§5B-2-9a. Powers and duties of Commissioner of the Division of Tourism and Tourism Commission for improving Cardinal Passenger Train Service; declaration of public policy and Legislative intent.
(a) It is hereby declared the public policy of the State of West Virginia and the intent of the Legislature to facilitate, advance and improve the availability of interstate passenger rail service to the state, the contributions of such service to local tourism development including the Boy Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County, the marketing of such services for both interstate rail travel for the benefit of the state’s citizens, businesses and local tourism and to improve the quality and frequency of such service, including the provision of a daily passenger train service at the earliest opportunity, of the Cardinal Passenger Train operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as AMTRAK, on railroad lines crossing the south-central region of the state from Huntington eastward to White Sulphur Springs, being that same route historically and continuously used by the passenger train and its predecessors since the year 1871.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the Commissioner of the Division of Tourism, with the advice of the tourism commission, and under the supervision of the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, is authorized and directed to coordinate and supervise the activities of the state, to coordinate and cooperate with the political subdivisions and municipalities of the state, to cooperate with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and with the other states served by the Cardinal Passenger Train to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The commissioner is authorized to conduct such studies, and make such investigations, as may be reasonable and appropriate to advance the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The commissioner is hereby authorized to enter into contracts and memoranda of understanding with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, with the other states served by the Cardinal Passenger Train, and with the political subdivisions and municipalities of this state, to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The commissioner is further authorized to cooperate with the aforesaid other states and National Railroad Passenger Corporation in the formation of an interstate committee for the purpose of achieving the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section, to participate in said committee and appoint other designees thereto.
(d) In the exercise of their powers and duties under this section, the commissioner and tourism commission shall consult with the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia State Rail Authority. The West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia State Rail Authority shall cooperate with the commissioner and the tourism commission, and shall provide the commissioner and tourism commission with such reasonable and necessary assistance as may be possible based on available staff and funds to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section.
(e) There is hereby created a special revenue account, designated the “Cardinal Passenger Train Enhancement Fund” into which all moneys intended to advance the purposes of this section shall be deposited. Moneys in this account shall be expended solely for the public policy and purposes set forth in this section. Funds paid into this account may also be derived from the following sources: (1) All interest or return on investment accruing to this account; (2) any gifts, grants, bequests, transfers, appropriations or other donations which may be received from any governmental entity or unit or any person, firm, foundation, or corporation; and (3) any appropriations by the Legislature which may be made for the purposes of this section. Any balance including accrued interest and other earnings at the end of any fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the fund for the purposes set forth in this section. The moneys in the fund shall be paid out, at the sole discretion and direction of the commissioner, to advance the purposes of this section.