AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT TO CONSTRUCT, MAINTAIN, REPAIR, IMPROVE AND OPERATE SELF-LIQUIDATING EXPRESS HIGHWAYS FROM A POINT IN THE VICINITY OF THE WESTERLY APPROACH OF THE DELAWARE MEMORIAL BRIDGE TO POINTS AT OR NEAR THE PENNSYLVANIA AND MARYLAND STATE LINES TO BE KNOWN AS THE "DELAWARE TURNPIKE"; ESTABLISHING THE STATUS, POWERS, DUTIES AND AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT WITH RESPECT TO SUCH EXPRESS HIGHWAYS; PROVIDING FOR THE FINANCING OF SUCH HIGHWAYS BY REVENUE BONDS AND PROVIDING FOR A TURNPIKE DIVISION OF THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. DELAWARE TURNPIKE. The State Highway Department is hereby authorized and empowered, subject to the provisions of this Act, to construct, reconstruct, maintain, repair, improve and operate at such location as it may approve a system of toll express highways, to be known as the "Delaware Turnpike", from a point in the vicinity of the westerly approach of the Delaware Memorial Bridge to points at or near the boundary lines between this State and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of Maryland or such parts thereof as it may determine, and to issue turnpike revenue bonds of the Department, payable solely from revenues, to finance such turnpike. Solely for the purpose of carrying out the powers, duties and authority contained in the provisions of this Act, the status of the Department shall be that of an independent, autonomous public entity and agency, in the nature of a specialized body politic, which is not subject to the supervision and regulation of any other department, commission, body or agency of this State except to the extent and manner as provided by law.
Section 2. CREDIT OF STATE NOT PLEDGED: (a) Turnpike revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act shall not be deemed to constitute a borrowing of money by or a debt of the State or of any political subdivision thereof or a pledge of the faith and credit of the State or of any such political subdivision, but such bonds shall be payable solely from the funds herein provided therefor from revenues. All such turnpike revenue bonds shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that neither the State nor the Department shall pay the same or the interest thereon except from revenues of the turnpike and that neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the State or of any political subdivision thereof is pledged to the payment of the principal of or the interest on such bonds.
(b) All expense incurred in carrying out the provisions of this act shall be payable solely from funds provided under the authority of this act and no liability or obligation shall be incurred by the Department hereunder beyond the extent to which moneys shall have been provided under the provisions of this act.
Section 3. TURNPIKE DIVISION: The State Highway Department is hereby authorized to establish a Division within said Department to be known as the "Turnpike Division", and to appoint a General Manager and fix his compensation. The General Manager shall supervise the operations of the Turnpike Division, under the direction of the Department, and shall perform such other duties as may be specifically required by the Department. The Director of Operations of the Department shall be responsible for the supervision of all engineering work in the construction, repair, improvement and maintenance of the turnpike. The Director of Operations of the Department may appoint such deputies as may be necessary for the supervision of such construction, repair, improvement and maintenance of the turnpike. The General Manager, as provided for in this section, shall be a resident of rural New Castle County.
Section 4. DEFINITIONS: As used in this act, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall indicate another of different meaning or intent:
(a) The word "Department" shall mean the State Highway Department of the State of Delaware or the board, body, commission, or authority succeeding to the principal functions thereof or to whom the powers given by this act to the Department shall be given by Law.
(b) The word "Turnpike" shall mean the express toll highway or such part or parts thereof as may be constructed under the provisions of this act, together with and including all bridges, tunnels, overpasses, underpasses, interchanges, entrance plazas, approaches, connecting highways, service stations, restaurants and administration, storage and other buildings and facilities which the Department may deem necessary for the operation of the turnpike, together with all property, rights, easements and interests which may be acquired by the Department for the construction or the operation of the turnpike.
(c) The term "cost of the turnpike" shall embrace the cost of construction, the cost of acquisition of all land, right-of-way, property, rights, easements and interests acquired by the Department for such construction, the cost of demolishing or removing any buildings or structures on land so acquired, including the cost of acquiring any lands to which such buildings or structures may be moved, the cost of all machinery and equipment, financing charges, interest prior to and during the construction, and, if deemed advisable by the Department, for one year after commencement of operations, cost of traffic estimates and of engineering the legal expenses, plans, specifications, surveys, estimates of cost and of revenues, other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of constructing the turnpike, administrative expenses, and such other expenses as may be necessary or incident to the construction of the turnpike in operation. Any obligation or expense heretofore or hereafter incurred by the Department from public funds or by the Delaware Interstate Highway Division for right-of-way, easements, traffic surveys, borings, preparation of plans and specifications, other engineering services, or any other funds whatsoever in connection with the construction of such express highways shall be regarded as part of the cost of the turnpike and shall be reimbursed to the State Treasurer or to the Delaware Interstate Highway Division as is appropriate.
