(a) The authority shall have the following powers:
(1) To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business.
(2) To adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure.
(3) To maintain a principal office and branch offices at the place or places within the state as it may designate.
(4) To sue and be sued in its own name, including suits in tort.
(5) With the consent and approval of the department, to acquire and construct toll road, bridge, or tunnel projects at locations as the authority may determine to be desirable, practicable, and economically feasible and to maintain, repair, and operate the projects.
(6) To issue toll road, bridge, or tunnel revenue bonds of the authority for any of its corporate purposes, payable solely from its tolls, other revenues, and proceeds of the bonds, and to refund its bonds, all as provided in this article. No bonds issued under the provisions of this article shall constitute a debt or liability of the state or of any political subdivision thereof or a pledge of the faith and credit of the state or of any such political subdivision, and neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall ever pay or agree to pay any portion of the same, but such bonds shall be payable solely from the funds pledged or available for their payment as authorized in this article. All such toll road, bridge, or tunnel revenue bonds shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the authority is obligated to pay the same or the interest thereon only from its tolls or other revenues and that neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof is obligated to pay the same or the interest thereon and that neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the state or of any political subdivision thereof is pledged to the payment of the principal thereof or the interest thereon. The federal government or any agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, subdivision or instrumentality thereof, or public corporation may contribute funds or property of any kind to a project by appropriation, grant, lease, deed, or other means considered appropriate for the purpose of paying in whole or in part any bonds, paying the costs of acquiring, installing, or constructing improvements in whole or in part, or funding in whole or in part any other costs or expenses of a project, all without election of any kind. Except for the state and any political subdivision thereof, the other entities listed above may issue bonds for the purpose of financing the costs of any funds or property provided to the authority of a project.
(7) To fix and revise, from time to time, charge, and collect tolls for transit over or through toll road, bridge, and tunnel projects constructed by it or on its behalf.
(8) To establish rules and regulations for the use of any project.
(9) To acquire, hold, and dispose of real and personal property.
(10) To acquire in the name of the authority, by purchase or otherwise, on the terms and conditions and in a manner as it may deem proper, or by condemnation in accordance with the provisions of Title 18, and other provisions of law, insofar as the same may be applicable, any land and other property or any easement or interest therein, which it may determine is reasonably necessary for any toll road, bridge, or tunnel project or for its protection and preservation, or for the construction, relocation, or reconstruction of any access highway, street, or road; and to acquire by purchase or by condemnation, land necessary for drainage ditches, clay, sand, and gravel pits, and lime and stone quarries, together with any other material of every character that may be necessary in the construction and maintenance of toll road, bridge, or tunnel projects and access highways and roads.
(11) To designate points of ingress to and egress from each toll road, bridge, or tunnel project and to prohibit entrance to and exit from the project at any point or points not so designated.
(12) To make and enter into contracts and agreements necessary for, or incidental to, the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this article, including contracts and agreements for professional services deemed necessary for such purposes by the authority. In addition to and in conjunction with other authority to enter into contracts as may be provided by law, the authority is given full authority to enter into contracts, agreements, or understandings with, but not limited to, individuals, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, or other private parties; public or private partnerships, or both, or other similar joint ventures; or the federal government, any department, agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, public corporation, instrumentality, or subdivision of the United States, the State of Alabama, or any other state of the United States, or any agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, instrumentality, or subdivision thereof for the purpose of developing a project, or any part thereof, including, but not limited to, the following:
a. Design-build contracts, design-build-operate contracts, design-build-own-operate contracts, design-build-own-operate-maintain contracts, or other similar arrangements or agreements pursuant to which the design, right-of-way acquisition, relocation of structures or utilities, construction, financing, ownership, management, and operation, or any part or parts thereof, of a project are accomplished by any of the aforementioned entities by or on behalf of the authority or the department.
b. Leases, licenses, franchises, concessions, or other agreements for the development, operation, management, or undertaking of all or any part of a project.
No person who is related to a member of the authority may have any interest, direct or indirect, in any agreement or contract entered into pursuant to this subdivision or in any other contract related to any project related to a toll road.
(13) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, including, but not limited to, Section 23-2-150, for any entity described in subdivision (12) that owns, leases, or otherwise operates a tollway or toll facility, pursuant to an agreement with the authority or the department, to set and collect tolls and receive other toll revenues from the operation of a tollway or other toll facility, subject to such conditions as the authority and the department may establish.
(14) To appoint managers, superintendents, tolltakers, and other employees and agents as may be necessary, in its judgment, to the efficient accomplishment of the purposes of this article.
(15) To receive and accept from any federal agency, subject to the approval of the Governor, grants for, or in aid of, the construction of any project and to receive and accept aid or contributions from any source of either money, property, labor, or other things of value, to be held, used, and applied only for the purposes for which grants and contributions may be made.
(16) To the extent applicable, provide coverage for its employees under the provisions of Chapter 5 of Title 25, and the federal Social Security Act.
(17) To provide for or permit the payment of so-called pass-through tolls, availability payments, or similar payments or financing methods. Pass-through tolls and availability payments mean, generally, any methodology by which the federal government, the State of Alabama or other state of the United States, or any agency, governmental or quasi-governmental body, public corporation, subdivision, or instrumentality thereof agrees to reimburse or pay a project owner or operator amounts based upon the cost of the project, actual usage of the project, or other operating standards, as opposed to imposing a toll directly on the users.
(18) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted in this article.
(b) The department shall be primarily responsible for administration and management of the planning, construction, and operation of projects under this article. The department is granted all such rights, powers, duties, and responsibilities related thereto and as specifically enumerated in subdivisions (7) to (13), inclusive, of subsection (a) and in Sections 23-2-145, 23-2-146, 23-2-150, 23-2-155, and 23-2-156, together with the power to do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted thereunder. The foregoing powers granted to the department are in addition to powers granted to the department elsewhere under the laws of the State of Alabama.