1997 Regular Session
To: Transportation; Appropriations
By: Representative Bowles
House Bill 138
AN ACT TO CREATE A SPECIAL FUND IN THE STATE TREASURY TO BE KNOWN AS THE "STATE AID ROAD CONSTRUCTION SUPPLEMENTAL FUND"; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE FISCAL OFFICER SHALL TRANSFER THE SUM OF $25,000,000.00 ANNUALLY FROM THE STATE GENERAL FUND TO THE SPECIAL FUND DURING FISCAL YEARS 1998 THROUGH 2002; TO PROVIDE THAT MONIES IN THE SPECIAL FUND SHALL BE ALLOCATED EQUALLY TO EACH OF THE COUNTIES AND MAY BE EXPENDED IN THE SAME MANNER AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME CONDITIONS AS OTHER STATE AID FUNDS; TO AMEND SECTION 65-9-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "State Aid Road Construction Supplemental Fund." The State Fiscal Officer shall transfer the sum of Twenty-five Million Dollars ($25,000,000.00) annually from the State General Fund to the special fund during fiscal years 1998 through 2002. The transfers shall be made in four (4) equal quarterly payments each fiscal year, with the first payment in each fiscal year to be made on July 1.
(2) Such monies as are deposited in the fund under the provisions of this section, upon legislative appropriation, shall be allocated and distributed to and may be expended by the several counties of the state in the manner and procedure and in accordance with the same conditions as prescribed for the allocation and expenditure of other State Aid funds under Chapter 9 of Title 65, Mississippi Code of 1972. However, the State Aid Engineer shall allocate monies in the State Aid Road Construction Supplemental Fund equally to each of the counties and may not deduct administrative expenses for the Office of State Aid Road Construction from any of the monies in the special fund. Unexpended amounts remaining in the special fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the special fund shall be deposited to the credit of the special fund.
SECTION 2. Section 65-9-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-9-17. (1) When any county shall have met the requirements of this chapter and shall have become eligible for state aid, the State Aid Engineer, as soon as practicable, shall notify such county in writing of such eligibility and that its proportionate part of any state funds allocated to it for state aid may be utilized for construction in the manner provided by law, and such notice shall also be given in writing to the Department of Finance and Administration and to the State Treasurer.
(2) State aid funds shall be allocated to each county for use on state aid system roads in accordance with the provisions of Section 27-65-75 and Section 1 of this act.
(3) State aid funds may be credited to a county in advance of the normal accrual to finance certain state aid improvements, subject to the approval of the State Aid Engineer and subject further to the following limitations:
(a) That the maximum amount of state aid funds that may be advanced to any county shall not exceed ninety percent (90%) of the state aid funds estimated to accrue to such county during the remainder of the term of office of the board of supervisors of such county.
(b) That no advance credit of funds will be made to any county when the unobligated balance in the State Aid Road Fund is less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).
(c) That such advance crediting of funds be effected by the State Aid Engineer at the time of the approval of the plans and specifications for the proposed improvements.
It is the intent of this provision to utilize to the fullest practicable extent the balance of state aid funds on hand at all times.
(4) State aid funds shall be available to such county to the following extent and in the following manner:
(a) On state aid projects, other than those on or off the federal aid secondary system to be partially financed with federal funds, state aid funds credited to such county in the State Aid Road Fund shall be available to cover the cost of such project. Upon the awarding of a contract for such state aid project, the board of supervisors of any county will, by an official order of the board, authorize the State Aid Engineer to set up the project fund for such project from that county's state aid fund in the State Treasury. The amount of the project fund will cover the estimated cost of the project, including the contractor's payments and any other costs authorized under this chapter to be paid from state aid funds. Withdrawals from the project fund will be made by requisitions prepared by the State Aid Engineer, based on estimates and other supporting statements and documents prepared or approved by the county engineer, such requisitions, accompanied by such estimates and statements, to be directed to the Department of Finance and Administration, which will issue warrants in payment thereof. Requisitions may be drawn to cover the final cost of the project accepted by the boards of supervisors of the counties affected and the State Aid Engineer, even though such cost exceeds the aforesaid estimated project fund. Whenever, in the opinion of the State Aid Engineer, it should appear that any such estimate or statement of account has been improperly allowed or that any road construction project is not proceeding in accordance with the plans, specifications and standards set up therefor, then, in such event, due notice in writing shall be given the board of supervisors of such county and the contractor on such project, if any, stating the reason why such account should not have been allowed or why such project is not progressing satisfactorily; and if, within thirty (30) days from the date of such notice in writing, such error or default is not corrected to the satisfaction of the State Aid Engineer, all state aid funds theretofore allocated to such eligible county shall be immediately withdrawn and notice given the Department of Finance and Administration and the State Treasurer that such county has become ineligible therefor. Such county shall remain ineligible until it again becomes eligible by satisfying the State Aid Engineer as to its eligibility.
(b) On state aid projects on the federal aid secondary system which are to be partially financed with federal funds, state aid funds credited to such county in the State Aid Road Fund shall be available to cover the sponsor's share of the cost of such project. At the same time, the State Treasurer, on order from the board of supervisors, shall transfer an amount up to one hundred percent (100%) of such cost from the credit of such county in the State Aid Road Fund to the credit of such county in the State Highway Fund, earmarked for such project.
(c) State aid road funds credited to a county in the State Aid Road Fund shall also be available to cover the sponsor's cost of any other project of such county which is partially financed with federal funds available through federal "safer off-system" road funds and/or other federal road funds allocated to the counties as provided for in accordance with Section 65-9-29(2). On order from the board of supervisors of such county, the State Treasurer shall transfer an amount up to one hundred percent (100%) of such cost from the credit of such county in the State Aid Road Fund to the credit of such county in the State Highway Fund, earmarked for such project.
(d) Up to one-third (1/3) of state aid road funds credited to a county in the State Aid Road Fund may be available to match federal bridge replacement monies or other federal funds, or both, to construct, replace, inspect or post bridges and to conduct pavement management surveys on county roads which are not on the state aid system. To implement such projects, the State Treasurer shall, as requested in an order from the board of supervisors of the county, make transfers out of the credit of such county in the State Aid Road Fund.
(5) The State Treasurer is hereby authorized to continue to receive and deposit all funds from the federal government made available by it, either by existing law or by any law which may be passed hereafter, to the credit of the State Highway Fund, and the Treasurer shall notify the commission of the amounts so received.
All accounts against the above-mentioned funds shall be certified to by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, who shall request the Department of Finance and Administration to issue its warrant on the State Treasurer for the amount of the accounts; and the Treasurer shall pay same if sufficient funds are available, all in the manner prescribed herein or as may be required by law.
(6) The board of supervisors of each county is hereby authorized and empowered to pay funds into the State Treasury in the manner above set out, and to use and expend such funds for the purposes set out in this chapter. For the purpose of providing such funds, the board of supervisors is hereby authorized and empowered to use and expend any county road and bridge funds, including revenue received from any gasoline taxes paid to such county, or any funds available in the General Fund, or to issue road and bridge bonds of such county in any lawful amount in the manner and method and subject to the restrictions, limitations and conditions, and payable from the same sources of revenue, now provided by law.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.