a hearing under that section and issue an order declaring the grade separation improvement necessary and expedient. As a condition precedent to such a declaration in connection with a grade separation within a municipal corporation or on a county road not on the state highway system, the director must receive from the municipal corporation or county an ordinance or resolution, duly enacted by a majority of votes of the legislative authority of the municipal corporation or the board of county commissioners in which the improvement is located, consenting to the improvement and agreeing to assume the maintenance obligation imposed on that political subdivision in the case of a grade separation improvement constructed in co-operation with a railroad company under existing statutes.

The director may provide protection at grade crossings with federal funds, providing the appropriate federal agency is in accord, and upon application of a railroad company specifying the type of protection requested, accompanied by its agreement to maintain the protection at the grade crossing.

The legislative authority of a political subdivision, when approved by the director and when co-operating with the department of transportation, may follow the procedure available to the director in grade elimination projects as provided in Chapters 5501., 5503., 5511., 5513., 5515., 5516., 5517., 5519., 5521., 5523., 5525., 5527., 5528., 5529., 5531., 5533., and 5535. of the Revised Code, as further modified by this section, but no contracts shall be awarded for the construction of such an improvement until the director is satisfied that all needed property is available. For the purpose of expediting such improvements as are undertaken under this section, work may begin on such improvement immediately after the completion of the publication of notice of the intention to proceed with the improvement required in section 5523.11 of the Revised Code, except that the notice need not name any owners not of record or whose place of residence is unknown and cannot, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, be ascertained, or who are nonresidents of the state. Service of notice upon the owners of all property to be taken, and on owners of land abutting on any portion of the highway to be physically changed, or that will be vacated in the construction of the improvement, shall be completed in accordance with section 5523.11 of the Revised Code within one hundred twenty days after the publication of the notice. Any owners whose place of residence is unknown and cannot, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, be ascertained, or who are nonresidents of the state shall be notified by a further publication of a time for the presentation of their claims, which shall be not less than twenty days after the completion of publication. Such further publication shall be in a newspaper and for such time as is provided in section 5523.11 of the Revised Code. The requirements of the holding of an open meeting to explain the plans, as provided in section 5523.11 of the Revised Code, shall be optional with the director in connection with such an improvement.

The board or legislative authority of any municipal corporation may co-operate with the director in any of the improvements described in this section, adopting the appropriate procedure set forth in sections 5521.02 , 5521.07 , and 5523.15 and related sections of the Revised Code. The portion of the cost to be borne by the board or legislative authority of a municipal corporation may be paid from any available county or municipal funds.

Effective Date: 09-17-1996