5531.14 Establishment and collection of tolls.

(A) To the extent permitted by federal law, the director of transportation may fix, revise, charge, and collect user fees for each toll project, and contract with any person or governmental agency desiring the use of any part thereof, including the right-of-way adjoining the paved portion, for placing thereon telephone, electric light, or power lines, service facilities, or for any other purpose, and fix the terms, conditions, rents, and rates of charge for such use; provided, that no user fee, charge, or rental may be made for placing in, on, along, over, or under the toll project, equipment or public utility facilities that are necessary to serve service facilities or to interconnect any public utility facilities.

A toll project operator shall display signs that identify the applicable user fees, including fees for motor vehicles that do not have an active, functioning electronic toll collection device registered for and in use in the vehicle. The toll project operator shall erect or otherwise display signs in advance of the toll project at locations that are of distances that are sufficient to notify motor vehicle operators of the opportunity to exit the street or highway on which they are traveling before the street or highway becomes, becomes part of, or otherwise leads to the toll project and for the use of which user fees apply.

(B) In accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, the director shall establish a plan, schedule, or system of user fees or charges and shall declare the purpose, amount, and duration of the user fees or charges. Any proposal to implement a user fee or other charge under this section may include a plan, schedule, or system of tolls or charges that is subject to adjustment by the director within and in accordance with that plan, schedule, or system. As part of the plan, schedule, or system, the director shall develop a written process for setting user fee rates. In developing the process, the director shall seek and consider public comment. In doing so, the director shall hold at least one public hearing within fifty miles of the location of the toll project for which the written process is developed.

The director, in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, also may adopt such additional rules as the director determines necessary for the establishment, collection, and enforcement of user fees and administrative fees, including the purpose, amount, and duration of the fees.

(C) One or more user fees, or a portion of any user fees, may be pledged to the repayment of obligations issued for the purpose of financing the toll project and shall be a pledged receipt for those obligations to the extent pledged in the proceedings authorizing such obligations. One or more user fees, or a portion of any user fees, also may be pledged to the repayment of obligations under any public-private agreement or related financing as provided in sections 5501.70 to 5501.83 of the Revised Code.

(D) User fees shall be so fixed and adjusted by the director as to provide funds at least sufficient with other revenues of the Ohio transportation system, if any, to pay all of the following:

(1) Any debt service charges on obligations issued to pay costs of one or more toll projects as such charges become due and payable, taking into account any other amounts available for such purposes;

(2) Any obligations under any public-private agreement entered into in connection with a toll project as such amounts become due and payable;

(3) The cost of maintaining, improving, repairing, constructing, financing and operating toll projects within the interstate system or the state highway system and its different parts and sections, and to create and maintain any reserves for those purposes.

(E) Except as provided in division (F) of this section, money received from user fees, other than those received pursuant to a public-private agreement, which shall be deposited in accordance with such agreement and shall be used for the exclusive benefit of such toll project, shall be deposited to the credit of the Ohio toll fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury. The treasurer of state may establish separate subaccounts within the Ohio toll fund as determined to be necessary or convenient to pay costs of constructing, improving, repairing, maintaining, administering, and operating toll projects within the state highway system. Any remaining money deposited into the Ohio toll fund shall be used at the discretion of the director to support construction, improvement, repair, maintenance, administration, and operation costs for approved toll projects and highway projects within one mile of a toll project. All investment earnings of the fund shall be credited to the fund.

(F) The issuing authority of obligations issued for the purpose of financing the toll project, by the fifteenth day of July of each fiscal year, shall certify or cause to be certified to the department of transportation and the office of budget and management the total amount of money required during the current fiscal year to meet in full all debt service charges and otherwise comply with the requirements of any applicable bond proceedings and all obligations under any public-private agreement relating to a toll project as provided in sections 5501.70 to 5501.83 of the Revised Code. The issuing authority shall make or cause to be made supplemental certifications to the department and the office of budget and management for each bond service payment date and at such other times during each fiscal year as may be provided in the applicable bond proceeding or public-private agreement or required by that department or office. Bond service charges, costs of credit enhancement facilities, other financing costs, and any other amounts required under the applicable bond proceedings and all amounts required under any applicable public-private agreement shall be set forth separately in each certification. Money received from user fees and other pledged receipts shall be deposited to the credit of the bond service fund at such times and in such amounts as are necessary to satisfy all those payment requirements of the applicable bond proceedings or to the credit of any fund established for such purpose under any public-private agreement. At such time that bond service charges on all outstanding bonds issued in connection with any toll project and the interest on the bonds have been paid or a sufficient amount for the payment of all such bonds and the interest on the bonds to the maturity of the bonds has been set aside in trust for the benefit of the bondholders, as provided in the applicable bond proceedings, and at such time as all amounts due and to become due pursuant to a public-private agreement, which are payable from user fees, have been paid, the project shall be operated, improved, and maintained by the department of transportation as a part of the state highway system and shall be free of user fees.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 533, §1, eff. 9/11/2014.

Added by 128th General Assemblych.7, HB 2, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2009.