CHAPTER 275 - STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZING BOND ISSUE TO DEFRAY COST OF CROSSING OF THE DELAWARE RIVER

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 166 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, TO AUTHORIZE AND EMPOWER THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT TO ISSUE REVENUE BONDS TO DEFRAY THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION OF A CROSSING OVER THE DELAWARE RIVER.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met, (three-fourths of all the members elected to each House concurring therein):

Section 1. Upon the enactment by the General Assembly of an Act authorizing the State Highway Department to construct a crossing across the Delaware River in the extension of the highway system of this State and upon the approval thereof, the Department is hereby authorized to provide by resolution at one time or from time to time for the issuance in the name of The State of Delaware of revenue bonds of the State, not to exceed in the aggregate principal amount the sum of Twenty-five Million Dollars ($25,000,000.00), for the purpose of paying all or any part of the costs of construction of said crossing as defined in the Act authorizing the construction thereof, or any additions thereto or improvements thereof. The principal and interest of such bonds shall be payable solely from the special fund herein provided for such payment and no part of the revenues of the said Department from other sources shall in any manner be expended for the purpose of defraying the costs of said crossing or any part thereof. The bonds of each issue shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates not exceeding four per centum per annum, payable semi-annually, shall mature at such time or times and may be made redeemable before maturity at such price or prices and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the Department prior to the issuance of the bonds. The principal and interest of such bonds may be made payable in any lawful medium. The Department shall determine the form of the bonds, including any interest coupons to be attached thereto, and shall fix the denomination or denominations of the bonds and the place or places of payment of principal and interest thereof which may be at any bank or trust company within or without the State. The bonds shall be signed by the Chairman of the Department and the great seal of the State, or a facsimile thereof, shall be affixed thereto and shall be attested by the Secretary of State, and any coupons attached thereto shall bear the facsimile signature of the Chairman of said Department. In case any officer whose signature or a facsimile thereof shall appear on any bonds or coupons shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature or facsimile shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes the same as if he had remained in office until such delivery. All revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act shall have, and are hereby declared to have, as between successive holders, all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the Negotiable Instruments Law of this State. Such bonds and the income therefrom shall be exempt from all taxation by the State of Delaware or by any political subdivision, agency or authority thereof. The bonds may be issued in coupon or in registered form or both as the Department may determine and provision may be made for the registration of any coupon bond as to principal alone and also as to both principal and interest, and for the reconversion of any bonds registered both as to principal and interest into coupon bonds. The Department may sell such bonds either at public or private sale in such manner and for such price as it may determine to be for the best interests of the State, but no such sale shall be made at a price so low as to require the payment of interest on money received therefor at more than four per centum per annum, computed with relation to the absolute maturity of the bonds in accordance with standard tables of bond values. The proceeds of such bonds shall be used solely for the payment of the cost of construction of the said crossing and its approaches and connections and additions thereto and improvements thereof, and shall be disbursed upon requests of the Chairman of the Department under such restrictions, if any, as the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or the trust indenture hereinafter mentioned may provide. The proceeds of such bonds shall at no time revert to the General Fund of the State Treasury but shall at all times remain available to the Department for the purposes herein set out. If the proceeds of such bonds, by error of estimates or otherwise, shall be less than the cost of the project, additional bends may in like manner be issued to provide the amount of such deficit; provided that the aggregate principal amount of such additional bonds, together with the principal amount of all bonds theretofore issued, shall not exceed the sum of Twenty-five Million Dollars ($25,000,000.00), and unless otherwise provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds or in the trust indenture, shall be deemed to be of the same issue and shall be entitled to payment from the same fund without preference or priority of the bonds first issued for the same purpose. If the proceeds of the bonds of any issue shall exceed the amount required for the purpose for which such bonds are issued, the surplus shall be paid into the fund hereinafter provided for the payment of principal and interest of such bonds. Prior to the preparation of definitive bonds, the Department may, under like restrictions, issue temporary bonds, with or without coupons, exchangeable for definitive bonds upon the issuance of the latter. The Department may also provide for the replacement of any bond which shall become mutilated or be destroyed or lost. Such revenue bonds may be issued without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things than those proceedings, conditions and things which are specified and required by this Act.

Such bonds are hereby made securities in which all State and municipal officers and administrative departments, boards, and commissions of the State, all banks, bankers, savings banks, trust companies, saving and loan associations, investment companies, and other persons carrying on a banking business, all insurance companies, insurance associations, and other persons carrying on an insurance business, and all administrators, executors, guardians, trustees, and other fiduciaries, and all other persons whatsoever who now or may hereafter be authorized to invest in bonds or other obligations of the State, may properly and legally invest any funds, including capital belonging to them or within their control; and such bonds are hereby made securities which may properly and legally be deposited with and received by any State, county or municipal officer or agency of the State for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds or other obligations of the State is now or may hereafter be authorized by law.

