CHAPTER 274 - STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZATION TO CONSTRUCT, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN CROSSING OF DELAWARE RIVER

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 166 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT TO CONSTRUCT, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN A CROSSING OVER THE DELAWARE RIVER, AND APPROPRIATING CERTAIN MONIES THEREFOR.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. To confirm and enlarge the powers of the State Highway Department, the State Highway Department is hereby authorized and empowered to construct, operate and maintain a crossing, as hereinafter defined, across the Delaware River, and to construct, operate and maintain additions thereto and improvements thereof.

Section 2. It shall be the duty of the said Department to acquire full information to enable it to construct, maintain and operate the crossing referred to in this Act. It shall have access to any maps, surveys, data or information which any State agency may possess, deemed useful in the construction of the said crossing and approaches and approach highways; and the Department is empowered to acquire for such consideration and upon such terms as it may determine, all data of an engineering or other character, plans, specifications, surveys, borings or other information material to the subject and deemed by the Department to be of value to it.

Section 3. Said Department shall have power and authority to make and enter into all contracts and agreements with any person, firm, corporation, public body or authority of this or any other State which it may consider necessary to or advisable for the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Act; it may establish rules and regulations covering advertising for proposals for the construction of said crossing or for repairs or additions thereto or improvements thereof and may establish standards of eligibility for prospective bidders; it may receive sealed proposals for the construction of said crossing, or such repairs or additions or improvements, or for the materials required for such construction, repairs, additions or improvements, reserving the right to reject any or all proposals, said proposals to be publicly opened at the time specified in the advertisement. The contract or contracts for such work or for the materials and supplies required therefor shall be awarded by the Department to the lowest responsible bidder, unless in the opinion of said Department the interests of the State will be better served by awarding the contract to some other bidder. The successful bidder shall promptly execute a formal contract, to be approved as to its form, terms and conditions by said Department, and shall also furnish a bond in accordance with the provisions of 3119. Sec. 19, Chapter 77 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, and all such provisions, as far as applicable, are hereby incorporated herein by reference and all of the provisions thereof applicable to bonds furnished thereunder shall be likewise applicable to bonds furnished hereunder. But in the event, after advertisement referred to herein, the Department is unable to secure a satisfactory proposal for the construction of the crossing, or of such repairs, additions or improvements, it may proceed with such construction, repairs, additions or improvements with forces employed by it for the purpose. The Department may employ engineering, architectural and construction experts and inspectors and attorneys and such other experts and employees as may be necessary in its judgment for any of the purposes herein stated, and fix their compensation, All expenses incurred by the Department shall be charged by the Department to the project and the Department shall keep proper records and accounts showing each amount so charged. The amount so charged shall be paid by the Department from the funds to be supplied for the purposes of this Act or from the funds herein appropriated. Any of the monies herein appropriated for the temporary use of the Department prior to the furnishing of funds for the purpose of carrying out the terms of this Act which may be used by the Department shall be repaid by the Department to the State treasury from the funds so to be supplied. No liability or obligation shall be incurred by the Department hereunder beyond the amount of money which shall have been previously appropriated by the General Assembly or beyond the amount of the funds to be otherwise supplied for the purpose of carrying out the purposes of this Act. The Department shall, during the month of January in each year, make a report to the Governor, setting forth all of the facts necessary and pertinent to the performance by the Department of its duties under this Act in respect of the construction, operation and maintenance of said crossing. The accounts of the Department in connection with the construction, maintenance and operation of said crossing shall be maintained separate and apart from the other accounts of the Department and shall be audited annually by the State Auditor.