Section 5. GENERAL GRANT OF POWERS: In order to carry out its duties under this Act, the Department, in addition to any of its other powers and authority, is hereby authorized and empowered.
(a) To adopt by-laws for the regulation of turnpike affairs and the conduct of turnpike business;
(b) To maintain a Turnpike Division office or offices at such places within the State as it may determine;
(c) To construct, reconstruct, maintain, repair, improve and operate the turnpike or any part or parts thereof as it may determine;
(d) To acquire sites abutting on the turnpike and to construct or contract for the construction of buildings and appurtenances for gasoline stations, restaurants and other services and to lease the same for the above purposes in such manner and under such terms as it may determine;
(e) To issue turnpike revenue bonds of the Department for any of its purposes, payable solely from the tolls and revenues pledged for their payment, and to refund its bonds, all as provided in this Act;
(f) To fix and revise from time to time and charge and collect tolls for transit over the turnpike, and it shall upon request furnish a user of the turnpike a toll receipt showing the amount of toll paid, the classification of the vehicle and the date and place of exit from said turnpike;
(g) To establish rules and regulations for the use of the Turnpike and to provide penalties for the violation of said rules and regulations.
(h) To acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under this act;
() To acquire by purchase or otherwise, on such terms and conditions as it may deem proper, or by the exercise of the powers of eminent domain, such public lands, parks, playgrounds, reservations, cemeteries, highways or parkways, or parts thereof or right therein, and any fee absolute or any lesser interest in such private property as it may deem necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act, including any fee simple absolute in, easements upon or the benefit of restrictions upon abutting property to preserve and protect the turnpike;
(j) To designate the locations, and establish, limit and control such points of ingress to and egress from the turnpike as may be necessary or desirable in the judgment of the Department to insure the proper operation and maintenance of the turnpike, and to prohibit entrance to the turnpike from any point or points not so designated;
(k) To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Act;
(1) To employ consulting engineers, attorneys, accountants, construction and financial experts, superintendents, managers, and such other employees and agents as may be necessary in its judgment, and to fix their compensation;
(m) To receive and accept from any federal agency grants for or in aid of the construction of the turnpike, and to receive and accept aid or contributions from any source of either money, property, labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purposes for which such grants and contributions may be made; and
(n) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressly granted in this Act.
Section 6. STATE HIGHWAYS AND BRIDGES: (a) The Department may incorporate in the turnpike as an integral part thereof any existing state highway or bridge or any partially completed state highways or bridge which it may deem necessary for a proper alignment of the turnpike, and the actual cost thereof shall be reimbursed to the State Treasurer from the proceeds of its turnpike revenue bonds and shall be treated as a part of the cost of the turnpike.
(b) In addition and without any such reimbursement to the State Treasurer, the Department may incorporate in the turnpike for purposes of maintenance, repair and improvement only, such state highways and bridges as the Department may deem necessary to assure the economic feasibility and management of the turnpike and may expend funds for these purposes arising from turnpike revenue as authorized by this Act.
Section 7. INCIDENTAL POWERS: (a) The Department shall have power to construct grade separations at intersections of the turnpike with public highway and to change and adjust the lines and grades of such highways so as to accommodate the same to the design of such grade separation. The cost of such grade separations and any damage incurred in changing and adjusting the lines and grades of such highways shall be ascertained and paid by the Department as a part of the cost of the turnpike.
(b) If the Department shall find it necessary to change the location of any portion of any public highway, it shall reconstruct the same at such location as the Department shall deem most favorable, and of substantially the same type and in as good condition as the original highway. The cost of such reconstruction and any damage incurred in changing the location of any such highway shall be ascertained and paid by the Department as a part of the cost of the turnpike.