Section 2. Credit of State Not Pledged:--Revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act shall be payable exclusively from the funds hereinafter provided therefor from tolls and revenues. All such bonds shall contain a statement on their face that The State of Delaware is not obligated to pay the same or the interest thereon except from revenues of the project for which they are issued and that the faith and credit of the State are not pledged to the payment of the principal or interest of such bonds. The issuance of revenue bonds under the provisions of this Act shall not directly or indirectly or contingently obligate the State to levy or to pledge any form of taxation whatever therefor or to make any appropriation for their payment.

Section 3. Trust Indenture:--In the discretion of the Department, each and any issue of such revenue bonds may be secured by a trust indenture by and between the Department and a corporate trustee, which may be any trust company or bank having the powers of a trust company within or without the State. Such trust indenture may pledge or assign tolls and revenues to be received, but shall not convey or mortgage the crossing or any part thereof. Either the resolution providing for the issuance of revenue bonds or such trust indenture may contain such provisions specifying, defining, protecting and enforcing the rights and remedies of the bondholders as may be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law, including covenants setting forth the duties of the Department in relation to the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, operation, repair and insurance of the crossing, or additions thereto, and the custody, safeguarding and application of all moneys, and may also provide that the crossing shall be constructed and paid for under the supervision and approval of consulting engineers employed or designated by the Department and satisfactory to the original purchasers of the bonds issued therefor, and may also require that the security given by contractors and by any depository of the proceeds of the bonds or revenues or other moneys be satisfactory to such purchasers. It shall be lawful for any bank or trust company incorporated under the laws of this State to act as such depository and to furnish such indemnifying bonds or to pledge such securities as may be required by the Department. Such indenture may set forth the rights and remedies of the bondholders and of the trustee, and may restrict the individual right of action of bondholders as is customary in trust indentures securing bonds and debentures of corporations. In addition to the foregoing, such trust indenture may contain such other provisions as the Department may deem reasonable and proper for the security of bondholders. All expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of such trust indenture may be treated as a part of the cost of maintenance, operation and repairs of the crossing to which such indenture is related.

Section 4. Remedies of Bondholders and Trustees:--Any holder of revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act or any of the coupons attached thereto, and the trustee under the trust indenture, if any, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by resolution passed before the issuance of the bonds or by the trust indenture, may, either at law or in equity by suit, action, mandamus, or other proceedings protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of the United States or of the State of Delaware or granted hereunder or under such resolution or trust indenture, and may enforce and compel performance of all duties required by this Act, or by such resolution or trust indenture, to be performed by the Department, or any officer thereof, including the fixing, charging and collecting of tolls for the use of the crossing.

Such resolution or trust indenture may contain provisions under which any holder of such bonds or the trustee under such trust indenture shall be entitled to the appointment of a receiver in the event of a default, and any receiver so appointed shall have and be entitled to exercise all the rights and powers of the Department with respect to the crossing and all of the appropriate rights and powers of a receiver in equity.

Section 5. The Department is hereby authorized to make and enforce such rules and regulations and to establish, levy and collect (or to authorize by contract, franchise, lease or otherwise, the establishment, levy and collection of) such tolls, rents, rates and other charges in connection with the said crossing and any improvements or extensions thereof, as it may deem necessary, proper, desirable and reasonable; and the Department is hereby authorized and empowered to pledge such tolls, rates, rents and other revenues, or any part thereof, either presently received or to be received in the future, or both, as security for the repayment with interest of any moneys borrowed by it or advanced to it for any of the purposes of said crossing and as security for the satisfaction of any other obligation assumed by it in connection with the construction, extension, maintenance and repair of said crossing.

