60-11-111. Identification and acquisition of railroad rights-of-way -- identification of railroad lines for rehabilitation. (1) Identification of those railroad lines proposed for abandonment in the state of Montana that may have potential for local transportation service or future use as transportation corridors is necessary to determine the feasibility of acquisition by the state and to allow the state to negotiate for acquisition of those railroad lines or easements in the lines.
(2) Identification of those railroad branch lines in the state that may have potential for local rail freight transportation service is necessary to determine the feasibility of providing loans or grants to the owner or operator of the railroad line as provided in 60-11-120.
(3) The department of transportation:
(a) shall identify railroad rights-of-way in this state that may be abandoned and research the feasibility of acquisition by the state of Montana of those rights-of-way that may be abandoned;
(b) shall identify, under the state rail planning program, railroad branch lines that should be preserved for continued operation;
(c) may negotiate for and acquire easements in the rights-of-way or the railroad rights-of-way and attendant facilities identified pursuant to subsection (3)(a) and:
(i) hold all acquired lands in trust for transportation purposes; and
(ii) upon creation of an appropriate local authority, other than an agency of state government, shall transfer to the local authority all attendant facilities and all rights and responsibility to operate and maintain transportation services over the lands acquired in subsection (3)(c);
(d) shall cooperate with and assist persons representing recreational, transportation, and utility interests and other interested persons, including adjacent landowners, in acquiring ownership or easement of abandoned railbeds; and
(e) shall establish procedures, including the use of federal funds received for rail freight assistance programs under former 49 U.S.C. 1654, for providing loans and grants under 60-11-120.
(4) Abandoned rights-of-way acquired and held in trust pursuant to subsection (3)(c)(i) must be administered by the department of natural resources and conservation, as prescribed in Title 77, until the land is needed for transportation purposes.
History: En. Secs. 1, 2, Ch. 653, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 564, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 509, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 512, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 541, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 171, Ch. 418, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 66, Ch. 545, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 496, L. 2005.