- § 525. Construction and operation of bridges
- § 526. Repealed.
- § 526a. Repealed.
- § 527. Acquisition of interstate bridges by public agencies; amount of damages
- § 528. Statement of construction costs of privately owned interstate bridges; investigation of costs; conclusiveness of findings; review
- § 529. Repealed.
- § 530. Bridges included and excluded
- § 531. International bridges
- § 532. Eminent domain
- § 533. Penalties for violations
- § 534. Conveyance of right, title, and interest of United States in bridges transferred to States or political subdivisions; terms and conditions
The consent of Congress is granted for the construction, maintenance, and operation of bridges and approaches thereto over the navigable waters of the United States, in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.
The location and plans for such bridges shall be approved by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating before construction is commenced, and, in approving the location and plans of any bridge, the Secretary may impose any specific conditions relating to the maintenance and operation of the structure which the Secretary may deem necessary in the interest of public navigation, and the conditions so imposed shall have the force of law. This subsection shall not apply to any bridge over waters which are not subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and which are not used and are not susceptible to use in their natural condition or by reasonable improvement as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce.
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), it shall be unlawful to construct or commence the construction of any privately owned highway toll bridge until the location and plans thereof shall also have been submitted to and approved by the highway department or departments of the State or States in which the bridge and its approaches are situated; and where such bridge shall be between two or more States and the highway departments thereof shall be unable to agree upon the location and plans therefor, or if they, or either of them, shall fail or refuse to act upon the location and plans submitted, such location and plans then shall be submitted to the Secretary of Transportation and, if approved by the Secretary of Transportation, approval by the highway departments shall not be required.
After the completion of any interstate toll bridge constructed by an individual, firm, or corporation, as determined by the Secretary of Transportation, either of the States in which the bridge is located, or any public agency or political subdivision of either of such States, within or adjoining which any part of such bridge is located, or any two or more of them jointly, may at any time acquire and take over all right, title, and interest in such bridge and its approaches, and any interest in real property for public purposes by condemnation or expropriation. If at any time after the expiration of five years after the completion of such bridge the same is acquired by condemnation or expropriation, the amount of damages or compensation to be allowed shall not include good will, going value, or prospective revenues or profits, but shall be limited to the sum of (1) the actual cost of constructing such bridge and its approaches, less a reasonable deduction for actual depreciation in value; (2) the actual costs of acquiring such interests in real property; (3) actual financing and promotion costs, not to exceed 10 per centum of the sum of the cost of constructing the bridge and its approaches and acquiring such interests in real property; and (4) actual expenditures for necessary improvements.
Within ninety days after the completion of a privately owned interstate toll bridge, the owner shall file with the Secretary of Transportation and with the highway departments of the States in which the bridge is located, a sworn itemized statement showing the actual original cost of constructing the bridge and its approaches, the actual cost of acquiring any interest in real property necessary therefor, and the actual financing and promotion costs. The Secretary of Transportation may, and upon request of a highway department shall, at any time within three years after the completion of such bridge, investigate such costs and determine the accuracy and the reasonableness of the costs alleged in the statement of costs so filed, and shall make a finding of the actual and reasonable costs of constructing, financing, and promoting such bridge. For the purpose of such investigation the said individual, firm, or corporation, its successors and assigns, shall make available all of its records in connection with the construction, financing, and promotion thereof. The findings of the Secretary of Transportation as to the reasonable costs of the construction, financing, and promotion of the bridge shall be conclusive for the purposes mentioned in section 527 of this title subject only to review in a court of equity for fraud or gross mistake.
The provisions of this subchapter shall apply only to bridges over navigable waters of the United States, the construction of which is approved after August 2, 1946, under the provisions of this subchapter; and the provisions of the first proviso of section 401 of this title, and the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall not apply to such bridges.
This subchapter shall not be construed to authorize the construction of any bridge which will connect the United States, or any Territory or possession of the United States, with any foreign country.
There are conferred upon any individual, his heirs, legal representatives, or assigns, any firm or corporation, its successors or assigns, or any State, political subdivision, or municipality authorized in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter to build a bridge between two or more States, all such rights and powers to enter upon lands and acquire, condemn, occupy, possess, and use real estate and other property in the respective States needed for the location, construction, operation, and maintenance of such bridge and its approaches, as are possessed by railroad corporations for railroad purposes or by bridge corporations for bridge purposes in the State in which such real estate or other property is situated, upon making just compensation therefor to be ascertained and paid according to the laws of such State, and the proceedings therefor shall be the same as in the condemnation or expropriation of property for public purposes in such State.
Any person who willfully fails or refuses to comply with any lawful order of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or the Chief of Engineers issued under the provisions of this subchapter, or who willfully fails to comply with any specific condition imposed by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating relating to the maintenance and operation of bridges, or who willfully refuses to produce books, papers, or documents in obedience to a subpena or other lawful requirement under this subchapter, or who otherwise willfully violates any provisions of this subchapter, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not to exceed $5,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Whoever violates any provision of this subchapter, or any order issued under this subchapter, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for a violation occurring in 2004; $10,000 for a violation occurring in 2005; $15,000 for a violation occurring in 2006; $20,000 for a violation occurring in 2007; and $25,000 for a violation occurring in 2008 and any year thereafter. Each day a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense. No penalty may be assessed under this subsection until the person charged is given notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the charge. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may assess and collect any civil penalty incurred under this subsection and, in his discretion, may remit, mitigate, or compromise any penalty until the matter is referred to the Attorney General. If a person against whom a civil penalty is assessed under this subsection fails to pay that penalty, an action may be commenced in the district court of the United States for any district in which the violation occurs for such penalty.
The Secretary of the Army is authorized to transfer or convey to State authorities or political subdivisions thereof all right, title, and interest of the United States, in and to any and all bridges heretofore or hereafter constructed or acquired in connection with the improvement of canals, rivers and harbors, or works of flood control, together with the necessary lands, easements, or rights-of-way, upon such terms and conditions and with or without consideration, as may be determined to be in the best interest of the United States by the Chief of Engineers: Provided, That such transferred bridges shall be toll-free.