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State court rejects Kemper Freeman's light rail lawsuit
The Washington state Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Kemper Freeman Jr. on Thursday, Sept. 12 to stop Sound Transit from building a light-rail line on the I-90 floating bridge.
The 7-2 decision would permit light rail to continue as planned, using the center lanes for light rail. Appellants Freeman, the Eastside Transportation Association, former state senator Jim Horn and others, argued that the plan violates the state constitution by using Washington's vehicle fund, which built the lanes, for another purpose. The majority vote determined that because Sound Transit would reimburse the state for the amount equal to the construction of the lanes under a 40-year lease, the funds weren't being misused.
“The Department of Transportation and Sound Transit developed an effective and fair partnership to upgrade and address traffic issues on the I-90 floating bridge,” said Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General, praising his attorney's defense of the project. “This agreement respects the law and the Constitution while addressing a critical need.”
Justice James Johnson, who dissented, wrote that the vote eroded the constitution’s protection of the motor vehicle fund for highway purposes: "The majority again turns a blind eye to the subversion of the 18th Amendment's antidiversionary purpose, which assures the payers of gas taxes and vehicle registration fees that they receive full highway value for their money."
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