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      RS 48:1671     



§1671. Southern Rapid Rail Transit Compact

            A. The purpose of this compact is to study the feasibility of rapid transit service between the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama, to take all steps that it may deem necessary and appropriate in order to establish and maintain such service, and to establish a joint interstate commission to assist in this effort.

            B. This compact shall become effective immediately as to the states ratifying it whenever the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi have ratified it and Congress has given consent thereto. Any state not mentioned in this article which is contiguous to any member state may become a party to this compact, subject to approval by the legislature of each of the member states.

            C.(1) The states that are parties to this compact (hereinafter referred to as party states) do hereby establish and create a joint agency, which shall be known as the Southern Rail Commission (hereinafter referred to as the commission). The membership of the commission shall consist of the governor of each party state, one representative each from the Mississippi Energy and Transportation Board or its successor, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development or its successor, the Texas Transportation Commission or its successor, and the conservation division of the Alabama Department of Energy or its successor; and five other citizens of each party state, to be appointed by the governor thereof. The appointive members of the commission shall serve for terms of four years each. Vacancies on the commission shall be filled by appointment by the governor for the unexpired portion of the term.

            (2) The members of the commission shall not be compensated for service on the commission, but each of the appointed members shall be entitled to actual and reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings or incurred otherwise in the performance of his duties as a member of the commission.

            (3) The members of the commission shall hold regular quarterly meetings and such special meetings as its business may require. They shall choose annually a chairman and vice chairman from among their members, and the chairmanship shall rotate each year among the party states in order of their acceptance of this compact.

            (4) The commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the transaction of its business, and a record shall be kept of all its business.

            (5) It shall be the duty of the commission to study the feasibility of providing interstate rapid rail transit service between the party states and to take all steps that it may deem necessary and appropriate in order to establish and maintain such service. Toward this end, the commission shall have power:

            (a) To hold hearings.

            (b) To conduct studies and surveys, prepare grant applications related to the establishment or maintenance of passenger rail service, enter into operating and other contractual agreements with providers of passenger rail service, and enter into agreements with owners or operators of railway tracks in order to provide for upgrades necessary to establish or maintain passenger rail service.

            (c) To acquire, by gift, grant, or otherwise, from local, state, federal, or private sources such money or property as may be provided for the proper performance of their function, and to hold and dispose of same.

            (d) To cooperate with other public or private groups, whether local, state, regional, or national, having an interest in such service.

            (e) To formulate and execute plans and policies for emphasizing the purpose of this compact before the Congress of the United States and other appropriate officers and agencies of the United States.

            (f) To exercise such other powers as may be appropriate to enable it to accomplish its functions and duties and to carry out the purposes of this compact.

            D. Each party state agrees that its legislature may, in its discretion, from time to time make available and pay over to the authority funds for the establishment and operation of the authority. The contribution of each party state shall be in equal amounts, if possible, but nothing in this article shall be construed as binding the legislature of either state to make an appropriation or a set amount of funds at any particular time.

            E. Nothing in this compact shall be construed so as to conflict with any existing statute, or to limit the powers of any party state, or to repeal or prevent legislation, or to affect any existing or future cooperative arrangement or relationship between any federal agency and a party state.

            F. This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each party state until the legislature or governor of each or either state takes action to withdraw therefrom. However, any such withdrawal shall not become effective until six months after the date of the action taken by the legislature or governor. Notice of such action shall be given to the other party state or states by the secretary of state of the party state which takes such action.

            Added by Acts 1980, No. 327, §1, eff. July 1, 1980. Acts 1981, No. 153, §1; Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 4, §1, eff. Jan. 19, 1983; Acts 1992, No. 185, §1; Acts 2009, No. 2, §1; Acts 2010, No. 838, §1; Acts 2013, No. 220, §22, eff. June 11, 2013; Acts 2022, No. 764, §1, eff. June 18, 2022.

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