Judge Rules in favor of operators

Finds Murray Amendment unconstitutional; orders FTA to enforce charter rule against King County

Judge Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia has ruled today that the Murray Amendment, which prohibits the Federal Transit Administration from using any funds to enforce the charter rules against King County Metro in Seattle, is unconstitutional.

In a case brought by ABA, the court held that Sen. Patty Murray’s Amendment violates both the First Amendment right to petition the government and the Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. The court rejected the government’s argument that the Murray Amendment was a valid economic regulation and issued an order requiring the FTA to enforce the charter rule against King County Metro.

ABA is now preparing a complaint against King County Metro’s provision of charter service to Seattle Mariners baseball games and Seattle Sounders soccer games. The complaint will be filed with the FTA in the next several days, and will seek a cease and desist order as well as the withholding of federal funding as the transit agency has knowingly violated the rule for several months.

In addition, this decision will prevent Congress from exempting other transit agencies from the requirements of the charter rule in future legislation.