2005 Regular Session

To: Local and Private; Finance

By: Senator(s) Gollott, Cuevas, Lee (47th), Dawkins, Hewes

Senate Bill 3138

(As Sent to Governor)



     SECTION 1.  It is hereby determined and declared that for the benefit of the people of the City of Gulfport, the City of Biloxi, Harrison County and the surrounding area, the increase of their commerce, welfare and prosperity and the improvement and maintenance of their economic and living conditions, it is essential that the people of the area have access to adequate and affordable public transportation, and it is beneficial that the provider of public transportation in the area, Coast Transit Authority, be allowed to finance the development of its intermodal facilities and to lease portions of the facilities.  It is the purpose of this act to increase revenue and financial resources for the public transportation system provided by Coast Transit Authority, all for the public benefit and good.  This act shall be liberally construed for the purposes enumerated in this section.

     SECTION 2.  As used in this act:

          (a)  "Authority" means the Mississippi Coast Transportation Authority, doing business as Coast Transit Authority.

          (b)  "Governing body" means the Board of Commissioners of Coast Transit Authority.

          (c)  "Project" means structures, facilities, machinery, equipment and/or other property necessary for the development and use of intermodal facilities and, in connection with the operations or proposed operations of the facilities, including, but not limited to, the development, build-out, lease and related expenses for commercial and/or retail lease space in or on the intermodal facilities; or any combination of the foregoing or other facilities necessary to the operation of the intermodal facilities or for the refunding of any debt incurred for the same purposes.

     SECTION 3.  The authority is granted the following powers and authority, together with all powers and authority incidental thereto or necessary for the performance of those powers and authority, in order to effectuate the purposes of this act:

          (a)  To improve, maintain, extend, equip, develop and furnish one or more projects by purchase, construction, exchange, gift, lease or otherwise, including all real and personal properties which the authority may consider necessary in connection with a project, regardless of whether the project is then in existence;

          (b)  To lease to an individual, business, partnership, corporation, governmental entity, or other legal entity, one or more projects, or portions thereof, upon such terms and conditions as the governing body shall deem proper, and to charge and collect rent and to terminate any lease upon the failure of the lessee to comply with any of the obligations of the lease, and to include in any such lease, if desired, provisions that the lessee shall have options to renew the term of the lease for such period or periods and at such rent as shall be determined by the authority;

          (c)  To borrow money for the purpose of carrying out any of its powers and authority under this act; and

          (d)  To mortgage and pledge any or all of the projects or any part or parts of a project, whether then owned or thereafter acquired, and to pledge the revenues and receipts therefrom, and to assign and pledge all or any part of its interest in and rights under the lease of a project, as security for the payment of the principal and interest on any money borrowed by the authority and any agreements made in connection with the borrowing of money.

     SECTION 4.  The principal amount of money borrowed by the authority under the provisions of this act shall not exceed an outstanding indebtedness of Six Million Dollars ($6,000,000.00).

     SECTION 5.  The authority is authorized and empowered to borrow money under the provisions of this act and, in addition, the authority is authorized to borrow money by entering into loan agreements with lending institutions and by issuing its negotiable promissory notes secured by a project or any portion of a project, whether then owned or thereafter acquired, and to pledge the revenues and receipts from a project, and by all or any part of its interest in and rights under the leases of a project.  The term of the negotiable promissory notes shall not be more than fifteen (15) years.  The authority provided by this act to borrow money shall be in addition to the power of the authority to borrow money or issue bonds as otherwise provided by law.

     SECTION 6.  The principal and interest of any money borrowed under this act shall be payable solely out of, and shall be secured only by a pledge of the revenues and receipts derived from a project, as may be designated in the proceedings of the governing body under which the money is borrowed, including debt obligations of the lessee obtained from or in connection with the financing of a project, and from such other sources available to the lessee as may be designated by the governing body in its proceedings in connection with the borrowing of the money.  The proceeds of the money borrowed under this act may be used for the purpose of constructing, acquiring, reconstructing, improving, equipping, furnishing, bettering, extending and/or financing any projects, including the payment of interest on the principal amount of money borrowed during construction of any such project and for six (6) months after the estimated date of completion; the payment of engineering, fiscal, architectural and legal expenses incurred in connection with a project; the borrowing of money; the establishment of a reserve fund for the payment of principal of and interest on money borrowed in the event of a deficiency in the revenues and receipts available for payments; and/or the payment of start-up costs and costs of operation and maintenance of any project during construction and for a maximum of one (1) year after completion of construction.

     Proceeds of the money borrowed under this act may be invested in direct obligations of, or obligations the principal of and interest of which are guaranteed by the United States government, or obligations of any agency or instrumentality of the United States government, or in certificates of deposit issued by a bank or trust company located in the State of Mississippi if the certificates of deposit are secured by a pledge of any obligations having an aggregate market value, exclusive of accrued interest, equal at least to the principal amount of the certificates of deposit so secured.

     SECTION 7.  The authority is authorized to enter into lease agreements and related agreements for the use of projects or any portion of projects and may negotiate and enter into the agreements without compliance with the requirements for leasing real property found in Section 21-17-1(2), Mississippi Code of 1972.

     SECTION 8.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.