Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia

Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988

§ 56-535. Title

This chapter may be cited as the "Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988."

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-536. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

"Certificate" means the certificate of authority awarded pursuant to this chapter which allows operation of a roadway.

"Commission" means the State Corporation Commission.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Transportation.

"Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature open to the use of the public under the provisions of this chapter for purposes of vehicular travel in this Commonwealth.

"Operation" means all functions and pursuits of the operator of any roadway under this chapter which are directly or indirectly related to acquisition, approval, construction, enlargement, maintenance, patrolling, toll collections, or connections of the roadway or highway with any other highway or with any street, road or alley. This term shall also include, without limitation, management and administrative functions attendant to actual physical operation of the roadway and management of the affairs of the operator.

"Operator" means the person who submits to the Commission an application for authority to construct, operate or enlarge a roadway, and which, after issuance of a certificate of authority, is responsible for operation of any roadway under the provisions of this chapter.

"Person" includes any natural person, corporation, partnership, joint venture, and any other business entity; however, "person" shall not include the state or any local government or agency thereof, or any municipal corporation or other corporate body.

"Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the shoulder. A highway may include two or more roadways if divided by a physical barrier or barriers or unpaved areas. "Roadway," as used in this chapter, shall include only privately owned or operated highways for use of which a toll or similar single-use charge is imposed.

"Toll" means the fee charged by the operator for a single use of all or a portion of the roadway.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-537. Construction of highways and use of public funds in the public interest

The General Assembly finds that there is a compelling public need for rapid construction of safe and efficient highways for the purpose of travel within the Commonwealth, and that it is in the public interest to encourage construction of additional, safe, convenient, and economic highway facilities by private parties, provided that adequate safeguards are provided against default in the construction and operation obligations of the operators of roadways. The public interest shall include without limitation the relative speed of the construction of the project and the relative cost efficiency of private construction of the project. The General Assembly further finds that the use of public funds for the purposes set out in this section is in the public interest and that this chapter is necessary for the public convenience, safety, and welfare.

1988, c. 649; 1993, c. 732; 2022, c. 234.

§ 56-538. Prerequisite for construction and operation

No person may construct, operate or enlarge any roadway, as defined in § 56-536, within the Commonwealth without first having obtained a certificate of authority from the Commission authorizing such construction, operation or enlargement.

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-539. Certificate of authority

A. Any person may apply to the Commission for a certificate of authority to construct or operate a roadway, or to extend or enlarge a roadway for which a certificate has been issued under this chapter. If the Commission determines in writing, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, that the application is complete, that approval of the application is in the public interest, and that the applicant has complied with the provisions of this chapter, it shall approve the application, with or without modification, unless it receives a duly adopted resolution of the governing body of any jurisdiction through which the roadway passes, which requests that the Commission deny the application, in which case the Commission shall do so. If the application is approved the operator shall construct the roadway. Upon completion of construction and the opening of the roadway to the public, the roadway shall be kept at all times open for use by the public and made accessible to the public, upon payment of the toll established by the operator; provided that the roadway may be partially or completely closed, temporarily, with the concurrence of the Department, to protect the public safety or for reasonable construction or maintenance procedures. The certificate of authority may be transferred with the approval of the Commission if the Commission finds the transfer to be in the public interest after consultation with the Board and notice to the governing body of any jurisdiction through which the roadway passes.

B. When applying to the Commission for a transfer, extension, or amendment of a certificate of authority, the applicant shall provide the Commission with sufficient information to demonstrate the financial fitness of the entity applying to operate the roadway or, in the case of a transfer, the transferee, including:

1. The operating entity's or transferee's balance sheet and income statement for the most recent fiscal year and any published financial information, including the most recent federal Securities and Exchange Commission Forms 10-K and 10-Q. If such information is not available, the applicant shall submit other financial information demonstrating the financial fitness of the proposed operating entity or transferee or any other entity that provides financial resources to the operating entity or transferee.

2. Proof of a minimum bond rating of "BBB-" or higher or an equivalent rating by a major rating agency, or a guarantee with a guarantor possessing a credit rating of "BBB-" or higher from a major rating agency. If such proof is not available, the applicant shall submit similar documentation to what would be submitted to a major credit rating agency to demonstrate the operating entity's or transferee's creditworthiness.

The Commission shall not approve a transfer, extension, or amendment of a certificate of authority unless the Commission receives such information and determines that the proposed operating entity or transferee is financially fit to do so.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 349, 350.

§ 56-540. Application

The Commission may charge a reasonable application fee to cover the costs of processing, reviewing, and approving or denying the application. The application for a certificate of authority shall contain the following material and information:

1. The geographic area to be served by the roadway and a topographic map indicating the route of the roadway;

2. A list of the property owners through whose property the roadway or highway will pass or whose property will abut the roadway or highway;

3. The method by which the operator will secure all right-of-way required for the roadway, including a description of the nature of the interest in the lands to be acquired, which shall provide, at a minimum, for permanent dedication for transportation purposes, except that in cases in which the Department would not have authority to condemn land because of the identity of the owner, the interest to be acquired shall be of the same type and duration as that which the Department would obtain under the circumstances;

4. The comprehensive plan or plans for all counties, cities, and towns through which the roadway will pass and an analysis which shows that the roadway conforms to these comprehensive plans. To the extent that the roadway conforms to such plans, the fact that the operator is not the Commonwealth shall not affect the construction and operation of the roadway;

5. The operator's plan for financing the proposed construction or enlargement of the roadway, including proposed tolls to be charged for use of the roadway, projected amounts to be collected from such tolls and anticipated traffic volume and detailed plans for distribution of funds, including the priority in which necessary expenditures will be made. The plan for financing may be structured to include, without limitation, provisions for the issuance of debt, equity, or other securities, lease financing, the pledge of revenues or other assets or rights of the operator, or any combination thereof;

6. The operator's plan for operation of the proposed roadway or enlargement thereof;

7. A list of all permits and approvals required for construction of the roadway from local, state, or federal agencies and a schedule for securing such approvals;

8. An overall description of the project, the project design, and all proposed interconnections with the state highway system, including any interstate highway, or secondary system of highways or the streets or roads of any county, city, or town not within the state highway system, accompanied by a copy of the approval of the project, the roadway design and interconnections from the Board, as well as the county, city, or town for connection with a street or road not under state control;

9. A list of public utility facilities to be crossed and plans for such crossings or relocations of such facilities;

10. A certificate of the operator that the roadway will be designed and constructed to meet Department standards, and substantially in accordance with a proposed timetable which is agreeable to the Department, and that the operator will provide a design, review, and inspection agreement with the Department which shall provide that the Department shall authorize construction upon review and approval of the plans and specifications for the roadway and its interconnection with other roads, and that it shall inspect periodically the progress of the construction work to ensure its compliance with the Department standards; and

11. Completion and performance bonds in form and amount satisfactory to the Commission, which amounts shall be set after consultation with the Department.

1988, c. 649; 1990, c. 180; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-541. Eminent domain

The power of eminent domain shall not be exercised by the operator for the purpose of acquiring any lands or estates or interests therein, nor any other property used by the operator for the construction or enlargement of a roadway pursuant to this chapter.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-542. Powers of the Commission

A. As used in this section:

"CPI" means the Consumer Price Index — U.S. City Averages for All Urban Consumers, All Items (not seasonally adjusted) as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; however, if the CPI is modified such that the base year of the CPI changes, the CPI shall be converted in accordance with the conversion factor published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and if the CPI is discontinued or revised, such other historical index or computation approved by the Commission shall be used for purposes of this section that would obtain substantially the same result as would have been obtained if the CPI had not been discontinued or revised.

"Materially discourage use" means to cause a decrease in traffic of three or more percentage points based on either a change in potential toll road users or a change in traffic attributable to the toll rate charged as validated by (i) an investment-grade travel demand model that takes population growth into consideration or (ii) in the case of an investigation into current toll rates, an actual traffic study that takes population growth into consideration.

"Real GDP" means the Annual Real Gross Domestic Product as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

B. The Commission shall have the power to regulate the operator under this title as a public service corporation. The Commission shall also have the power, and be charged with the duties of reviewing and approving or denying the application, of supervising and controlling the operator in the performance of its duties under this chapter and title, and of correcting any abuse in the performance of the operator's public duties.

C. Pursuant to § 56-36, the Commission shall require annually from the operator a verified report describing the nature of its contractual and other relationships with individuals or entities contracting with the operator for the provision of significant financial, construction, or maintenance services. The Commission shall review the report and such other materials as it shall deem necessary for the purpose of determining improper or excessive costs, and shall exclude from the operator's costs any amounts which it finds are improper or excessive. Included in such review shall be consideration of contractual relationships between the operator and individuals or entities that are closely associated or affiliated with the operator to assure that the terms of such contractual relationships are no less favorable or unfavorable to the operator than what it could obtain in an arm's-length transaction.

D. The Commission also shall have the duty and authority to approve or revise the toll rates charged by the operator. Initial rates shall be approved if they appear reasonable to the user in relation to the benefit obtained, not likely to materially discourage use of the roadway, and provide the operator no more than a reasonable return as determined by the Commission. Thereafter, the Commission, upon application, complaint or its own initiative, and after investigation, may order substituted for any toll being charged by the operator, a toll which is set at a level which is reasonable to the user in relation to the benefit obtained and which will not materially discourage use of the roadway by the public and which will provide the operator no more than a reasonable return as determined by the Commission. Any proposed toll rates that fail to meet these criteria as determined by the Commission are contrary to the public interest, and the Commission shall not approve such toll rates.

Any application to increase toll rates shall include a forward-looking analysis that demonstrates that the proposed toll rates will be reasonable to the user in relation to the benefit obtained, not likely to materially discourage use of the roadway, and provide the operator no more than a reasonable return. Such forward-looking analysis shall include reasonable projections of anticipated traffic levels, including the impact of social and economic conditions anticipated during the time period that the proposed toll rates would be in effect. The Department shall review and provide comments upon the analysis to the Commission. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commission shall not approve more than one year of toll rate increases proposed by the operator.

E. If a change in the ownership of the facility or change in control of an operator occurs, whether or not accompanied by the issuance of securities as defined in subsection A of § 56-57 and § 56-65.1, the Commission, in any subsequent proceeding to set the level of a toll charged by the operator, shall ensure that the price paid in connection with the change in ownership or control, and any costs and other factors attributable to or resulting from the change in ownership or control, if they would contribute to an increase in the level of the toll, are excluded from the Commission's determination of the operator's reasonable return, in order to ensure that a change in ownership or control does not increase the level of the toll above that level that would otherwise have been required under subsection D if the change in ownership or control had not occurred. As used in this subsection, "control" has the same meaning as provided in § 56-88.1.

F. Pursuant to § 56-36, the Commission shall require an operator to provide copies of annual audited financial statements for the operator, together with a statement of the operator's ownership. The operator shall file such statement within four months from the end of the operator's fiscal year.

G. The proceeds and funding provided to the operator from any future bond indenture or similar credit agreement must be used for the purpose of refinancing existing debt, acquiring, designing, permitting, building, constructing, improving, equipping, modifying, maintaining, reconstructing, restoring, rehabilitating, or renewing the roadway property, and for the purpose of paying reasonable arm's-length fees, development costs, and expenses incurred by the operator or a related individual or entity in executing such financial transaction, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission.

H. The Commission may charge a reasonable annual fee to cover the costs of supervision and controlling the operator in the performance of its duties under this chapter and pursuant to this section.

I. Any agreement between the operator and the Department made pursuant to this chapter shall not be construed to alter the duties, obligations, or powers of the Commission set forth in this chapter.

J. Prior to refinancing existing debt, an operator shall petition the Commission for approval to refinance such debt. The Commission may approve such petition only if the operator demonstrates (i) that it has the financial capability to pay off the debt incurred in the refinancing over the term of the bond, loan, or similar instrument; (ii) that the term of the bond, loan, or similar instrument does not extend beyond the expiration of the operator's current certificate of authority; (iii) that such refinancing will not increase toll rates; and (iv) that such refinancing is in the public interest.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272; 2008, cc. 841, 844; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 349, 350.

§ 56-543. Powers and duties of roadway operator

A. The operator shall have all power allowed by law generally to persons having the same form of organization as the operator, including, without limitation, the authority to operate the roadway and charge tolls for the use thereof, and may pledge any revenue net of operational expenses realized from tolls charged for the use of the roadway in order to secure repayment of any obligations incurred for the construction, enlargement or operation of such roadway. Any financing of the acquisition, construction, enlargement, or operation of the roadway may be in such amounts and upon such terms and conditions as may be deemed necessary or appropriate by the operator to provide for the acquisition, construction, enlargement, and operation of the roadway, issuance costs, other financing obligations, and reasonable reserves. The Commonwealth shall not obligate its full faith and credit on any financing of the operator. Assumption of operation of the project shall not obligate the Commonwealth to pay any obligation of the operator whether secured or otherwise, from sources other than toll revenue. Subject to applicable permit requirements, the operator shall have the authority to cross any canal or navigable watercourse so long as the crossing does not unreasonably interfere with navigation and use of the waterway. In operating the roadway, the operator may:

