The commissioner may lease to the fee owner for a fair rental rate and upon terms and conditions that the commissioner deems proper, an easement in real estate acquired for trunk highway purposes and not then needed for trunk highway purposes. If the fee owner refuses to lease or if after diligent search the fee owner cannot be found, the commissioner may lease the easement to an agency or to a political subdivision of the state on terms and conditions agreed upon, or the commissioner may lease the easement to the highest responsible bidder upon three weeks' published notice of the lease offering in a newspaper or other periodical of general circulation in the county where the easement is located. All bids may be rejected and new bids received upon like publication. All rents received from the lease must be paid into the state treasury. Seventy percent of any rent received is to be credited to the trunk highway fund. The remaining 30 percent is to be paid to the county treasurer of the county where the easement is located for distribution in the same manner as real estate taxes.