This chapter may be cited as the 'State Rail Preservation Act'.
When used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings, respectively, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) DEPARTMENT. The Highway Department of the State of Alabama.
(2) PERSON. An individual, corporation, partnership or foreign or domestic association.
(3) RAIL PROPERTIES. Assets or rights, both real and personal, owned, leased or otherwise controlled by a railroad which are used or useful in providing rail transportation service.
(4) RAIL SERVICE. Both freight and passenger service.
The department is hereby authorized to exercise those powers necessary for the state to qualify for rail service continuation subsidies and for rail safety subsidies which are or may become available pursuant to the provisions and regulations of the Federal Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 and any subsequent federal legislation, rules or regulations, including, but not limited to, the authority:
(1) To establish a state plan for rail transportation services as part of an overall plan for all transportation services in the state;
(2) To administer and coordinate the state plan;
(3) To provide in the plan for the equitable distribution of federal rail service continuation subsidies;
(4) To promote, supervise and support safe, adequate and efficient rail service;
(5) To employ sufficient trained and qualified personnel for these purposes;
(6) To maintain adequate programs of investigation, research, promotion and development in connection with such purposes and to provide for public participation therein;
(7) To reduce transportation related energy utilization and pollution in compliance with state and federal regulations;
(8) To provide satisfactory assurances on behalf of the state that such financial control and fund accounting procedures will be adopted by the state as may be necessary to assure proper use of federal funds paid to the state as rail service continuation subsidies;
(9) To comply with the regulations of the Federal Department of Transportation affecting federal rail service continuation programs; and
(10) To do all things necessary to maximize federal assistance to the state upon the provisions of Section 5 of the Federal Department of Transportation Act.
(a) The department is hereby authorized to expend federal funds now available under the provisions of the Federal Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, any other funds that may become available pursuant to subsequent legislation or any funds appropriated by the legislature for the purposes outlined in Section 37-10-3.
(b) The department may also act as the agent of the state in cooperation with any local or regional transportation authority, local governmental units, any group of rail users or any persons and the federal government in any rail service continuation program.
(a) The department in performing its planning function is authorized to request any railroad to provide such data and information as are necessary for the planning process. The department shall make every effort to ensure that such requests are compatible with the information requested by similar agencies in other states and by the Federal Department of Transportation. Railroads operating within the state shall provide such information within 60 days of the date of the request.
(b) The department is hereby authorized to reimburse the railroads for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in gathering and compiling the data provided that it is determined by the department such funds are available and the costs are substantiated by the railroads.
(c) The department shall exercise all necessary caution to avoid disclosure of confidential information supplied under this section.
The department shall promulgate rules and regulations consistent with and for the purpose of adequately implementing the provisions of this chapter.
Any sums of money necessary to supplement available federal funds to provide for those activities enumerated under Section 37-10-3 are hereby appropriated. The appropriation is nonlapsing and shall be expended by the department for only those purposes included in this chapter.