§17-17-38. Municipal sale of ownership of toll bridges to private toll transportation facility; maintenance of tolls; imposition of liability for collection and payment; tax treatment and divestment.
(a) Sale of municipally owned toll bridge. — Any municipality which owns and operates a toll bridge pursuant to this article may, at the sole discretion of the municipality, and upon adoption of a resolution to such effect by the council of such municipality, sell and convey such toll bridge to a private toll transportation facility subject to such terms and conditions as the council of such municipality may agree.
(b) Privilege to maintain tolls. — Any private toll transportation facility purchasing a municipally-owned toll bridge located fewer than five miles from a toll-free bridge which crosses the same body of water or obstacle pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may retain, modify, and collect any such toll charges for the use thereof on persons and things passing over any such bridge as the facility may, by resolution, from time to time prescribe.
(c) Electronic collection of tolls and imposition of liability for payment. — The collection and enforcement of tolls for the use of any such bridge may be accomplished by electronic toll collection in the same manner and procedures as provided in §17-16D-1 et seq. of this code, and the imposition of liability for payment of such tolls shall apply as set forth specifically in §17-16D-5, §17-16D-6, §17-16D-7, and §17-16D-10 of this code: Provided, That the toll rates provided for in §17-17-9 of this code shall not apply to a private toll transportation facility.
(d) Nonrenewal of vehicle registration. — If an owner of a vehicle has received at least one invoice from a private toll transportation facility for any unpaid tolls and has: (1) failed to pay the unpaid tolls and administrative fees, and (2) failed to file a notice to contest liability for a toll violation as provided for in the invoice, then the private toll transportation facility may notify the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles, who shall, if no form contesting liability has been timely filed with the private toll transportation facility, refuse to register or renew the registration of any vehicle of which the person committing the violation is a registered owner or co-owner until such time as the private toll transportation facility has notified the commissioner that such fees and unpaid tolls have been paid or satisfied.
(e) Tax treatment of municipally owned toll bridge sold to private toll transportation facility. — A municipally owned toll bridge sold to a private transportation facility pursuant to this section shall be considered exempt for purposes of ad valorem property taxation under §11-1-1 et seq. of this code: Provided, That if said exemption is in any way held to be invalid, then the value of a municipally owned toll bridge purchased by a private toll transportation facility, for purposes of ad valorem property taxation under §11-1-1 et seq. of this code, shall in no event be valued at more than its salvage value, which for purposes of this article is the lower of fair market salvage value or five percent of the original cost of the property.
(f) Divestment of private toll bridge. — Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or prevent the subsequent sale, lease, assignment, or transfer of a municipally-owned toll bridge purchased by a private toll transportation facility, provided that all other requirements of this section are met.
(g) Definitions. — For purposes of this section, the term “private toll transportation facility” means any natural person, corporation, general partnership, limited liability company, limited partnership, joint venture, business trust, public benefit corporation, nonprofit entity, or other business entity engaged in the collecting or charging of tolls on a previously municipal-owned toll bridge pursuant to this article.