(a) The authority shall exercise powers and duties necessary to the discharge of its powers and duties in corporate form as follows:
(1) Have succession by its corporate name in perpetuity subject to Section 11-32-20.
(2) Sue and be sued in its own name in civil suits and actions and defend suits against it.
(3) Adopt and make use of a corporate seal and alter the same at its pleasure.
(4) Adopt and alter bylaws for the regulation and conduct of its affairs and business.
(5) Acquire, receive, take, by purchase, gift, lease, devise, or otherwise, and hold property of every description, real, personal, or mixed, whether located in one or more counties or municipalities and whether located within or outside the authorizing county.
(6) Make, enter into, and execute contracts, agreements, leases, and other instruments and take other actions as may be necessary or convenient to accomplish any purpose for which the authority was organized, or exercise any power expressly granted under this chapter. It is further provided that personnel employed and vendors hired with funds provided under this chapter shall reflect the racial and gender percentages within the authorizing county.
(7) Plan, establish, develop, acquire, purchase, lease, construct, reconstruct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, and operate a system for the provision of public transportation service within the authorizing county, or within any other county of the state, and without any requirement that the system be interconnected or otherwise constitute an integrated operational unit.
(8) Acquire real and personal property, franchises, and easements deemed necessary or desirable in connection with the system.
(9) Establish long-range plans and an annual program for public transportation in consultation with plans adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Regional Planning Commission, the plans and programs to be coordinated with the plans for land use and development by counties and municipalities in the geographic area of the authority, in cooperation with the Regional Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization; assure consistency between public transportation plans and related land use policies and plans; and provide for funds sufficient to ensure the planning and consultation as required among the authority, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Regional Planning Commission.
(10) Develop or make grants for development of alternative transportation projects designed to enhance access to public transportation service in furtherance of the goal of improved mobility within the system providing public transportation service and in accordance with Section 134 of Title 23 and Chapter 53 of Title 49 of the United States Code.
(11) Own, operate, finance, and provide public transportation service within the authorizing county or in any part of any other county upon the terms and for rates or other consideration as the board may prescribe.
(12) Provide charter service within the state upon the terms and for the rates or other consideration as the board may prescribe unless prohibited by federal or state law, and use or operate any part of any transportation system owned by the authority in the charter service.
(13) Sell and issue bonds of the authority in order to provide funds for any corporate function, use or purpose, the bonds to be payable solely from the sources specified in Sections 11-32-9 and 11-32-13.
(14) Assume obligations secured by a lien on, or payable out of or secured by a pledge of the revenues from, any transit system or any part thereof, that may be acquired by the authority, any obligation so assumed to be payable by the authority solely from the sources from which bonds of the authority may be made payable pursuant to Sections 11-32-9 and 11-32-13.
(15) Pledge for payment of any bonds issued or obligations assumed by the authority any revenues from which those bonds or obligations are made payable as provided in this chapter.
(16) Execute and deliver, in accordance with Sections 11-32-9 and 11-32-13, mortgages and deeds of trust and trust indentures, or either.
(17) Exercise the power of eminent domain, except as limited by state law, except the authority may not acquire, without the consent of the owner, any transportation system from which public transportation service is currently being furnished. The authority may not by eminent domain acquire any real property or rights owned or held by public or private railroads or utilities.
(18) Expend funds for the purchase or lease of materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property without compliance with Chapter 16 of Title 41.
(19) Appoint, employ, contract with, and provide for the compensation of, officers, employees, and agents, including, but without limitation to, engineers, attorneys, management consultants, fiscal advisers, or other consultants without regard to Chapter 16 of Title 41, or any law establishing a civil service or merit system that might otherwise be applicable, as the business of the authority may deem necessary or desirable, and also provide a system of disability pay, employee insurance, retirement compensation, pensions, or other employee benefit plans as the authority may deem necessary or desirable. This chapter may not be construed to affect the rights and privileges of the employees of the system.
(20) Make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations governing the use of any public transportation service provided by the authority.
(21) Provide for any insurance as the board may deem advisable.
(22) Invest funds of the authority that the board may determine are not presently needed in the operation of its properties in bonds of, or guaranteed by, the United States of America or any agency of the United States, bonds of the state, bonds of any county or municipality, interest-bearing bank deposits, any agreement to repurchase any one or more of the foregoing, any money market fund consisting of any one or more of the foregoing, or any combination thereof.
(23) Cooperate with the United States of America or its agencies or instrumentalities, the state, any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state, and any public corporation organized under the laws of the state and make or receive funds from any of them in the terms as the board may deem advisable or prescribe to make contracts with them, or any of them, as the board deems advisable to accomplish the purposes for which the authority was established.
(24) Sell and convey its properties that may have become obsolete or worn out or that may no longer be needed or useful as a part of any transportation system of the authority.
