(a) There is hereby created an Underground Damage Prevention Fund to be administered and used by the Underground Damage Facilities Prevention Board for the purpose of carrying out its duties under this article. All sources of funds collected by the board under this article, including, but not limited to, grants, assessments, and civil penalties collected pursuant to this article, shall be deposited into the fund. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund, but shall remain in the fund for the exclusive use of the board. The expenditure of moneys in the fund shall be at the discretion of the board to carry out its duties under this article. Excess funds shall be used for purposes related to damage prevention, including, but not limited to, public awareness programs, training, and educational programs for excavators, operators, line locators, and persons to reduce the number and severity of violations of this article.
(b) The Public Service Commission or the board, or both, may apply for available grants, including those awarded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration. The board shall comply with any restrictions placed on any grant received from a government agency. Grants may be used to fund the cost of services associated with this article or for the purposes stated in each grant.
(c) In the event that the annual cost of services associated with this article exceed the funds available in the fund, the annual operating costs shall be apportioned in a proportional manner and collected by the one-call system from the operators in an amount equal to the amount necessary to offset the cost of investigative and administrative services. Under no circumstances shall any operating costs or liabilities of the board be ultimately deducted or paid from Public Service Commission special revenue funds.