Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016
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TARTA sues elections board over exclusion

The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority has sued the Lucas County Board of Elections over wording in a referendum that would allow Sylvania Township to opt out of the regional transit system.

In the lawsuit filed on Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, the transit authority challenged the elections board's plan to submit the opt-out question to voters only in the unincorporated portion of the township, while excluding voters in the city of Sylvania.

While a state law passed over the summer would allow the question to be voted that way, the township trustees' resolution to put the matter on the Nov. 6 ballot was passed June 19, nearly three months before that law took effect Sept. 10, the lawsuit states.

"The authority has taken this step to ensure the election is proper and not subject to challenge at a later date," James Gee, the transit authority's general manager, wrote in a statement issued Tuesday. "The heart of our challenge centers around which piece of state legislation should be followed in this election."

"They've done their mathematical crunching, and it's favorable to do it that way," he speculated.

"I don't know" whether the Sylvania city vote would tilt the outcome in TARTA's favor, Mr. Gee said.

He acknowledged that during the last transit-levy vote, transit authority support was higher in the city than it was in the township.

Perrysburg voters approved a TARTA opt-out resolution in March, leading to the cessation of TARTA service there four days ago. Along with Sylvania Township, Spencer Township has an opt-out resolution on the Nov. 6 ballot, but unlike Sylvania, Spencer has no incorporated areas.

The case has been assigned to Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Dean Mandros.

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