(25) Sell and convey, with or without valuable consideration, any of its transit systems or any portion of a transit system, to any one or more counties, municipalities, or public corporations organized under the laws of the state, which have the corporate power to operate the system, or portions of a transit system, conveyed, and the property and income of which are not subject to taxation except that the sale and conveyance may be made only of the following:
a. With the consent of the authorizing county, the principal municipality, and each participating municipality, the consent to be evidenced by a resolution adopted by the governing body of each consenting county and municipality.
b. If the conveyance would not constitute a breach of any then outstanding mortgage and deed of trust, trust indenture, or other agreement to which the authority is a party.
(26) Enter into agreements with all or any part of the employees of the authority or with any groups or associations representing the employees.
(27) Enter into a management agreement or agreements with any person for the management by or for the authority of any public transportation service upon any mutually agreeable terms and conditions.
(28) Require that all laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors in the performance of construction work for the authority be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar construction in the locality where the work is performed as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor or any department, agency or instrumentality of the United States or of the state.
(29) If the authority acquires an existing system for the provision of public transportation service, enter into arrangements necessary or desirable to protect the interest of employees of any acquired system including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing:
a. The preservation of rights, privileges, and benefits including continuation of pension rights and benefits under existing agreements.
b. The protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions with respect to their employment.
c. Assurance of employment to the employees of acquired transportation systems, except executives and administrative officers, and priority of reemployment of the employees terminated or laid off.
d. Paid training or retraining programs.
(30) Fix and revise from time to time reasonable rates, fees, and other charges for public transportation service furnished or to be furnished by any system owned or operated by the authority, and collect all charges made by it.
(31) Prepare, adopt, and implement a set of policies that shall govern and set standards for, the conduct of all members of the board and all employees of the authority which shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Provide for penalties for a violation.
b. Prohibit unethical conduct and require each director and employee of the authority to comply with all the provisions of the policy which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the provisions of the code of ethics for public officials and employees as provided for in Chapter 25 of Title 36, and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder by the state Ethics Commission.
c. Allow for the reimbursement of the expenses of directors and employees, subject to any requirements provided in the policy.
d. Provide a method of keeping records for expenses of directors and employees.
e. Regulate business dealings and contracts between the authority and directors or employees of the authority and business dealings between the authority and members of the family of directors or employees of the authority.
(32) Do any and all things necessary to own, operate, facilitate, provide, or promote public transportation services within the authorizing county or any other county of the state.
(b)(1) The board shall establish a separate and independently accountable TCAB. The TCAB shall be established by the board by July 23, 2013. The TCAB shall be composed of persons each of whom is a duly qualified elector of the authorizing county. In addition, the executive director of the authority shall serve as an ex officio nonvoting member of the TCAB. The procedure for making appointments to the TCAB and establishing the terms of the appointments shall be determined by the board in its sole discretion. The procedure shall include the approval of persons appointed to the TCAB by the authorizing county, principal municipality, or participating municipalities. In making appointments to the TCAB the following shall be considered:
a. Representation from all geographic regions served by the authority.
b. Minority representation to reflect the racial, gender, and economic diversity within the geographic regions served by the authority.
c. Representation from users of the system providing public transportation service, paratransit users, and advocates.
The board shall ensure that the authorizing county, the principal municipality, and each participating municipality shall be represented on the TCAB and that the number of representatives of each shall roughly approximate the funding normally provided by each.
(2) The TCAB shall be advisory to the authority and perform the following duties:
a. Serve as a body to advise the authority, the board, and private persons on the development and implementation of policies and programs relating to public transportation, and assist in the coordination of these activities.
b. Adopt bylaws, elect officers including a chair, and establish procedures for its operation within 30 days of its creation; provided, however, that the bylaws for the TCAB shall be subject to approval or amendment by the board.
c. Advise and make recommendations regarding transit development plans, comprehensive operations analysis, annual service, marketing and annual advertising plans developed by the authority.
(3) The board and the TCAB shall meet together at least once every six months at the time and place as shall be mutually agreeable.
(4) The board may, by three-fourths vote of the members of the board, determine to disband and reconstitute the TCAB.
(c) The board shall establish, from time to time, a fiscal year for the authority.
(d) A majority of the directors then in office shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the board for the transaction of business. The act of a majority of the directors present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be an act of the board.
(e) The recovery of damages under any judgment or judgments against the authority shall be limited to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for bodily injury or death for one person in any single occurrence. Recovery of damages under any judgment or judgments against the authority shall be limited to three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) in the aggregate where more than three persons have claims or judgments on account of bodily injury or death arising out of any single occurrence. Recovery of damages under any judgment or judgments against the authority shall be limited to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for damage or loss of property arising out of any single occurrence. The authority may not settle or compromise any claim for bodily injury, death, or property damage for an amount in excess of the amounts stated in this subsection.