Washington state transportation ballot issue challenged

| 9/20/2007

As Election Day approaches in Washington state, a ballot initiative for road and transit funding is under the gun.

A transportation advocacy group has filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court to have the measure declared unconstitutional. The state is named as a defendant.

The suit says the measure shouldn’t be presented as a single ballot issue because it contains two transportation initiatives, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The group, the Eastside Transportation Association, says it violates the one-man-one-vote principle of making some votes count more than others.

This is the association’s second attempt to challenge the ballot measure in court. The first effort was withdrawn.

The measure would impose additional sales and license-tab taxes to fund work on light rail. It also would earmark revenues for several major regional highways.

Supporters of the initiative say the measure is legal. In fact, two Superior Court judges early this month upheld the ballot measure against separate challenges that contended it violates a constitutional ban on legislation covering more than one subject.

The measure includes a proposal to add 49 miles of light rail and other facilities as part of a nearly $31 billion Sound Transit expansion for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Other parts include $16 billion in highway work, improvements to Interstate 405 and state Route 167.

The measure is expected to be included on the Nov. 6 ballot.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Washington in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor