A lawsuit against the ballot title for a $930 million Seattle transportation levy has been withdrawn because the campaign opposing the levy filed the challenge late.
The campaign opposing a $930 million Seattle transportation levy has withdrawn its lawsuit against the measure’s ballot title because the challenge was filed too late and was certain to be dismissed on that basis, a spokesman said Thursday.
The Keep Seattle Affordable campaign sued the city in King County Superior Court because the title, written by City Attorney Pete Holmes’ office, calls the Move Seattle levy a replacement for the $365 million Bridging the Gap transportation levy expiring this year.
A judge was scheduled to hear arguments in the case Thursday morning, but that court date was canceled after the lawsuit was withdrawn.
“The appeal was due on a certain date and we filed our challenge two days late,” Keep Seattle Affordable spokesman Eugene Wasserman said, blaming the mistake on the campaign’s lawyer.
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The lawsuit asked the judge to order that the “replacement” language be eliminated from the title, which will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot as Seattle Proposition 1.
Wasserman said the Keep Seattle Affordable campaign stands by the argument in the withdrawn lawsuit. The new levy would be much larger than the current one and funds associated with it wouldn’t be restricted in the same way, he said.
“We believe this is a new levy, not a continuation and not a replacement — we just won’t have an opportunity in court to argue that,” Wasserman said.
Before the challenge was withdrawn, Holmes filed a response defending the ballot title’s description of Move Seattle as a replacement levy.
Proposition 1 “has essentially the same program categories as the Bridging the Gap levy, except for it contains no enhanced transit,” Holmes said in his response.
The new levy wouldn’t raise funds for transit partly because Seattle voters last year approved a Seattle Transportation Benefit District measure to do that, Holmes said.
“It is fair to make the statement that Seattle Proposition 1 provides replacement funding for the Bridging the Gap Levy,” he said.
Mayor Ed Murray proposed the Move Seattle levy and the City Council voted in June to put it on the ballot.