Highway Law Section 254
Acquisition of certain toll bridges at the expense of the state
1.If a toll bridge for the traffic of vehicles and foot passengers is located on a state highway or constitutes a connecting link between two state routes as described in § 341 (Designation of state highways)section three hundred forty-one of this chapter, or constitutes a part of a state route and is included in the description thereof, or constitutes a connecting link between improved state highways or constitutes a connecting link between a state highway heretofore improved and a state highway which is indicated for improvement by section three hundred forty-one, the board of supervisors of the county in which such bridge is situated, or if situated in two counties the boards of supervisors of such counties concurrently, may, by resolution, petition the department of transportation for the acquisition of such bridge by the state pursuant to this section. Within ten days after the passage of such resolution the clerk or clerks of the board or boards of supervisors shall transmit certified copies thereof to the department of transportation together with an estimate of the probable cost of acquiring the same and any data in relation to the value thereof which the board or boards of supervisors may secure.
2.The commissioner of transportation shall upon receipt of such resolution or concurrent resolution, and within three months thereafter, investigate and determine whether the public interest demand the acquisition of such bridge by the state and shall also within said three months approve or disapprove of such resolution and if such resolution be approved shall prepare an estimate of the probable cost of acquiring such bridge. If such resolution be disapproved the department of transportation shall certify its reason therefor to such board or boards of supervisors.
3.If it be approved the department of transportation is hereby authorized and empowered to agree with the corporation owning the said bridge upon the compensation which shall be made to it for the said bridge and its appurtenances, its franchises, its rights for the maintenance and use of said bridge, and any and all damage which shall result to said corporation so owning the said bridge by reason of the taking of such structure, and such agreement shall be reduced to writing and executed by the department of transportation in the name of the people of the state of New York and by the corporation owning the said bridge, and filed in the office of the comptroller of the state of New York.
4.In the event that no agreement is reached between the said department of transportation and the corporation owning the said bridge for such purchase as aforesaid, the department of transportation shall certify its approval to the attorney general and transmit to him the estimate made by the department of transportation of the probable cost of acquiring such toll bridge, franchises and rights, and the amount of any and all damage incurred by such acquisition, together with all data the department of transportation may have in its possession in relation thereto.
5.Upon the receipt of such certificate of approval, if and when sufficient money shall have been appropriated by the state therefor, the attorney general shall acquire in the name of the people of the state in accordance with the provisions of the eminent domain procedure law, title to such bridge and the franchise therof; and, in such event, such corporation shall have pursuant to the eminent domain procedure law the right to prosecute in the court of claims which shall have jurisdiction in the premises, any claim which it may have for damages for the takings of its said property.
6.The amount agreed upon between the said department of transportation and the said corporation, pursuant to such agreement so filed as aforesaid, or if no agreement be reached, the amount so determined by the court, shall be paid by the department of taxation and finance upon the warrant of the comptroller out of the moneys appropriated for such purpose. Until payment to such corporation be made after such agreement of the amount therein agreed to be paid or upon acquisition, unless the commissioner of transportation shall enter upon and take possession of such property as provided by this section, until the amount so determined by the court of claims in such acquisition proceedings, the corporation owning the said bridge shall be entitled to continue in possession and use thereof and of all the rights, privileges and franchises enjoyed by it in connection therewith, but upon such payment being made such bridge and all rights and franchises in connection therewith shall become the property of the state of New York and shall be maintained by the state as a free bridge and as a part of the state system of highways.
7.If such bridge be acquired by the state pursuant to this section the same shall not be used except as hereinafter provided by any railroad, telephone, gas, electric light, heat or power company or any other public service corporation for any purpose except upon such reasonable terms and the payment of such reasonable rental to the state as shall be determined by the department of transportation. The money received therefor shall be paid into the state treasury and so much thereof as may be needed appropriated for the maintenance of such bridge. The provisions of this section, however, shall not affect any existing contract for the use of such bridge by any corporation except that the compensation provided for such use in such existing contract shall be paid to the state.
8.Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if any such bridge be owned by a domestic corporation carrying on the business of operating a railroad and which operates cars thereover, the department of transportation in entering into such agreement or the commissioners in condemnation in making such appraisal and fixing such damages as aforesaid may take into consideration any bonds outstanding of such corporation which may have been authorized by the department of transportation or the predecessor thereof, to be issued by such corporation for the purchase of said bridge and its franchises or the stock of any corporation formerly owning the said bridge, and shall fix and determine in making such appraisal the amount of any and all damage which will result to such corporation so owning such bridge by reason of the taking of the said bridge and its rights and franchises in connection therewith and such corporation when said bridge shall have been acquired and such compensation paid, and its successors, shall be permitted to continue to use said structure upon payment of such reasonable rental to the state for such use as shall be determined by the department of transportation, and further provided that if such corporation, or any successor thereof, should desire to use other parts or decks of such bridge or to make such use thereof as would require the strengthening, reconstruction or change of the said bridge or its approaches, or the building of new approaches to the said bridge, such corporation or its successors may make such use thereof and strengthen, reconstruct or make such changes in the said bridge or its approaches or build new approaches to the said bridge and use the same in such manner upon filing with the department of transportation detailed plans for the proposed new use thereof, or for the strengthening, reconstruction of or changes in the said bridge or its approaches or for the building of new approaches to the said bridge, and upon obtaining the approval of such use and plans by the department of transportation and upon payment of such further reasonable rental to the state for any such additional use of said structure or such approaches as shall be determined by the department of transportation; provided further that the entire cost of any such strengthening, reconstruction, additions or changes of the said bridge or its approaches shall be paid exclusively by the corporation making such use of said bridge and shall be deemed to be an expenditure for capital purposes of such corporation paying the same for all purposes whatsoever. Any such corporation using such bridge at the time of the acquisition thereof by the state shall not be debarred from continuing such use by reason of such acquisition; but the failure or refusal to comply with such terms or to pay such rental shall forfeit the right of such corporation to use such bridge, and the department of transportation is hereby authorized and empowered to close such bridge to the use of such offending corporation.
9.Any act or failure to act on the part of the department of transportation as in this section provided shall be reviewable by the supreme court of this state in the manner provided by article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules.
Section 254 — Acquisition of certain toll bridges at the expense of the state,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/HAY/254 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Nov. 25, 2023).