(c) Any public highway affected by the construction of the turnpike may be vacated or relocated by the Department, and any damages awarded on account thereof shall be paid by the Department as a part of the cost of the turnpike.
(d) In addition to the foregoing powers the Department and its authorized agents and employees may enter upon any lands, waters and premises in the State for the purpose of making surveys, soundings, drillings and examinations as they may deem necessary or convenient for the purposes of this Act, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass, nor shall an entry for such purposes be deemed an entry under any condemnation proceedings which may be then pending. The Department shall make reimbursement for any actual damage resulting from such activities.
() The Department shall also have power to make reasonable regulations including the authority to grant easements for the installation, construction, maintenance, repair, renewal, relocation and removal of tracks, pipes, pipelines, mains, conduits, cables, wires, towers, poles and other equipment and appliances of any public utility, or of any corporation or person owning or operating pipelines in, on, along, over or under the turnpike. Whenever the Department shall determine that it is necessary that any such facilities which now are, or hereafter may be located in, on, along, over or under the turnpike should be relocated in the turnpike or should be removed from the turnpike, the public utility, corporation or person owning or operating such facilities shall relocate or remove the same in accordance with the order of the Department. In case of any such relocation or removal of facilities, the public utility, corporation or person owning or operating the same, its successors or assigns, may maintain and operate such facilities, with the necessary appurtenances, in the new location or new locations, for as long a period, and upon the same terms and conditions, as it had the right to maintain and operate such facilities in their former location or locations, provided, however, that the cost of removal or relocation of such facilities, or of installing such facilities in a new location, and the cost of any lands, or any rights or interests in lands, and any other rights acquired to accomplish such relocation, removal or installation, shall be ascertained and paid by the Department as a part of the cost of the turnpike.
(f) The Department shall have power, in the process of constructing or reconstructing all or any part of the turnpike or any extension thereof or additions thereto, to take by eminent domain such land abutting the turnpike as it may deem necessary or desirable for the purposes of removing or relocating all or any part of the facilities of any public utility, including rail lines, and may thereafter lease the same or convey an easement or any other interest therein to such utility company upon such terms as it, in its sole discretion, may determine. The relocation of the facilities of any public utility, including rail lines, in accordance with the provisions of this Section shall be valid upon the filing of the plans thereof with the Public Service Commission, and no general laws or other special laws, or parts thereof, shall be applicable to such relocation.
(g) The Department may sell the buildings or other structures upon any lands taken by it, or may remove the same, and shall sell, if a sale be practicable, or if not, shall lease, if a lease is practicable, any lands or rights or interest in lands or other property taken or purchased for the purposes of this Act, whenever the same shall, in the opinion of the Department, cease to be needed for such purpose. The proceeds of any such sale or lease shall be applied toward the cost of the turnpike or deposited to the credit of the sinking fund for the turnpike revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Act.
(h) The Department may place and maintain or may grant permission by easement or otherwise to any corporation or person to place and maintain on or under or within the turnpike, ducts, pipes, pipelines, wires or other structures, to be so located as not to interfere with the safe and convenient operation and maintenance of the turnpike, and may contract with any such person or corporation for such permission on such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the Department. The construction, maintenance and repairs of any such ducts, pipes, pipelines, wires or other structures shall be subject to such directions and regulations as the Department may impose.
Section 8. TURNPIKE REVENUE BONDS: (a) The Department is hereby authorized to provide by resolution, at one time or from time to time, for the issuance of turnpike revenue bonds of the Department for the purpose of paying all or any part of the cost of the turnpike or any part or parts thereof. The principal of and the interest on such bonds shall be payable solely from the funds herein provided for such payment. The bonds shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates, not exceeding five per centum per annum, shall mature at such time or times not exceeding forty years from their date or dates, all as may be determined by the Department, and may be made redeemable before maturity, at the option of the Department, as 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 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, 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 or shall bear his facsimile signature, and shall bear a facsimile of the official seal of the Department, attested by the secretary of the Department, and any coupons attached thereto shall bear the facsimile signature of the chairman of the Department. In case any officer whose signature or a facsimile of whose signature shall appear on any bonds or coupons shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature or such facsimile shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes the same as if he had remained in office until such delivery. All bonds issued under the provisions of this Act shall have and are hereby declared to have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the negotiable instruments law of the State. 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 bonds as to principal alone and also as to both principal and interest, for the reconversion into coupon bonds of any bonds registered as to both principal and interest, and for the interchange of registered and coupon bonds. The Department may sell such bonds in such manner, either at public or at private sale, and for such price, as it may determine to be for the best interests of the Department.
