OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE TRANSIT CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY.
This bill creates the Transit Corridor Development Assistance Authority (TCDAA) as a quasi-public agency to, among other things, stimulate new investment and economic and transit-oriented development near transit stations. It authorizes TCDAA, after entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with an affected municipality, to develop property and manage facilities in development districts encompassing the areas around existing and planned transit stations (i.e., “development districts”).
The bill establishes a 15-member board to govern TCDAA and gives it general powers to operate as a quasi-public agency and development-specific powers for projects within development districts. It authorizes TCDAA to enter into an MOA with the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) for administrative support and services. It subjects TCDAA to specific auditing and reporting requirements.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016
The bill makes TCDAA a public instrumentality and political subdivision of the state, created to perform an essential public and government function. It is a quasi-public agency, not a state department, institution, or agency, and thus is subject to statutory procedural, operating, and reporting requirements for quasi-public agencies, including lobbying restrictions and an ethics code.
It has perpetual succession as long as any of its obligations are outstanding. Termination does not affect outstanding contractual obligations. Its rights and properties vest in the state when it lawfully terminates.
Under the bill, TCDAA must stimulate new investment and economic and transit-oriented development in development districts (see Development District Powers, below) through cooperation and coordination with the municipality in which a district is located. TCDAA must also:
1. stimulate tourism, art, culture, history, education, and entertainment in development districts by cooperating with regional organizations, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and the municipality in which a district is located;
2. manage facilities through contractual agreements or other legal instruments;
3. assist municipalities in which a district is located, at the request of their legislative bodies, in development and redevelopment efforts to stimulate the region's economy; and
4. enter into an agreement to facilitate development or redevelopment within a development district, at the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary's request.
The bill gives TCDAA general powers to function as a quasi-public agency and specific powers related to projects within a development district's boundaries in which it is involved (“authority development projects”). The general powers allow it to:
1. have perpetual succession as a corporate body;
2. adopt and alter a corporate seal;
3. adopt procedures for regulating and conducting its affairs;
4. maintain offices;
5. sue and be sued;
6. purchase insurance for its property, other assets, and employees;
7. enter into contracts and memoranda of understanding;
8. acquire, lease, manage, and dispose of personal property and enter into agreements with respect to such property;
9. enter into agreements to facilitate development or redevelopment of state property or facilities;
10. use consultants, attorneys, and appraisers;
11. invest funds that are not immediately needed in (a) U.S.- or state-issued or –guaranteed obligations, including the Short Term Investment Fund and Tax-Exempt Proceeds Fund; (b) legal investments for savings banks in Connecticut; and (c) time deposits, certificates of deposit, or similar arrangements; and
12. do all things necessary and convenient to carry out these powers.
The bill also authorizes TCDAA to employ staff as necessary and specifies that they are not state employees, and TCDAA is not an employer, under the state's collective bargaining law. However, TCDAA officers and employees are state employees for purposes of group welfare and retirement benefits, including the state pension system, life insurance, and health insurance.
TCDAA may establish and modify personnel policies, including those relating to employee hiring, compensation, promotion, retirement, and collective bargaining. TCDAA may enter into collective bargaining agreements with labor unions, but these agreements do not have to comply with the state's collective bargaining law for state employees.
Development District Powers
TCDAA must delineate development district boundaries through a MOA with the municipality in which the transit station is located. The municipality's legislative body must approve the MOA. The development district must not extend beyond a half-mile radius from a transit station. Transit stations are passenger railroad or Hartford-New Britain busway project stations that (1) are operational, (2) the Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning, or (3) are included in DOT's state-wide transportation investment program (a document, updated every four years, listing transportation projects expected to receive federal funding).
With respect to projects occurring in a development district's boundaries, TCDAA may:
1. acquire and dispose of property;
2. plan for, acquire, finance, construct, develop, operate, market, and maintain facilities;
3. promote and market development projects;
4. collect fees and rents from the facilities it develops and adopt procedures for operating them;
5. enter into contracts;
6. borrow money;
7. engage independent professionals, such as lawyers, engineers, accountants, and architects;
8. adopt and amend procurement procedures; and
9. receive money, property, and labor from any source, including government sources.
MOA with CRDA
The bill authorizes TCDAA to enter into an MOA with CRDA under which CRDA provides administrative support and services, including staff support, and coordinates management and operational activities, including: (1) joint procurement and contracting; (2) sharing services and resources; (3) coordinating promotional activities; and (4) arrangements enhancing revenue, reducing operating costs, or achieving operating efficiencies. The MOA can specify the terms and conditions for these relationships, including reimbursement by TCDAA to CRDA.
RELATIONSHIP WITH AFFECTED MUNICIPALITY
In addition to establishing a development district's boundaries through an MOA with the affected municipality, the bill requires TCDAA, before taking action in a development district, to enter into an MOA with the municipality in which the district is located. The MOA must:
1. define each party's responsibilities for the district;
2. identify the properties in the district that are controlled or owned by TCDAA, the state, the municipality, or a private entity;
3. specify long and short range plans for the district, including foreseeable changes to the use or ownership of district properties;
4. identify and allocate revenue for district projects, including taxes, fees, rental income, or parking;
5. specify the types of activities and requests (which may include a neighborhood revitalization committee's request for the area including or proximate to the district) requiring a public hearing;
6. include an agreement as to additional methods of soliciting community involvement; and
7. specify how the MOA may be terminated.
The bill specifies that municipal plans of conservation and development, local ordinances, and land use regulations apply to projects on private and municipally owned property in a development district.
The bill requires (1) TCDAA to coordinate all state, municipal, and quasi-public agency planning and financial resources allocated for a development district project in which it is involved and (2) all state and quasi-public agencies to cooperate with it.
Applicants requesting state funds for a development district project must submit a copy of their application, along with supporting documents, to the OPM secretary and TCDAA. TCDAA has 90 days to give the funding agency its written recommendations (called an “economic development statement”), which must include provisions on performance standards, including project timelines. TCDAA must consider, in formulating its economic development statement, written statements submitted by the (1) regional council of governments for the planning region in which the project is planned or (2) neighborhood revitalization zone committee for the area that includes or is proximate to the planned project.
The agency cannot spend funds on such a project until it receives TCDAA's recommendations or after 90 days, whichever is sooner. If it expends funds not consistent with the statement's recommendations, it must give TCDAA a written explanation about this decision.
Instead of the annual report quasi-public agencies must submit to the governor, state auditors, and the Program Review and Investigations Committee, the board must annually report, within 90 days after TCDAA's fiscal year begins, to the governor, state auditors, and the Planning and Development Committee on TCDAA's finances, procurement, and employment. This report must include:
1. a description of each project, its location, and the amount the authority spent on its construction;
2. a comprehensive financial report prepared according to generally accepted governmental accounting principles;
3. a list of individuals and firms, including principal and other major stockholders, who received more than $5,000 for services;
4. a statement of the authority's affirmative action policy, a description of its workforce by race, sex, and occupation, and a description of its affirmative action efforts; and
5. a description of the activities planned for the current fiscal year.
Independent Financial Audit
The bill requires the board to annually contract with a certified public accounting firm to undertake a financial audit, according to generally accepted auditing standards. It must submit it to the governor and state auditors.
The bill also requires TCDAA to designate a contract compliance officer to monitor TCDAA's facility operations for compliance with state law and contracting requirements relating to (1) set-asides for small contractors and minority business enterprises and (2) required efforts to hire available and qualified minorities. The compliance officer must file an annual written report, including findings and recommendations, with TCDAA.
