CHAPTER 306

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 330

AN ACT TO AMEND PART II, TITLE 2, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATEWIDE SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY.

WHEREAS, specialized transportation plays an integral part in several programs conducted by the State; and

WHEREAS, several private non-profit agencies depend upon specialized transportation for delivering health care and vocational rehabilitation services; and

WHEREAS, a pilot program in providing specialized transportation has proven that non-emergency trips by ambulance services can be reduced; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly is committed to providing specialized transportation to eligible clients at least cost to the citizens of the State.

NOW, THEREFORE:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Amend Part II of Title 2, Delaware Code, by establishing a new chapter to be designated as Chapter 17 to read as follows:

CHAPTER 17. SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION

AUTHORITY

§1701. Definitions

As used in this Part:

"Specialized Transportation" means those transportation services that are provided to clients deemed eligible for reasons of physical or mental infirmity or for reasons of economic need by a responsible agency.

"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Department of Highways and Transportation.

§1702. Creation of a Statewide Transportation Authority; appointment of Commissioners; officers

(a) Whenever the Secretary of the Department of Highways and Transportation shall have determined that there is a need for specialized transportation in the State, he shall issue to each appointing officer named in this section a certificate of such determination, and as soon as possible thereafter a Specialized Transportation Authority shall be created by the appointment of seven (7) Commissioners who shall constitute the Authority.

(b) The Commissioners shall be residents of the area in which the Authority operates, and shall be appointed initially, in order to stager terms, as follows:

(i) four by the Governor for terms of 1, 2, 3 and 4 years, respectively;

(ii) one by the County Government of each County in the State for the following terms:

New Castle County Commissioner, 1 year

Kent County Commissioner, 2 years

Sussex County Commissioner, 3 years

(c) Appointments by the New Castle County Government shall be made by the County Executive of New Castle County and appointments by the Kent and Sussex County Governments shall be made by the respective Levy Courts, or their successors, thereof.

(d) Following the terms of the initial Commissioners, each successor Commissioner shall be appointed to hold office for a term of three years or until his successor shall have been appointed and qualified. In the case of a vacancy in an unexpired term, a successor Commissioner shall be appointed to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(e) No more than four (4) Commissioners shall be members of one political party.

(f) The Governor shall designate one of his appointees as chairman. The Authority shall select its other officers.

(g) The Secretary of Highways and Transportation or his designee shall serve as a non-voting member of the Authority.

§1703. Filing of Certificate of Appointment; vacancy

(a) Forthwith upon the appointment of the original Commissioners, the Secretary and the appointing officers shall execute and file or cause to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State a certificate stating that such appointments have been duly made and setting forth the area of operation of the Authority and the names and term of office of each Commissioner. Such certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the due and proper creation of the Specialized Transportation Authority.

(b) Each appointing officer shall execute and file or cause to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State a certificate with respect to each appointment of a successor Commissioner stating the fact of such appointment and setting forth the name of the successor Commissioner and his term of office.

§1704. Removal of a Commissioner

The Governor may remove a Commissioner of an Authority for official misconduct, neglect of duty or incompetence, but only after the Commissioner shall have been given a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel in his own defense. Pending the determination of the charges against the Commissioner, the Governor may suspend him from office. A copy of the charges and the result of the hearing shall be forwarded to the Secretary.

§1705. Oath; quorum; compensation of Commissioners

(a) Before entering upon the duties of the office, each Commissioner of the Authority shall take and subscribe the oath or affirmation prescribed in the Constitution. Such oath or affirmation shall become one of the records of the Authority.

(b) A majority of the Commissioners of an Authority shall constitute a quorum. A majority of the Commissioners present at any meeting constituting a quorum shall be sufficient for any action by the Authority.

(c) The Commissioners of an Authority shall receive their actual expenses incurred while engaged in the affairs of the Authority but shall receive no other renumeration.

§1706. Powers and duties of a Specialized Transportation Authority

The Specialized Transportation Authority shall be a subdivision of the State exercising public powers and having all powers necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the provisions of this Chapter for providing specialized transportation services within its area of operation.

(a) The Authority may:

(1) in cooperation with the Department of Highways and Transportation, develop plans and programs designed to serve those citizens requiring specialized transportation;

(2) acquire, purchase, hold, use and dispose of any property, real and personal, tangible or intangible, or any interest therein necessary for carrying out the purposes of this part, and lease as lessor or lessee any property, real or personal, or any interest therein for such terms and at such rental as the Authority may deem fair and reasonable;

(3) contract with any county, municipality, authority public agency or private company whereby the Authority will receive a fee to provide specialized transportation services ;

(4) employ, in its discretion, attorneys, accountants, superintendents, dispatchers, managers, drivers and other such officers, employees and agents as may be necessary in its judgment, and fix their compensation;

(5) apply for and accept and use grants or other assistance from the Federal Government or any agency thereof, and comply with any terms and conditions of such grant or assistance; and

(6) adopt a seal.

(b) The Authority shall:

(1) prepare and submit to the Secretary before September 1 of each year, a plan, program and budget designating the type and amount of service to be provided and designating the amount and source of funds for conducting the service for the next fiscal year. (Which shall commence on the following July First.)

(2) make every effort to provide least cost specialized transportation services to those agencies and firms contracting for such services by making use of public transportation, taxicabs, private contractors and/or Authority owned vehicles.

(0) only contract with agencies or firms and not provide service to individuals who are not certified by a contracting firm.

§1707. Veto power of Secretary

The powers set forth in paragraphs (a) (5), (a) (6), and (b) (1) of §1706 shall be exercised by an Authority only with the prior consent of the Secretary.

§1708. Conflict of interest prohibited

No Commissioner or employee of an Authority shall be in the employ of, or own stock in, or be in any way directly or indirectly pecuniarily interested in any public utility; nor shall any Commissioner, directly or indirectly, receive a commission, bonus, discount or present or reward from any such public utility.

§1709. Exemption from certain laws

The provisions of Part V and VI, Title 29, and Chapter I, Title 26, shall not apply to a Specialized Transportation Authority.

§1710. Audit

(a) The books, records and accounts of a Specialized Transportation Authority shall be audited annually by a certified public accountant licensed to practice in the State. Copies of this audit will be furnished to the Secretary, the Auditor of Accounts, and the Chairmen of the Highways and Transportation Committees in the House and Senate.

(b) The Auditor of Accounts may also audit the books, records and accounts of an Authority.

§1711. Exemption from taxation

All facilities owned or operated by a Specialized Transportation Authority and all property acquired or used by an Authority in connection therewith shall at all times be free from all taxation in this State.

Approved May 4, 1974.