AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE REDUCTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION'S INTEREST IN A CERTAIN PORTION OF THE ANDREWS TO MURPHY RAIL CORRIDOR WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF CHEROKEE COUNTY.
Reduces the Department of Transportation's interest in the specified portion of the former Murphy Branch rail corridor between Andrews and Murphy by 25 feet on each side of the center line of the corridor's tracks, and transfers any corresponding real property interest without consideration to current adjacent real property owners. Provides for clarification where there is more than one track. Allows for adjacent real property owners to petition DOT to provide a quitclaim deed to evidence the real property transferred, with preparation and recording expenses borne by the petitioning party. Specifies that the transfers are not subject to Council of State approval. Requires DOT to retain an easement for right of entry and access for track and structure maintenance and repair, parallel to each side of the retained portion of the corridor and 15 feet in width. Provides for application for conveyance by any person owning an underlying fee simple interest in a portion of the corridor DOT determines is not needed for future transportation or utility purposes, subject to federal law.
Repeals Section 35.18 of SL 2016-94, which authorizes DOT to lease or convey specified portions of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, formerly the Andrews to Murphy rail line, to the County of Cherokee and the Towns of Andrews and Murphy for public recreation use, as well as mandates revitalization of rail lines for the operation of excursion trains, if applicable.
Appropriates $100,000 in nonrecurring funds from the Highway Fund to DOT to implement the act. Effective July 1, 2020.