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Afternoon Session

(3:30 p.m.) THE COURT: I want to begin by saying to all the attorneys what an excellent job everyone has done throughout this matter, in briefs, even more the arguments today have been excellent on both sides. And now I don't even -- I'm not even going to try, as I told you this morning, with a written opinion to match those briefs that I've gotten. So this is going to be a very short ruling here and you all can do what you want with it. I don't want any displays in the

In so far as Count 6 and the final count of the plaintiffs' complaint is concerned, the Court does not believe that the plaintiffs have carried the burden adequately so as to decide the due process issue at this point in time; therefore, we dismiss the count in favor of the defendants. As to Counts 3, 4 and 5, while the plaintiffs have made compelling arguments as to the merits, the Court is of the opinion that these counts are not ripe for litigation at this time. The Court recognizes the power of the

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General Assembly to join, bundle, and put cases in the same project. In this particular case, without reaching an opinion on the validity of it, the Court is of the opinion that the bundling of the Downtown Tunnel with the Midtown Tunnel and the Martin Luther King Freeway Extension was a bundling solely to produce revenue. The General Assembly has exceeded its power by ceding the setting of toll rates and taxes in violation of Article 4, Section 14, of the Constitution of Virginia. I believe this is distinguished from the examples set forth by the Defendant because in this latest -- in this particular legislative action, the General Assembly has given unfettered power to the Department of Transportation to set toll rates without any real or meaningful parameters. Mr. McSweeney, I suppose you prevailed on the main count. Will you draw the order and circulate it? MR. McSWEENEY: I will circulate it tomorrow, Your Honor. THE COURT: I'm sure you want to note your appeals, so your appeals. MR. THOMAS: Your Honor, at the time the

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order is entered, we would also move to stay the Court's order pending the appeals being actually filed. THE COURT: Sure, I guess you can do that. MR. THOMAS: All right. THE COURT: Anything else? MR. McSWEENEY: Yes, Your Honor. Count 2. THE COURT: Count 2 and Count 1 I merged. I'm sorry. MR. McSWEENEY: Very good. THE COURT: I did same thing you all did in argument; I merged 3, 4 and 5 and 1 and 2 for the sake of this decision. MR. McSWEENEY: Appreciate your patience. THE COURT: Any more questions? Excellent job. Have a good day. (Whereupon, the hearing concluded at 3:33 PM)