(b) The proceeds of the bonds shall be used solely for the payment of the cost of the turnpike, and shall be disbursed in such manner and under such restrictions, if any, as the Department may provide in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement hereinafter mentioned securing the same. If the proceeds of the bonds initially issued by error of estimates or otherwise, shall be less than such cost, additional bonds may in like manner be issued to provide the amount of such deficit, and, unless otherwise provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement securing the same 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. If the proceeds of the bonds shall exceed such cost, the surplus shall be deposited to the credit of the sinking fund for such bonds.
(c) Prior to the preparation of definitive bonds, the Department may, under like restrictions, issue interim receipts or temporary bonds, with or without coupons, exchangeable for definitive bonds when such bonds shall have been executed and are available for delivery. The Department may also provide for the replacement of any bonds which shall become mutilated or shall be destroyed or lost. Bonds may be issued under the provisions of this Act without obtaining the consent of any department, division, commission, board, bureau or agency of the State, and without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required by this Act.
Section 9. TRUST AGREEMENT: In the discretion of the Department the bonds issued under the provisions of this Act may be secured by a trust agreement 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 agreement or the resolution providing for the issuance of such bonds may pledge or assign the tolls and other revenues to be received, but shall not convey or mortgage the turnpike or any part thereof. Such trust agreement or resolution providing for the issuance of such bonds may contain such provisions for 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 of property and the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, repair, operation and insurance of the turnpike, the rates of toll to be charged, and the custody, safe-guarding and application of all moneys. It shall be lawful for any bank or trust company incorporated under the laws of the State which may act as depository of the proceeds of bonds or of revenues to furnish such indemnifying bonds or to pledge such securities as may be required by the Department. Such trust agreement may set forth the rights and remedies of the bondholders and of the trustee, and may restrict the individual right of action by bondholders. In addition to the foregoing, such trust agreement or resolution may contain such other provisions as the Department may deem reasonable and proper for the security of the bondholders. All expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of such trust agreement or resolution may be treated as part of the cost of the operation of the turnpike.
Section 10. REVENUES: The Department is hereby authorized to fix, revise, charge and collect tolls for the use of the turnpike and the different parts or sections thereof, and to contract with any person, partnership, association, or corporation desiring the use of any part thereof, including the right-of-way adjoining the paved portion, for placing thereon telephone, telegraph, electric light or power lines, gas stations, garages, and restaurants, or for any other purposes, and to fix the terms, conditions, rents, and rates of charges for such use. Such tolls shall be so fixed and adjusted from time to time in respect to the aggregate of tolls from the turnpike as to provide a fund sufficient with other revenues, if any, (a) pay the cost of maintaining, repairing, improving, and operating the turnpike; (b) to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and improving any state highway or bridge incorporated in the turnpike as provided in Section 6 above; (c) to pay the cost of constructing or reconstructing the turnpike; (d) to pay the principal and interest upon bonds issued to pay the cost of the turnpike, including bonds issued to refund such bonds at or prior to maturity thereof and financing costs; and (e) to provide operating and debt service reserve funds of such character and amount as the Department shall determine to be necessary to insure a proper maintenance of the turnpike and incorporated state highways and bridges as provided in Section 6 hereof and to protect the holders of bonds issued to finance the cost of the turnpike. Such tolls shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any department, division, commission, board, bureau or agency of the State or any political subdivision thereof. The tolls and all other revenues derived from the turnpike, except such part thereof as may be necessary to pay such cost of maintenance, repair, improvement, reconstruction and operation and to provide such reserves therefore as may be provided for in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement securing the same, shall be set aside at such regular intervals as may be provided in such resolution or such trust agreement in a sinking fund which is hereby pledged to, and charged with, the payment of the principal of and the interest on such bonds as the same shall become due, and the redemption price or the purchase price of bonds retired by call or purchase as therein provided. Such pledge shall be valid and binding from the time when the pledge is made; the tolls or other revenues or other moneys so pledged and thereafter received by the Department shall immediately be subject to the lien of such pledge without any physical delivery thereof or further act, and the lien of any such pledge shall be valid and binding as against all parties having claims of any kind in tort, contract or otherwise against the Department irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof. Neither the resolution nor any trust agreement by which a pledge is created need be filed or recorded except in the records of the Department. The use and disposition of moneys to the credit of such sinking fund shall be subject to the provisions of the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or of such trust agreement. Except as may otherwise be provided in such resolution or such trust agreement, such sinking fund shall be a fund for all such bonds without distinction or priority of one over another.
