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.
Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition deletes all provisions of the 2nd edition and replaces it with the following.
Defines the term Rail Corridor to mean the former Murphy Branch rail corridor and describes the composition of that corridor as well as the exclusions from the defined term. Provides that where there is more than one track in the Rail Corridor, the State must retain its property interest in the Rail Corridor for a distance of 25 feet from the center of each track.
Uniformly reduces the State’s interest in the right-of-way claimed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) with respect to the Rail Corridor to 25 feet on each side of the center line of the tracks traversing the Rail Corridor. Transfers the interest in real property previously held by the State to the current adjacent real property owner of record upon that owner’s release of all claims against the State and DOT. Requires that such transfers of interest and releases of claims occur within two years of the effective date of the act. Requires DOT to provide the adjacent property owner a quitclaim deed or deed of release within 180 days of the property owner’s release of claims. Provides that the property transfers do not require Council of State or Board of Transportation approval.
Provides that notwithstanding Section 2, DOT must retain an easement for entry and access for maintenance and repair of the track and associated structures that is parallel to the retained portion of the Rail Corridor and 15 feet in width. Describes limitations on building and activities within the easement and clarifies that the easement is not prohibited from also being subject to an agricultural or conservation easement.
Describes various ways in which the act should not be construed. Makes clear that the act does not alter or amend federal law and does not alter or amend the management of privately owned railroads.
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.