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      CA 14 31.3     

  

§31.3.  New Orleans; railroad passenger stations

General authorizations.  The City of New Orleans, acting through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall have the power, in any manner it may determine, to acquire, construct, maintain and operate one or more railroad passenger stations, with all approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and shall also have the power to acquire, by purchase, lease, contract, expropriation or otherwise, all such lands, tracks and other property, real or personal, or rights of use or possession thereof, as it may deem necessary or desirable for the construction, maintenance and operation of said railroad passenger station or stations; provided, however, that in the maintenance and operation of said passenger station or stations and the other property referred to in this Section, no funds of the City of New Orleans or of said Commission, except funds derived from the revenues produced by said operation, shall be expended.  The powers herein granted may be exercised anywhere in the Parish of Orleans or in any parish adjacent thereto.  In connection with any project for building any such passenger station or stations, the City of New Orleans, through said Commission, shall have the power to do everything it deems necessary or desirable for the purpose of minimizing interference, caused by railroad traffic of any sort, with the use of streets, thoroughfares and roads, and with the proper development of the City of New Orleans, and for that purpose may include in the property acquired or constructed hereunder, or the right of use or possession of which is acquired hereunder, any and all depots, freight terminals, classification yards, tracks and other railroad facilities; provided, however, that for the exclusive purpose of minimizing interference caused by railroad traffic of any sort with the use of streets, thoroughfares and roads, or with the proper development of the City of New Orleans, the power of expropriation shall not be exercised to acquire any existing freight depot, freight terminal, freight classification yard, track or other railroad facility.  The Commission Council of the City of New Orleans, on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, may dedicate to the use of any project hereunder any streets, thoroughfares, roads or other property belonging to or under the control of the City of New Orleans; and the Police Jury of any adjacent parish, on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, may dedicate to the use of such project any streets, thoroughfares, roads, or other property belonging to said parish or under the control of said Police Jury.  

The operation of any passenger station or stations herein authorized may include operating, or granting leases or concessions for the operation of, any restaurant, store or other enterprise of any sort associated with a railroad passenger station.  

The City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall have the power at any time to rebuild, reconstruct, to improve and to enlarge any constructed property therefore acquired, pursuant hereto.  

The City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall have the power to make a loan or loans to any railroad company or railroad companies to be used by said railroad company or railroad companies for defraying the expenses of any improvement in the Parish of Orleans, or in any parish adjacent thereto, to any tracks, depots, freight terminals, classification yards or other facilities of such railroad company or railroad companies; provided, however, that no funds of the City of New Orleans or of said Commission shall be so loaned except funds obtained from the source enumerated in Subsection (B) hereof.  The obligation of any railroad company or railroad companies to repay any such loan may be pledged under any mortgage referred to in said Subsection (B) hereof, and the interest paid on any such loan shall be deemed part of the revenues referred to in this Section 31.3.  

(A).  Contracts.  The City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall have the authority to enter into a contract or contracts, containing such terms, conditions, stipulations and provisions, and for such duration, as may be approved by the vote of a majority of all the members of said Commission, with any railroad company or railroad companies entering or hereafter entering New Orleans, for the use by such railroad company or railroad companies of said passenger station or stations, and the approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and/or of any tracks or other property, constructed pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof, or the ownership or right of use or possession of, which is acquired or dedicated pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof, for or in connection with the transporting, conveying or other handling, under the motive power of such railroad company or railroad companies, of the locomotives, cars, trains and other equipment of such railroad company or railroad companies, and passengers therein and freight and other contents thereof.  Said passenger station or stations and all property and rights of use or possession of property acquired, constructed or dedicated pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof, shall be under the control and management of the Public Belt Railroad Commission, but any contract entered into pursuant to this Subsection (A) or resolution adopted by said Commission by a vote of a majority of all the members thereof, may vest in a Committee or other body composed of representatives of any and all interested parties, including but not limited to representatives of any railroad company or railroad companies, constituted as provided in such contract or resolution, such powers as may be specified in such contract or resolution for supervising or controlling the acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of said passenger station or stations, the approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and any tracks or other property referred to in Section 31.3 hereof.  Any such contract may be made superior to the lien of any mortgage executed to secure any bond issued hereunder.  Any right of use granted pursuant to this Subsection (A) to any railroad company or railroad companies by the City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall be exempt from every form of taxation.  