Section 11. TRUST FUNDS: All moneys received pursuant to the authority of this act, whether as proceeds from the sale of bonds or as revenue, shall be deemed to be trust funds to be held and applied solely as provided in this Act. The resolution authorizing the bonds or the trust agreement securing such bonds shall provide that any officer with whom, or any bank or trust company with which, such moneys shall be deposited shall act as trustee of such moneys and shall hold and apply the same for the purposes hereof subject to such regulations as this Act and such resolution or trust agreement may provide.
Section 12. REMEDIES: Any holder of bonds issued under the provisions of this act or any of the coupons appertaining thereto, and the trustee under any trust agreement, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by such trust agreement, may, either at law or in equity, by suit, action, mandamus or other proceeding, protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of the State or granted hereunder or under such trust agreement or resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds, and may enforce and compel the performance of all duties required by this Act or by such trust agreement or resolution to be performed by the Department or by any officer thereof, including the fixing, charging and collecting of tolls.
Section 13. EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION: The exercise of the power granted by this Act will be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the State for the increase of their commerce and prosperity, and for the improvement of their safety, health, and living conditions, and as the operation and maintenance of the turnpike by the Department will constitute the performance of essential governmental functions, the Department shall not be required to pay any taxes or assessments upon the turnpike or any property acquired or used by the Department under the provisions of this Act or upon the income therefrom, and the bonds issued under the provisions of this Act, their transfer and the income therefrom (including any profit made on the sale thereof), shall at all times be free from taxation by the State.
Section 14. BONDS ELIGIBLE FOR INVESTMENT: Bonds issued by the Department under the provisions of this Act are hereby made securities in which all public officers and public bodies of the State and its political subdivisions, all insurance companies, trust companies in their commercial departments, banking associations, investment companies, executors, trustees and other fiduciaries, and all other persons whatsoever who are now or may hereafter be authorized to invest in bonds or other obligations of a similar nature may properly and legally invest funds, including capital in their control or belonging to them, and such bonds are hereby made obligations which may properly and legally be made eligible for the investment of saving deposits. Such bonds are hereby made securities which may properly and legally be deposited with and received by any State or municipal officer or any agency or political subdivision of the State for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds of other obligations of the State is now or may hereafter be authorized by law.
Section 15. MISCELLANEOUS: (a) The turnpike when constructed and open to traffic shall be maintained and kept in good condition and repair by the Department. The turnpike shall also be policed and operated by such force of police, toll-takers and other operating employees as the Department may in its discretion employ and the Department shall have the power in its discretion to contract for any or all accounting, administrative, policing, maintenance or other services with any private or public agency.
(b) All private property damaged or destroyed in carrying out the powers granted by this Act shall be restored or repaired and placed in its original condition as nearly as practicable, or adequate compensation made therefore, out of funds provided under the authority of this Act.
(c) All counties, cities, towns and other political subdivisions and all public agencies and commissions of the State, notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, are hereby authorized and empowered to lease, lend, grant or convey to the Department at its request upon such terms and conditions as the proper authorities of such counties, cities, towns, political subdivisions, agencies or commissions of the State may deem reasonable and fair and without the necessity for any advertisement ,order of court or other action or formality, other than the regular and formal action of the authorities concerned, any real property which may be necessary or convenient to the effectuation of the authorized purposes of the Department, including public roads and other real property already devoted to public use. Provided that any city, town or municipality shall exercise the power and authority granted in this Act only by consent of its council or chief legislative body, which consent shall be exercised by ordinance.
(d) Any operator of a vehicle using the turnpike who refuses to pay the toll prescribed by the Department, or who evades or attempts to evade payment of the toll prescribed by the Department, may be arrested without a warrant.
