House Bill No. 320

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act clarifying the costs for which the department of transportation is responsible when highway construction requires utility relocation; eliminating the requirement that the department hold a public hearing to determine the necessity of facility relocation; allowing the department to adopt rules reflecting the changes in the department's reimbursement responsibilities; amending sections 60-4-401, 60-4-402, and 60-4-403, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date."


A statement of intent is required for this bill because it allows the department of transportation to modify rules to reflect changes in its reimbursement responsibilities to utilities for facility relocation. The legislature intends that the department's rules address the changes in the definition of "cost of relocation", the removal of the hearing process, and the full reimbursement of costs associated with relocating small publicly owned water and sewer utilities.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 60-4-401, MCA, is amended to read:

"60-4-401.   Relocation -- definitions. For the purposes of the sections relating to relocation of utilities facilities this part, unless otherwise indicated, terms are defined as follows:

(1) (a) "Cost of relocation" includes means the entire amount paid by the utility for material, labor, and equipment properly attributable to the relocation after deducting any increase in the value of the new facility and any salvage value derived from the old facility.

(b) "Cost of relocation" does not mean engineering costs for designing, locating, staking, inspecting, securing right-of-way, or any other incidental or overhead costs.

(2) "Facility" means a utility's tracks, pipes, mains, conduits, cables, wires, towers, poles, and other equipment and appliances impacted by a project on a federal-aid system or state highway.

(2)(3)  "Federal-aid systems" includes the following, as defined in 60-2-125:

(a)  national highway system;

(b)  primary highway system;

(c)  secondary highway system; and

(d)  urban highway system.

(3)  "Interstate system" includes any highway now included or which may hereafter be included as a part of the national system of interstate and defense highways provided for in Title 23, U.S.C.

(4) "State highway" means that term, as defined in 60-2-125.

(4)(5)  "Utility" includes publicly, privately, and cooperatively owned utilities."

Section 2.  Section 60-4-402, MCA, is amended to read:

"60-4-402.   Relocation of utility facilities -- hearings -- order rules. (1) After appropriate hearings, the Except as provided in 60-4-403(2), the department may adopt reasonable regulations rules for the reimbursement to a utility for the costs of installation, construction, maintenance, repair, renewal, or relocation of tracks, pipes, mains, conduits, cables, wires, towers, poles, and other equipment and appliances (hereafter called "facilities") of a utility in, on, along, over, across, through, or under a project on any of the federal-aid systems facilities.

(2)  The department shall give written notice of the place and time of a public hearing to determine the necessity of a relocation of facilities to all concerned not less than 20 days before the hearing. Hearing may be waived in writing by the utility concerned or other interested parties.

(3)  After the hearing, the department may determine that the facilities must be relocated. If so, the utility owning or operating the facilities shall relocate them in accordance with the order of the department. The utility and its successors and assigns may maintain and operate the relocated facilities, with the necessary appurtenances, in the new location."

Section 3.  Section 60-4-403, MCA, is amended to read:

"60-4-403.   Relocation -- costs. Seventy-five percent (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), 75% of all costs of relocation, including the costs of acquisition of new right-of-way, of dismantling, and of removal, must be paid by the department as a cost of federal-aid systems construction.

(2) The department shall pay for the entire cost of relocating a publicly owned water or sewer facility with 500 or fewer service connectors under the following conditions:

(a) the facility has had 500 or fewer subscribers during the entire year before the letting of the project contract; and

(b) the relocation is the result of state highway or federal-aid system construction."

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.