2021 Regular Session
By: Representatives Rushing, Anderson (122nd), Byrd, Carpenter, Crudup, Currie, Evans (45th), Felsher, Foster, Gibbs (36th), Goodin, Haney, Hobgood-Wilkes, Ladner, Mangold, McCray, Newman, Pigott, Porter, Rosebud, Sanford, Scoggin, Shanks, Smith, Summers, Tullos, White, Yancey, Wallace, Miles, Williamson, Barnett, Stamps
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 65-1-75, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO MAINTAIN GRASS MOWING OF RIGHTS-OF-WAY FOR ANY STATE HIGHWAYS LOCATED WITHIN THE MUNICIPAL LIMITS OF ANY MUNICIPALITY IN THE STATE WITH A POPULATION OF TEN THOUSAND (10,000) OR LESS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 65-1-75, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
65-1-75. (1) The Mississippi Transportation Commission is authorized and empowered to have the Transportation Department locate, construct, reconstruct and maintain any designated state highway under its jurisdiction to, through, across or around any municipality in the state, regardless of the width of the street between curbs; and in so locating it is fully empowered to follow the route of the existing street or to depart therefrom, as in its discretion it deems advisable, and to obtain and pay for the necessary rights-of-way, as provided in Section 65-1-47. The municipality in which such construction is to be undertaken is likewise authorized to acquire rights-of-way on any such streets or on any newly located routes, either by purchase, gift or condemnation. Such rights-of-way may be acquired by either the municipality or the Transportation Department, subject to the approval of the commission, and the cost thereof may be borne by either or both as may be mutually agreed upon. In any event such municipality may be required to save the commission and department harmless from any claims for damages arising from the construction of the highway through such municipality, including claims for rights-of-way, change of grade line, interference with public structures, and any and all damages so arising. Municipalities may secure additional improvements by payment of the additional cost of same. The commission may require such municipality to cause to be laid all water, sewer, gas or other pipelines or conduits, together with all necessary house or lot connections or services, to the curb line of such road or street to be constructed, and the commission is authorized to refuse to have the department lay such pipelines or conduits beneath such roads or streets until the municipality has laid same or entered into an agreement to reimburse the commission or department for the expense thereby incurred.
(2) All construction of state highways in or through municipalities, where done at the cost and expense of the state, whether heretofore or hereafter, shall be maintained in the same manner and to the same extent as is construction on state highways outside the limits of municipalities to the end that investment of the state in such highway so constructed may be preserved and maintained; and all reasonable rules and regulations with reference to the preservation and maintenance of such highways constructed at state expense, whether within or without municipal limits, may be promulgated by the commission, except that it shall have no power to promulgate police regulations contrary to existing law. On any municipal streets or parts or sections thereof taken over for regular maintenance and maintained by the department as a part of the state highway system, the municipality shall not be liable for negligence occasioned by the maintenance or repair of such streets thus apportioned to and of such width as is maintained by the department. The municipality shall have full control and responsibility beyond the curb lines of any designated highway or street, whether heretofore or hereafter so designated, (except the interstate system) located within its present or future expanded municipal corporate limits, regardless of the ownership of the right-of-way, including, but not limited to, the construction and maintenance of sidewalks, grass mowing and drainage systems; however, the department may utilize the right-of-way purchased by the commission without any additional cost or permission.
The municipality shall not allow any encroachments, signs or billboards to be erected or to remain on state-owned rights-of-way on any designated highway within its corporate limits without the consent of the commission. The municipality, at its own expense, shall provide street illumination and shall clean all streets, including storm sewer inlets and catch basins. The commission may enter into an agreement with the municipality or with a private entity to sweep and clean the designated highways within or without the corporate limits. The commission may, at state expense, provide illumination and may clean all interstate highways within the corporate limits of any municipality. The right of the municipality to grant franchises over, beneath and upon such streets is specifically retained, but the municipality shall require every grantee of a franchise to restore, repair and replace to its original condition any portion of any such street damaged or injured by it; however, permission to open the surface of any municipal street maintained by the department must be obtained from both the commission and the municipality concerned before any such opening is made. Each municipality shall retain full police power over its streets, particularly as to regulating and enforcing traffic and parking restrictions on such streets, but any traffic control and parking regulations repugnant to state law shall be null and void. The commission shall have the department erect, control and maintain all highway route markers and directional signs on such streets at state expense. The commission, at state expense, shall have the department install, operate, maintain, control, and have full jurisdiction over, all traffic control devices, including, but not limited to, signals, signs, striping and lane markings on state highway streets in municipalities having a population of twenty thousand (20,000) or less according to the current United States census; but municipalities over twenty thousand (20,000) population according to such census shall install, operate, maintain and control such devices at their own expense, subject to approval of the executive director regarding operations, method of installation and type only. Municipalities having a population of five thousand (5,000) or more but less than twenty thousand (20,000) according to the most recent federal census shall only be responsible for electrical operating costs; and all other costs for the installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices, including the changing of signal bulbs in traffic signal lights, shall be the responsibility of the Transportation Department. The commission may purchase at state expense and install traffic control devices in municipalities over twenty thousand (20,000) population and donate them to the municipalities for operation and maintenance whenever it appears to the commission that, in the interest of safety or convenience of the motoring public, any of the devices should be upgraded, replaced or removed. Any revenue from parking meters on any such streets shall be controlled by and belong to the municipality.
(3) The maintenance of all streets within the limits of any municipality in this state, regardless of size, which are presently being regularly maintained, in whole or in part, by the department at state expense as a part or parts of any designated state highway shall be continued. Whenever any state highway runs into or through the corporate limits of any municipality, the municipal street or the street utilized and marked as a part of any such state highway may be a part of the state highway system and may be maintained by the department; however, such route through any municipality shall be selected by the commission by orders spread on its minutes describing all such routes, and such route or routes may be changed, relocated or abandoned by the commission from time to time, all under the provisions, terms and conditions herein provided, but the commission shall have the department maintain only one (1) route of any highway through a municipality. Upon relocation of such state highway or abandonment thereof, the municipal street formerly used as a state highway shall thereby return to the jurisdiction of, and maintenance by, the municipality.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, beginning on July 1, 2021, the department shall maintain grass mowing of rights-of-way for any state highways located within the municipal limits of any municipality in the state with a population of ten thousand (10,000) or less according to the latest federal decennial census that desires that the department perform grass mowing services, provided that it is in accordance with the department's annual mowing schedule and that the department shall not be required to maintain grass mowing for areas that are subject to a beautification permit or agreement.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.