1. Classify traffic according to reasonable categories for assessment of tolls; and

2. With the consent of the Department, make and enforce reasonable regulations, including regulations:

a. Which set maximum and minimum speeds that shall conform to Department and state practices;

b. Which exclude undesirable vehicles or cargoes or materials from the use of the roadway; or

c. Which establish commuter lanes for use during all or any part of a day and limit the use of such lanes to certain traffic.

3. The enumeration of powers in this subsection shall not limit the power of the operator to do anything it deems necessary and appropriate in the operation of the roadway, provided that the practice is reasonable and nondiscriminatory. The powers granted to the operator in this subsection shall not be deemed to limit the authority of the Commission to regulate the operator under this title.

B. The operator shall have the following duties:

1. It shall file and maintain at all times with the Commission an accurate schedule of rates charged to the public for use of all or any portion of the roadway and it shall also file and maintain a statement that such rates will apply uniformly to all users within any such reasonable classification as the operator may elect to implement. These rates shall be neither applied nor collected in a discriminatory fashion, and free vehicular passage shall be permitted to those persons referred to in subsection A of § 33.2-613.

2. It shall construct and maintain the roadway for anticipated use according to appropriate standards of the Department for public highways operated and maintained by the Department, and enlarge or expand the road when unsatisfied demand for use of the roadway makes it economically feasible to do so. The operator shall agree with the Department for inspection of construction work by the Department at appropriate times during any construction or enlargement. In addition, it shall cooperate fully with the Department in establishing any interconnection with the roadway that the Department may make.

3. It shall contract with the Commonwealth for enforcement of the traffic and public safety laws by state authorities, and may similarly contract with appropriate local authorities for those portions of the roadway within the local jurisdiction.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272; 1993, c. 732.

§ 56-544. Board approval; inspection agreement with Department

A. The applicant for a certificate of authority to construct or enlarge a roadway pursuant to this chapter shall first secure the approval of the Board for the project, the project construction costs, the location and design of the roadway, and its connection with any road under the jurisdiction of the Board, at proper and convenient places, in order to provide for the convenience of the public. The Board shall approve or deny approval by the later to occur of (i) sixty days following receipt of a description of the proposed location and design of the roadway and its connection with all other roads, or (ii) forty-five days following the conduct of a hearing contemplated by subsection B of § 33.2-208, if such a hearing is held and provided that the notice requirements of that section are fulfilled by the Department within thirty days of receipt of the application, a project design, and a description of the project and the public need for the project. The Board shall approve the project and its interconnections with other roads if there is a public need for a road project of the type proposed and the project and its interconnections are compatible with the existing road network. It shall approve the project construction costs if they are reasonable. If interconnections with an interstate highway or other federal facility are contemplated, the Board's approval shall be conditioned upon ultimate approval of any interconnection if such federal approvals are required and have not been obtained by the time the Board acts. Approval of the roadway design shall not be withheld if it conforms materially with Department practices for toll facilities of similar size and with similar usage patterns. In making its determinations, the Board shall keep in mind the public interest, which may include, without limitation, such considerations as the relative speed of the construction of the project and the allocation of the technical, financial and human resources of the Department. The approval granted by the Board shall be conditioned upon subsequent compliance by the applicant with the agreement contemplated by subsection B of this section. If the roadway is to be built partially or completely along existing state highway right-of-way, the Board shall grant the applicant authority to use such right-of-way only after approval of this use of the right-of-way by the General Assembly.