Without restricting any power or discretion herein conferred upon the City of New Orleans, acting either through its Commission Council or the Public Belt Railroad Commission, it is hereby declared to be the policy of this amendment that the railroad passenger station or stations or other railroad facilities acquired or constructed by the City of New Orleans pursuant hereto, shall not be operated at a profit to the City of New Orleans or the Public Belt Railroad Commission, it being understood that the City of New Orleans and the Public Belt Railroad Commission shall not be deprived of any element of cost paid by them or either of them with proper interest on all amounts expended or advanced, and it being understood, further, that after all costs with interest have been reimbursed (but in no event sooner than 1988), the City of New Orleans shall receive, in addition to all costs of maintenance and operation, a net rental in an amount equal to what the taxes would be on the stations or facilities furnished by it, based on their then fair value if the same were not tax exempt.  

(B).  Bond issue.  For the purpose of acquiring or constructing said railroad passenger station or stations, with all approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and any land, tracks and other property, real or personal, or rights of use or possession thereof, referred to in Section 31.3 hereof, and of improving and enlarging any property theretofore acquired or constructed pursuant hereto, and of complying with any obligation contained in any contract which may be executed pursuant to Subsection (A) hereof, the City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, is hereby granted power to issue by resolution, upon the recommendation of the Public Belt Railroad Commission, its bonds not to exceed Fifteen Million Dollars ($15,000,000) in aggregate principal amount, in such forms, numbers and amounts, at such times and prices, and upon such terms and conditions as to maturities, rates and payment of interest, and final redemption (which shall not be later than fifty years after their date), and otherwise, as the City of New Orleans may deem advisable, subject to the following limitations and provisions:

(a)  All such bonds shall be secured solely and only by mortgage of such railroad passenger station or stations, the approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and any lands, tracks and other property, real or personal, or rights of use or possession thereof, acquired, constructed or dedicated pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof, and by pledge of the net revenues derived from the operation of such property and by pledge and assignment of any contract or contracts executed pursuant to Subsection (A) hereof, and shall be paid therefrom and not by any tax or assessment or levy upon any taxable property in the City of New Orleans, nor out of any other funds, revenues or things of value of said City; provided that during the period of acquisition and construction of said passenger station or stations and other property, and during the period, if any, after acquisition and construction while the net revenues from the operation shall not be sufficient to provide for the interest or sinking fund or maturing installments of principal of any and all outstanding bonds hereinabove authorized to be issued, the same may be paid out of the proceeds from the sale of any bonds authorized by this Subsection (B); and provided, further, that if more than one such passenger station is constructed or acquired, there may be separate mortgages, securing separate issues of bonds, each covering only part of the property referred to in this Subsection (B).  In the event of any foreclosure of any such mortgage, the purchaser at foreclosure sale, and his successors and assigns, shall have a franchise for the use and operation of said passenger station or stations and all other property mortgaged thereby, subject to any contract or contracts which may be made superior to the lien of the mortgage foreclosed upon, until the latest date of maturity specified in any bond secured thereby at any time theretofore outstanding, at the end of which period title thereto shall revert to the City of New Orleans.  Said mortgage or mortgages shall contain such stipulations, terms, provisions and conditions, not inconsistent herewith, as the City of New Orleans, upon the recommendation of the Public Belt Railroad Commission, may determine.

(b)  Said passenger station or stations, the approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, and all other property and right of use or possession of property acquired, constructed or dedicated pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof, which shall be owned by the City of New Orleans, shall be exempt from every form of taxation, and shall in no manner be hypothecated, leased or alienated by the City of New Orleans, except as herein set forth; provided, however, that any real or personal property acquired pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof not needed for the construction or operation of any facility referred to in Section 31.3 hereof may, by the Commission Council of the City of New Orleans, be leased or sold or dedicated to public purposes of the City of New Orleans.  The proceeds of any such lease or sale shall be applied to the payment of the obligations issued hereunder.  