Such tolls, rents, rates and other charges shall be so fixed and adjusted as to provide a fund sufficient, which, with other revenues of said crossing, will pay (a) the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the said crossing, unless such cost shall be otherwise provided for, and (b) the bonds and the interest thereon as the same shall become due, subject, however, to any applicable law or regulation of the United States of America now in force or hereafter to be enacted or made. Such tolls and all other revenues derived from the crossing shall not revert to the General Fund of the State Treasury but shall at all times remain available to the Department for the purposes herein set out. Such tons, rates, rents or other charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any other Commission, Board, Bureau or Agency of the State. The tolls and all other revenues derived from the crossing, except such part thereof as may be required to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the crossing, and to provide such reserves therefor as may be provided for in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds or in the trust indenture, shall be set aside, at such regular intervals as may be provided in such resolution or such trust indenture, in a sinking fund which is hereby pledged to, and charged with the payment of (1) the interest upon such bonds as such interest shall fall due, (2) the principal of the bonds as the same shall fall due, (3) the necessary fiscal agency charges for paying principal and interest, and (4) any premium upon bonds retired by call or purchase as herein provided. The use and disposition of such sinking fund shall be subject to such regulations as may be provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds, or in the trust indenture, but, except as may otherwise be provided in such resolution or trust indenture, such sinking fund shall be a fund for the benefit of all bonds without distinction or priority of one over another. Subject to the provisions of the resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds or of the trust indenture, any moneys in such sinking fund in excess of an amount equal to one year's interest on all bonds then outstanding may be applied to the purchase or redemption of bonds. All bonds so purchased or redeemed shall forthwith be cancelled and shall not again be issued.

Section 6. Reduction or Cessation of Tolls:--When the revenue bonds issued for the crossing, or any addition or improvement thereto, and the interest thereon shall have been paid, or a sufficient amount shall have been provided for their payment and shall continue to be held for that purpose, the collection of tolls by the Department for the use of the crossing shall be reduced to such nominal amount as shall be sufficient, in the judgment of the Department, to provide only the funds required for maintaining, repairing and operating the crossing, or such collection shall cease entirely if such cessation is then in any way found practicable.

Section 7. Contributions:--The Department, in addition to the moneys which may be received from the sale of revenue bonds and from the collection of tolls and other revenues derived under the provisions of this Act, shall have authority to accept from any Federal agency or other public or private body, or from any other source, grants for or in aid of the construction, maintenance or operation of the crossing or the payment of the bonds, and to receive and accept contributions from any source of either money or property or other things of value, to be held, used, and applied only for the purposes for which such grants or contributions may be made.

Section 8. All Moneys to be Trust Funds:--All moneys received pursuant to the authority of this Act, whether as proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds, as grants or other contributions, or as tolls and revenues, shall be deemed to be trust funds, to be held and applied solely as provided in this Act and none thereof shall revert to the General Fund of the State Treasury. The Department shall, in the resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds or in the trust indenture, provide for the payment of the proceeds of the sale of the bonds and the tolls and revenues to be received to any officer, agency, bank or trust company, who shall act as Trustee of such funds, and hold and apply the same to the purposes hereof, subject to such regulations as this Act and such resolution or trust indenture may provide.

Section 9. The Department is hereby authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of revenue refunding bonds of the State for the purpose of refunding any revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act and then outstanding. The issuance of such revenue refunding bonds, the maturities and other details thereof, the rights of the holders thereof and the duties of the State and of the Department in respect to the same shall be governed by the foregoing provisions of this Act in so far as the same may be applicable; provided, however, that no revenue refunding bonds shall be issued unless issued to refund revenue bonds which have matured or will mature within three months; or unless issued to refund revenue bonds which are redeemable within three months, and the interest rate of the revenue refunding bonds shall be at least one-fourth of one per cent less than the interest rate borne by the revenue bonds so refunded. If the revenue refunding bonds do not mature prior to the earliest date of maturity of the revenue bonds refunded and the principal amount of such revenue refunding bonds maturing in any year does not exceed the principal amount of revenue bonds so refunded, which would have matured in such year, such revenue refunding bonds shall rank on a parity with the revenue bonds then outstanding, shall be deemed to be of the same issue and shall be entitled to payment from the same fund without preference or priority of the outstanding revenue bonds.

Section 10. The State of Delaware hereby covenants and agrees with the holders of any of the revenue bonds or other obligations issued by the Department under the provisions of this Act for which there may be pledged the tolls, rents, rates or other revenues, or any part thereof, of the said crossing, that so long as any of said bonds or obligations remain outstanding and unpaid and unless and until adequate provision is made by law for the protection of the persons advancing money upon such obligations the State will not diminish or impair the power of the Department or of any successor thereof to own, operate or control the said crossing and appurtenances or to establish, levy and collect tolls, rents, rates and other charges in connection therewith.

Section 11. Misdemeanors shall be unlawful for any member or employee of the Department to be, either directly or indirectly, pecuniarily intere6ted in any contract or sub-contract made in connection with the construction, improvement, repair, operation or maintenance of the crossing; and any such member or employee who shall violate the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to be fined not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned for not exceeding two (2) years, or both, in the discretion of the Court.

Any person who shall use or attempt to use the crossing without paying the toll then charged, at the rate then in force, for such use shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to be fined not exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or imprisoned for not exceeding thirty (30) days, or both, in the discretion of the Court.

Approved April 19, 1945.