B. If approval of the project, project design, and connections of the roadway is granted by the Board, the Department shall thereafter enter into a comprehensive agreement with the operator which provides, inter alia, that the Department shall review and approve plans and specifications for the roadway if they conform to state practices; that the Department will inspect and approve construction of the roadway if it conforms to the plans and specifications or state construction and engineering standards; that the Department will, throughout the life of the roadway project, monitor the maintenance practices of the operator and take such actions as are appropriate to ensure the performance of maintenance obligations; and that the Department shall be reimbursed its direct project costs, by the operator, for the services performed by the Department. The agreement shall also provide, inter alia, that the operator will establish and fund accounts which shall ensure that funds are available to meet the obligations of the operator; including reasonable reserves for contingencies and maintenance replacement activities. The approval of plans and specifications, and construction may be undertaken in phases, but no construction may commence until approval of plans including that phase of construction. The services for which the Department shall be reimbursed include project development costs, such as those attendant to preparation of environmental impact statements, which are necessary for the construction of the roadway by a private operator but have been performed by the Department. The agreement may include a provision that the Department will perform services necessary for project development on behalf of the operator, and in such a case, the Department shall be fully reimbursed by the operator for its direct costs.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-545. Insurance; sovereign immunity

Any operator who constructs, operates or enlarges a roadway pursuant to this chapter shall secure and maintain a policy or policies of public liability insurance in form and amount satisfactory to the Commission and sufficient to insure coverage of tort liability to the public and employees, and to enable the continued operation of the roadway. Proofs of coverage and copies of policies shall be filed with the Commission. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as or deemed a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the Commonwealth with respect to its participation or approval of all or any part of the roadway application or operation, including but not limited to interconnection of the roadway with the state highway system. Counties, cities and towns through which a roadway passes shall possess sovereign immunity with respect to roadway construction and operation.

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-546. Local approvals

A. Prior to the issuance of a certificate of authority by the Commission and contemporaneously with the filing of any application materials with the Commission, the applicant shall provide the local governing body of each jurisdiction through which any part of the roadway passes with the application information and materials required by § 56-540 and an overall description of the project and its benefits. The governing body may participate in procedures conducted by the Board or the Commission concerning the application.

B. When the operator wishes to occupy lands owned by any county, city, town, or any agency or instrumentality of the federal government, including the streets or alleys of a city or town, or the roads of any county, it shall first obtain a franchise allowing such occupancy or it may obtain the necessary interests through grant or other appropriate conveyance to the operator for a period of time, in the case of a franchise, not to exceed the term of the certificate.

C. Where the applicant wishes to interconnect with the streets of any city or town, or the road system of any county, and the locality is willing to allow the interconnection, it shall submit appropriate plans for the connection to the governing body, which shall approve the connection if it determines that the connection meets all appropriate engineering requirements.

D. The operator and the county, city, or town may also agree on any supplemental or related matters in addition to the matters specified in § 15.2-2026, according to such terms and conditions as are reasonable, appropriate, and in the public interest, and any such county, city, or town is hereby enabled to enter into such an agreement.

E. Prior to commencement of construction, the operator shall survey and plat the right-of-way in accordance with local requirements.

1988, c. 649; 1990, c. 180.

§ 56-547. Utility crossings

The applicant shall include in the application a list of public utility facilities and rights-of-way to be crossed or otherwise affected in the construction of the roadway and a plan and schedule for such crossings. The operator and each public utility whose works are to be crossed or affected shall each have the duty to cooperate fully with the other in planning and arranging of the manner of the crossing or relocation of the facilities. Any public service corporation possessing the powers of eminent domain is hereby expressly granted such powers in connection with the moving or relocation of facilities to be crossed by the roadway or which must be relocated to the extent that such moving or relocation is made necessary by construction of the roadway, which shall be construed to include construction of temporary facilities for the purpose of providing service during the period of construction. Should the applicant or operator and the public utility whose facilities are to be crossed or relocated not be able to agree upon a plan for such crossing or any necessary relocation, either party may request the Commission to inquire into the need for the crossing or relocation and to decide whether such crossing or relocation should be compelled, and if so, the manner in which such crossing or relocation is to be accomplished and any damages due either party arising out of the crossing or relocation. The Commission may in its discretion employ expert engineers who shall examine the location and plans for such crossing or relocation, hear any objections and consider modifications, and make a recommendation to the Commission. In such a case, the cost of the experts is to be borne equally by the applicant and the public utility, unless the Commission determines that it would be unjust, in which case the cost shall be borne as the Commission decides. Railroads shall be included within the scope of the term "public utility" for purposes of this section.

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-548. Highway and roadway crossings

No crossing of a railway, highway, street, road or alley shall be at grade, but shall pass above or below the railway, highway, street, road, or alley, and such crossings are hereby permitted, subject to the provisions of this chapter.

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-549. Default

In the event of material and continuing default in the performance of the operator's construction or operation duties or failure of the operator to comply with the terms of its agreement with the Department, in either case, after notice thereof and an opportunity to cure, or in the event that construction has not begun within two years of the issuance of a certificate, the Commission, after a hearing in which the applicant or operator has notice and opportunity to participate, may revoke the certificate of authority for the roadway, declare a default in the construction or operation of the roadway, and make or cause to be made the appropriate claim or claims under any completion or performance bonds, or take such other action as it may deem appropriate under the circumstances. The Department may participate in or initiate such proceedings. In case of revocation of a certificate, the applicant or operator shall thereafter be without any authority to construct or operate the roadway, and the Department may take over construction and operation of the roadway, and may proceed thereafter to take any steps which are in the public interest, including completion of construction or additions to the roadway, closing the roadway, or any intermediate step. The Department shall receive the full proceeds of any payments due to claims against bonding companies or sureties for this purpose. In addition, in such event, the operator shall grant to the Department all of its right, title and interest in the assets of the operator. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the Department's exercise of the power of eminent domain. In either case, the operator may obtain compensation from the Department for such assets, except that the Department shall first deduct from the value of such assets all of its costs incurred in connection with completion or fulfillment of the unperformed obligations of the operator including the payment of any obligations assumed by the Department, and any other costs associated with the events contemplated in this section. The Department shall take into account moneys received from the proceeds of any payment or completion bond in calculating the amount due the operator.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-550. Police powers; violations of law

A. The roadways and highways constructed or operated under this chapter may be policed in whole or in part by officers of the Department of State Police, even though all or some portion of any such projects lie within the corporate limits of a municipality or other political subdivision, and just as if the roadway and highway were a part of the state highway system. The operator and the Department of State Police shall agree upon reasonable terms and conditions pursuant to which the activities contemplated in this section may take place. Such officers shall be under the exclusive control and direction of the Superintendent of State Police and shall be responsible for the preservation of public peace, prevention of crime, apprehension of criminals, protection of the rights of persons and property, and enforcement of the laws of the Commonwealth, within the limits of any highway and roadway. All other police officers of the Commonwealth and of each county, city, town or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth through which any roadway, or portion thereof, extends shall have the same powers and jurisdiction within the limits of such roadways and highways as they have beyond such limits and shall have access to the highway and roadway at any time for the purpose of exercising such powers and jurisdiction. This authority does not extend to the private offices, buildings, garages and other improvements of the operator to any greater degree than the police power extends to any other private buildings and improvements.

B. The traffic and motor vehicle laws of the Commonwealth shall apply to persons and motor vehicles on the roadway or highway, as shall Chapter 8 (§ 33.2-800 et seq.) of Title 33.2, and the powers of arrest of police officers shall be the same as those applying to conduct on the state highway system. Punishment for offenses shall be as prescribed by law for conduct occurring on the state highway system.

1988, c. 649.

§ 56-551. Termination of certificate; dedication of assets

Within ninety days of the completion and closing of the original permanent financing, the operator shall provide full details of the financing, including the terms of all bonds, to the Commission; and shall certify the term of the original permanent financing and its termination date. The Commission may require that the operator provide copies of any relevant documents, and shall review the financing and determine the date of termination of the original permanent financing. After establishing this date, the Commission shall enter an order terminating the operator's authority pursuant to the certificate of authority on a date which shall be ten years from the end of the term of the original permanent financing. At the request of the operator or the Department, or on its own initiative, the Commission may revise its order to modify the date for termination of the certificate of authority in order to take into account any refinancing of the original permanent financing, where the refinancing or modification is in the public interest, or any refinancing for the purpose of expansion, or early termination of the original permanent financing. Upon the termination of the certificate of authority, the authority and duties of the operator under this chapter shall cease, and the highway assets and improvements of the operator shall be dedicated to the Commonwealth for highway purposes.

1988, c. 649; 1991, c. 272.

§ 56-552. Improvement Fund

There shall be a fund established by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, from the toll revenues described in this section, for the purpose of funding transportation improvements which are related to or affected by the toll road. Toll rates shall be set in multiples of five cents; however, the Commission shall order that that percentage of each toll by which the toll established exceeds that necessary to provide the operator with an amount necessary to meet the operator's obligations under § 56-543 and earn a reasonable return shall be committed to the fund. In addition the operator, the Board, and the local governments through which the road passes may jointly petition the Commission to establish an additional toll amount to be committed to this fund.

1988, c. 649.