"Passenger rail" means intercity rail passenger transportation as defined in United States Code, title 49, section 24102(4).
(a) The planning, design, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of passenger rail track, facilities, and services are governmental functions, serve a public purpose, and are a matter of public necessity.
(b) The commissioner is responsible for all aspects of planning, designing, developing, constructing, equipping, operating, and maintaining passenger rail, including system planning, alternatives analysis, environmental studies, preliminary engineering, final design, construction, negotiating with railroads, and developing financial and operating plans.
(c) The commissioner may enter into a memorandum of understanding or agreement with a public or private entity, including Amtrak, a regional railroad authority, a joint powers board, and a railroad, to carry out these activities.
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