(e) On or before the thirtieth day of April in each year the Department shall make an annual report of its activities for the preceding calendar year to the Governor and to the General Assembly. Each such report shall set forth a complete operating and financial statement covering its operations during the year. The Department shall cause an audit of its books and accounts to be made at least once in each year by certified public accountants, and the cost thereof may be treated as a part of the cost of construction or operation of the turnpike.
(f) If money, goods or other property which has been abandoned, mislaid or lost on the premises of the turnpike comes into the possession of said Department and remains unclaimed in its possession for a period of one hundred and twenty days, the Department may sell the same, excepting money so unclaimed, at public auction after notice of such sale has been published for three successive weeks in a newspaper with general circulation in the county where such sale is to take place. The net proceeds of such sale, after deducting the cost of storage and the expenses of the sale, and all money so unclaimed, shall be paid into and become the property of the Department. If, in the opinion of the Department any property so abandoned, mislaid or lost which comes into the possession of the Department and remains unclaimed in its possession for a period of one hundred twenty days, is of value of three dollars or less, the Department may donate the same to a charitable organization.
Section 16. TURNPIKE REVENUE REFUNDING BONDS: The Department is hereby authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of turnpike revenue refunding bonds of the Department for the purpose of refunding any bonds then outstanding which shall have been issued under the provisions of this Act, including the payment of any redemption premium thereon and any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of redemption of such bonds, and, if deemed advisable by the Department for the additional purpose of constructing any additional portion or portions of the turnpike or improvements, extensions, or enlargements thereof. The issuance of such bonds, the maturities and other details thereof, the right of the holders thereof, and the rights, duties and obligations of the Department in respect of the same, shall be governed by the provisions of this Act insofar as the same may be applicable. The issuance of turnpike revenue bonds or turnpike revenue refunding bonds under the provisions of this Act need not comply with the requirements of any other law applicable to the issuance of bonds.
Section 17. TRANSFER TO STATE: When all bonds issued under the provisions of this Act and the interest thereon shall have been paid or a sufficient amount for the payment of all such bonds and the interest thereon to the maturity thereof shall have been set aside in trust for the benefit of the bondholders, the turnpike, if then in good condition and repair, shall become a part of the state highway system and shall thereafter be maintained and operated by said Department free of tolls as may be provided by law, and all funds of the Department not required for the payment of the bonds and of interest thereon shall be paid into the State Treasury.
Section 18. PRELIMINARY EXPENSES: (a) To provide for the preliminary expenses of the Department in carrying out the provisions of this Act, the sum of three hundred thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, which sum shall be paid to the Department and, simultaneously with the delivery of the bonds, the sum so paid shall be reimbursed by the Department to the State out of the proceeds of any bonds which are issued by the Department under the provisions of this Act.
(b) The Department is hereby authorized and directed to make such surveys and studies of the turnpike as may be necessary to effect the financing authorized by this Act at the earliest practicable time, and for this purpose to employ such consulting engineers, traffic engineers, legal and financial experts and such other employees and agents as it may deem necessary.
Section 19. FINDING AND DECLARATIONS OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT: As a matter of legislative intent, the General Assembly hereby finds, determines and declares: (1) that a pressing public need exists for providing a system of express highways for the immediate preservation of public safety and convenience by removing handicaps and hazards from the presently congested highways; (2) that a further need exists to provide an adequate network of controlled access highways to facilitate the rapid and safe transportation of persons and commerce in and through the State; (3) that the construction of such needed highways can be most economically financed through the use of turnpike bonds of the State Highway Department, payable solely from revenue arising from the operation of toll facilities as herein authorized, and without the necessity of the State borrowing money or creating a debt in which the faith and credit of the State is pledged; and (4) that, solely for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Act, the Department shall be deemed to be an independent and autonomous entity and agency, in the nature of a specialized body politic, which is not subject to control of any other State agency except to the extent and manner as provided by law.
Section 20. ACT LIBERALLY CONSTRUED: This Act, being necessary for the welfare of the State and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effect the purposes thereof.
Section 21. CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION: The provisions of this Act are severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.
Section 22. INCONSISTENT LAWS INAPPLICABLE: All other general or special laws, or parts thereof, inconsistent herewith are hereby declared to be inapplicable to the provisions of this Act.
Section 23. TERRITORIAL LIMITATION OF AUTHORITY: The authority granted to the Department by this Act shall be restricted to New Castle County.
Approved August 24, 1961.