Under the bill, TCDAA's 15-member board consists of 11 appointed directors and four ex officio, voting directors: the OPM secretary and the DECD, housing, and transportation commissioners, or their designees. Additionally:
1. the chief elected official of each municipality in which a TCDAA project is planned, or his or her designee, serves as an ad hoc, voting member for matters directly affecting the municipality;
2. the executive director of each regional council of governments for the planning region in which a project is planned, or his or her designee, serves as an ad hoc, nonvoting member for matters affecting the planning region; and
3. the legislative body in the municipality in which a project is planned must appoint a representative of the minority community to serve as an ad hoc, nonvoting member for matters affecting the municipality's minority community.
Table 1 lists the appointed, voting directors; their appointing authority; and initial terms. All appointments must be made by November 1, 2016.
Table 1: TCDAA Appointed Board Directors
Number of Appointments
Senate president pro tempore
House majority leader
Senate majority leader
House minority leader
Senate minority leader
After their initial terms, appointed directors serve four-year terms and may be reappointed. Vacancies must be filled for the unexpired term by the original appointing authority. Each member must take the constitutional oath of office. Directors (1) may be removed by the appointing authority for malfeasance or willful neglect of duty and (2) are deemed to have resigned if they miss three consecutive meetings or 50% of the meetings in a calendar year.
Board directors are not paid but are reimbursed for expenses.
Chairperson and Executive Director
The governor appoints the board chairperson from among the voting members. The board (1) annually elects a vice-chairperson, (2) elects other officers, and (3) appoints an executive committee. The chairperson, with the board's approval, must appoint an executive director, who cannot be a board director. The executive director is (1) a salaried employee; (2) the chief administrative officer of the authority; and (3) responsible for supervising the administrative affairs and technical activities of the authority, pursuant to the board's directives.
The board must adopt a budget and bylaws. It must report twice per year to the appointing authorities with respect to operations, finances, and achievement of its economic development objective. The board is accountable to the state and must cooperate with it when it audits TCDAA's operations and projects. The board must grant the state reasonable access to TCDAA projects and records.
TCDAA's board must adopt written procedures to:
1. adopt an annual budget and plan of operations and require board approval before either can take effect;
2. hire, dismiss, promote, and pay TCDAA's employees, develop an affirmative action policy, and require board approval before a position may be created or a vacancy filled;
3. acquire real and personal property and personal services, and require board approval for any non-budgeted expenditure of more than $5,000;
4. contract for financial, legal, and other professional services, and require the board to solicit proposals at least once every three years for these services;
5. award loans, grants, and other financial assistance, including developing eligibility criteria, an application process, and determining the role played by employees and directors; and
6. use surplus funds.
TCDAA must follow the same notice requirements quasi-public agencies follow before adopting its procedures.
A majority of the directors constitutes a quorum, and a majority of those present can act. Vacancies do not prevent a quorum from acting. The board may act by adopting resolutions at regular or special meetings which take effect immediately unless the resolution specifies otherwise. The board must keep records of its proceedings in a form it chooses, indicating each director's attendance and votes cast.
The board may delegate any of its powers and duties to three or more directors, agents, or employees.
Conflict of Interest
The bill prohibits directors from having a financial interest in:
1. an authority development project,
2. property included or planned for inclusion in any such project, or
3. a contract or proposed contract for material or services used in such projects.
The bill requires the state to protect, save harmless, and indemnify (“indemnify”) TCDAA and its directors, officers, and employees (“agents”) from financial loss and expense resulting from a claim, demand, suit, or judgment connected to an act or omission related to a development district project. The protection applies to individuals performing their duties or acting within the scope of their employment, as long as the act or omission was not wanton, reckless, willful, or malicious.
Another provision in the bill adds TCDAA to a statute listing quasi-public agencies that are required to generally indemnify their agents. Presumably, under the bill, the state indemnifies TCDAA's agents with regard to claims connected to development districts projects, but TCDAA must indemnify its agents with regard to other matters.
Planning and Development Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute