June 9, 2010

UMA wins case, Murray amendment found unconstitutional

The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) won its case against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to have the Murray Amendment ruled unconstitutional, according to an announcement released by the association.
 
The amendment placed by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) in last year's Department of Transportation appropriations bill prohibits the FTA from enforcing the Charter Bus Rule against Seattle-based public transportation system, King County Metro Transit.  Under the charter rule, public transit agencies are not allowed to use federally funded buses to operate charters if a private carrier is available and capable of performing the work.
 
The UMA strongly believed the senator's amendment to be harmful public policy and joined forces with the American Bus Association to have the amendment overturned. Prior to filing the lawsuit, the UMA first took a number of steps to dissuade the Senator from continuing her course of action, according to a statement. 
 
"This is truly exciting news," said Victor Parra, UMA President/CEO. "While we only turn to a lawsuit as a last recourse, in this case, we felt compelled to pull out all stops to protect the interests of our members. This is a huge victory for the industry."
 
In the ruling, the judge upheld UMA's contentions that the senator's amendment violated their member, Starline Luxury Coaches', First and Fifth Amendment rights and specifically noted UMA's recent request for a cease-and-desist order against King County Metro Transit.
 
"Having the judge uniquely cite that UMA has spent the past several years participating firsthand in the Charter Rule enforcement process on behalf of Starline is very satisfying," added Ken Presley, UMA Vice President of Industry Relations. "In particular, we are pleased that the judge ordered the FTA to enforce the Charter Bus Rule."

To read the The Seattle Times report on this story, click here.

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