Section 4. The Department is hereby authorized to purchase within this State, and within the State of New Jersey, if permitted so to do by the laws of that State, solely from funds to be provided for the purposes of this Act, such lands, sand, earth, gravel, stone, buildings, structures, rights-of-way, franchises, easements and other interest in lands, including lands under water and riparian rights of any person, co-partnership, association, railroad or other corporation or other municipality or political subdivision deemed by the Department to be necessary for the construction, maintenance or operation of such crossing and all approaches (including approach highways which, in the judgment of the Department, it may be necessary to construct or cause to be constructed to provide suitable and adequate connection with existing improved highways) upon such terms and at such prices as may be considered by it to be reasonable and can be agreed upon between it and the owner thereof, and to take title thereto in the name of The State of Delaware, or, if such property so purchased be located in the State of New Jersey, to take title thereto in the name of the Department if permitted by the laws of the State of New Jersey so to do or, in the discretion of the Department, to take such title in the name of an individual or a corporation as Trustee for the Department. Whenever a price cannot be agreed upon or whenever the owner is legally incapacitated or is absent or is unable to convey valid title or is unknown, the Department is hereby authorized and empowered to acquire by condemnation any of the above mentioned properties located within the State of Delaware, so deemed by the Department to be necessary as aforesaid for the purposes of the Department and to that end the provisions of 5730. Sec. 11 of Chapter 166 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, are hereby made applicable to any such condemnation. Whenever valid title to any of the above mentioned properties which are located in the State of New Jersey cannot be acquired by the Department in its own name or in that of its Trustee or nominee by amicable agreement with the owner or owners and the Highway Commissioner of the State of New Jersey is willing to condemn for the use of and to become a part of the highway system of the State of New Jersey any such property deemed by the Department necessary for constructing, maintaining or operating that portion of the crossing within the State of New Jersey and the Eastern terminus and the approaches thereto, if reimbursed by the Department for the condemnation money or damages awarded in such condemnation and expenses thereof, the Department is authorized and empowered to enter into an agreement of reimbursement with the Highway Commissioner of the State of New Jersey for such condemnation money or damages and expenses and to secure the same by a deposit of cash or otherwise and is further authorized to reimburse from the funds to be supplied for the purpose of this Act the Highway Commissioner of the State of New Jersey or the State of New Jersey or other proper Department or Agency thereof for all condemnation money or damages and costs legally awarded or incurred in such condemnation. When such property is so acquired by the Highway Commissioner of the State of New Jersey as a part of the highway system of that State, the Department is authorized to construct, maintain and operate thereon or thereunder from the funds to be supplied for the purpose of this Act any necessary part of said crossing or the Eastern approach thereto as fully as though title thereto had been acquired by the Department.

Section 5. The State of Delaware hereby consents to the use by the Department, in any manner whatsoever in the performance of its duties hereunder, of all lands lying under the waters of the Delaware River which are within the State and are deemed by the Department to be necessary for the construction and operation of the above mentioned crossing and the approaches and appurtenances thereto.

Section 6. The Department is hereby authorized to establish regulations respecting the use of said crossing and to contract with any person, partnership, association or corporation desiring the use of said crossing, its approaches and appurtenances, or any part thereof, including the approach highways, if any, for placing therein or thereon gas or oil pipelines, telephone, telegraph and electric wires or cables, or for any other purpose, and to fix the terms, conditions and rates of charge for such use. The violation of any regulation established by the Department in respect of the use of said crossing, including regulations established by the Department regulating traffic over said crossing and its approaches or approach highways, shall be deemed to be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a .fine of not in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for each such offense.

Section 7. It shall be the duty of said Department to procure and keep in force adequate insurance upon said crossing, including adequate use and occupancy insurance as well as insurance to defray the cost of removing obstacles from the Delaware River in the event of a collapse or other injury to said crossing.

Section 8. The Department is hereby authorized and empowered to employ a General Manager for the purpose of supervising the operation of said crossing and to appoint such number of Guards and Toll Keepers as may be deemed advisable by it and such officers are hereby given powers of a Constable in the performance of their duties.

Section 9. It shall be the duty of the Department to procure and keep in force at all times a fidelity bond or bonds issued by a Bonding Company qualified to do business in this State, to protect the Department against loss arising from the fraudulent or dishonest conduct of any of its Managers or by any of its ill employees with respect to funds or property of the Department or of the State within the control of the Department and the Department is hereby authorized to pay the costs of such bond or bonds out of any funds in its possession as a part of the cost of the construction, maintenance or operation of said crossing.

Section 10. So long as any bonds which may be issued in connection with the financing of the construction of said crossing shall remain outstanding, no bridge or tunnel over or under the Delaware River for the use of the traveling public or for the transportation of goods or other property, having a terminus in the State of Delaware within the distance of ten (10) miles North along the shore of the Delaware River and twenty (20) miles South along such shore from the Delaware terminus of the crossing constructed under the provisions of this Act, shall hereafter be constructed and operated by the State or by any County, municipal corporation or political subdivision of the State, or by any agency or instrumentality of any thereof, or by any public body or authority not created by an Act of Congress of the United States, or by any person, co-partnership, association or corporation not created by or acting under the authority of an Act of Congress of the United States.

In order to assure the financing of said crossing and to protect the revenues thereof, the said Department is hereby directed to acquire by purchase or, if unable so to do by reason of inability to agree with the owner or owners thereof, by condemnation, so far as practicable, in the manner herein authorized, and to maintain and operate, if advisable, any ferry or ferries in operation across the Delaware River to a point or points in Delaware within a distance of ten (10) miles North along the shore of the Delaware River and twenty (20) miles South along such shore from the Delaware terminus of the crossing constructed or to be constructed under the provisions of this Act, including such part of the real and personal property of the owner or owners thereof, used or usable in connection with the maintenance and operation of such ferry as in the judgment of the said Department shall be advisable.