(c)  The bonds issued hereunder and the income therefrom shall be exempt from all taxation for State, parish, municipal or other local purposes.

(d)  All bonds issued hereunder shall have, and are hereby declared to have, the qualities of negotiable instruments under the Law Merchant.  

(e)  The provisions hereof shall constitute a contract between the holders of any bonds issued hereunder and the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans.  

(C).  Federal aid.  In connection with any project authorized hereby, the City of New Orleans may accept and utilize any grant, loan or financial or other assistance of any board, body or other agency of the United States, or of any other board, body or other agency.  

(D).  Grade crossing elimination.  Any project hereunder may include such provisions as may be agreed to by the City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, or determined by the City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, for eliminating grade crossings of any tracks used or to be used for reaching the aforesaid passenger station or stations or any other railroad tracks.  All or any part of the cost of eliminating grade crossings of any tracks, to the extent agreed to by the City of New Orleans, through the Public Belt Railroad Commission, or determined by the City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, may be defrayed by the issue of bonds pursuant to Subsection (B) hereof; but the City of New Orleans is hereby empowered to contribute any funds towards such cost to such extent as its Commission Council may determine; provided no railroad company shall be required to pay rent or interest on any facility constructed or acquired for the sole use of any other railroad company.  The elimination of grade crossings of railroad tracks is hereby declared to be a permanent public improvement within the meaning of Act 341 of 1936, and, in order for the City of New Orleans to obtain funds for any contribution by it referred to in Subsection (D), bonds may be issued under said Act, or under Section 4 of Act 4 of 1916, subject to compliance with the requirements of said respective Acts, but no bonds of the City of New Orleans shall be issued under either of said Acts, or otherwise except as provided in Subsection (B) hereof, to defray any other cost of any project herein authorized.  

(E).  Rights of Public Belt Railroad System.  The Public Belt Railroad System shall have no right except through contract, to use in its switching operations any track, depot, terminal, yard or other facility acquired or constructed, or the right to use which is acquired, pursuant to Section 31.3 hereof; provided, however, the Public Belt Railroad Commission shall not be deprived of any of its existing powers of authority by this provision.  If the Public Belt Railroad System by contract uses in its switching operations any track or other facility hereinabove in this Subsection (E) referred to, the fair value of such use, as agreed to by the Public Belt Railroad Commission, shall be deemed part of the revenues referred to in Section 31.3 hereof, and may be made applicable to the payment of any bond issued hereunder, and pledged under any mortgage hereinabove referred to.  

(F).  Control of Public Belt Railroad System.  Except as and to the extent and with the limitations provided in Section 28 of this Article XIV, no right or privilege shall be granted to any railroad company to control, use or operate the Public Belt Railroad System, or any part thereof, as now existing, or as extended by the use of its own funds or the proceeds of any bonds hereafter issued pursuant to Section 27 of said Article XIV.  

(G).  Use of stations.  The City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, is hereby vested with full power and authority to compel, if deemed by it necessary or desirable to promote the public safety or welfare, any railroad company or railroad companies entering or hereafter entering the City of New Orleans to use any passenger station or stations and/or any other property referred to in Section 31.3 hereof, on such reasonable terms and conditions as said Commission Council may prescribe, and in that connection, to compel any such railroad company or railroad companies to re-locate and rearrange its or their tracks, yards and other facilities to such extent as may be necessary; it being the intent hereof to vest in the City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, all power and authority in this regard which might be exercised by or under the authority of the State of Louisiana; provided, however, that the power and authority granted in this Subsection (G) shall be subject to such approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission or other Federal authority as may be necessary.  

(H).  Effect on other powers.  Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to repeal, limit, modify or affect any police power or other power of the City of New Orleans, through its Commission Council, or the Public Belt Railroad Commission, or otherwise.  

(I).  Amendments.  Any prohibition herein contained may at any time hereafter, by further amendment of this Constitution, be removed, modified or relaxed, except to the extent that such action shall impair any obligation under any bond theretofore issued pursuant hereto or under any contract theretofore entered into pursuant hereto.  

(J).  Self-operative.  This amendment shall be self-operative.  

(Added by Acts 1938, No. 385, adopted Nov. 8, 1938.)



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