The cost of any such ferry or ferries so acquired shall be deemed for the purpose of this Act to be a part of the cost of such crossing and may include the cost to the Department of the ferry boats, landings, slips, machinery and equipment used in the operation of the ferry and all property rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary for the operation thereof, or so much thereof as the Department may deem it necessary and practicable to acquire. Nothing herein contained shall require the Department to maintain or operate any ferry or ferries acquired under the provisions of this Act, but in the discretion of the Department any ferry or ferries so acquired, with the appurtenances and property therewith connected and belonging, may be sold or otherwise disposed of or may be abandoned or dismantled whenever in the judgment of the Department it may seem expedient so to do. The Department may fix such lawful rates of tolls for the use of such ferry or ferries as it may deem proper. All tolls collected for the use of such ferry or ferries and the proceeds of any sale or disposition of such ferry or ferries or property or appurtenances connected or appertaining thereto, shall be used to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the same when appropriate, or for the purpose of constructing, maintaining and operating said crossing, and any residue thereof shall be paid to the State Treasurer for the uses of the Sinking Fund to be established in connection with the financing of the cost of such crossing. No part of said tolls or the proceeds of any such sale or disposition shall revert to 1 he General Fund of the State treasury, but shall remain available to the Department for the purposes herein set out.

Section 11. The said crossing and all property acquired or used for the purposes thereof in the State of Delaware shall at all times be free from all taxation within the State of Delaware.

Section 12. It is recognized that the crossing and its operation are subject to the power of the Congress of the United States to regulate commerce among the several States.

Section 13. Definitions:--As used in this Act the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

(a) The word "Department" shall mean the State Highway Department established under Chapter 166 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, or if said Department shall be abolished, any Board, Commission or officer succeeding to the principal functions thereof or to whom the powers given by this Act to said Department shall be given by law.

(b) The word "owner" shall include all individuals, incorporated companies, co-partnerships, societies or associations having any title or interest in any property, rights, easements, or franchises authorized to be acquired by this Act.

(c) The word "crossing" shall be deemed to include a bridge or 'bridges over the Delaware River or a tube or tubes under said River, and all approaches thereto and approach highways and all other buildings or structures connected with any such bridge or tube, and all equipment essential to the operation thereof, and also all property rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient for the construction or operation thereof, and may include any elevated or depressed highways connecting any such bridge or tube with a State road.

(d) The word "project" shall include any such bridge or tube and all additions thereto and improvements thereof, the construction of which is authorized under the provisions of this Act.

(e) The terms "cost of crossing" or "cost of construction" shall embrace the cost of construction, the cost of all lands, properties, rights, easements, franchises, ferries and ferry equipment acquired, the cost of all machinery and equipment, financing charges, interest prior to and during the construction and for one year after such bridge or tube shall be opened for public use, cost of traffic estimates and of engineering data, engineering and legal expense, cost of plans, specifications, surveys, estimates of costs and of revenues, other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of the enterprise, administrative expense, insurance or bond premiums and such other expenses as may be necessary or incidental to the financing of such crossing, the construction thereof, the placing of the same in operation and the condemnation of property necessary for such construction and operation. Any obligation or expense heretofore or hereafter incurred by or on behalf of the Department or by any corporation, Board or Authority for traffic surveys, borings, preparation of plans and specifications and other engineering services which may be utilized by the Department in the construction of the crossing or incurred for legal expenses in connection with the authorization of the construction or financing of the crossing shall be regarded as a part of the cost of such crossing.

Section 14. The title to the crossing within the territorial limits of the State of Delaware, during its construction and upon its completion, shall at all times be in The State of Delaware; and the title to so much of the crossing and any approaches and appurtenances thereto which may be within the State of New Jersey shall at all times be either in the name of the Department or in the name of an individual or a corporation as Trustee for the Department or otherwise held as may be permitted by the laws of the State of New Jersey; but the construction, control, operation, maintenance, repair, improvement and enlargement of the crossing shall at all times be confided to the Department. The Department, in the name "State Highway Department", is hereby authorized to take and hold title to and make agreements for the use of any property in the State of New Jersey necessary for the purposes of said crossing and approaches thereto, if permitted so to do by the laws of the State of New Jersey and, for the purpose of taking and holding such title and making such agreements, the said Department is hereby constituted a body corporate and politic, with all the usual powers thereof for the purposes last aforesaid only.

Section 15. The powers herein conferred upon the Department shall be deemed to be continuing powers and may be exercised from time to time and shall not be deemed to be exhausted by any particular exercise thereof.

Section 16. All of the powers conferred upon the State Highway Department by Chapter 166 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, are hereby made applicable to the said Department in the performance of its duties hereunder in so far as the same may be appropriate and consistent with the provisions hereof.

Section 17. The provisions of this Act are severable and if any of its provisions shall be held to be unconstitutional by any Court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such Court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.

Section 18. All Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.

Section 19. Said Department shall not expend any monies in excess of the amount herein appropriated for the performance of any of the duties or powers conferred upon it by this Act unless and until the General Assembly shall make provision for the financing of the cost of construction of said crossing.

Section 20. The sum of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) is hereby appropriated out of any funds available for the purposes of this Act.

Approved April 18, 1945.