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Judge hears Metro bond lawsuit

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By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – A St. Louis County judge heard oral arguments Wednesday from the transit agency Metro and a citizens group trying to block the agency's proposed bond issue.

Metro wants to issue $150 million worth of bonds to pay for cost overruns to its light rail extension project.

The citizens' group says that's an extra appropriation under which the county charter entitles them to a public vote.

But Metro attorney Dirk De Young says voters approved the money twice before, through a 1994 proposition and a 2002 county council plan.

"So the voters have spoken not only directly, but through their elected representatives," DeYoung said. "And that 2002 agreement specifically contemplates issuing additional bonds if necessary. So it's not something new."

But attorney Bevis Schock, who represents the Public Transit Accountability Project, says the county charter guarantees them that right to vote.

"When my clients showed up with the initial round of signatures, they file a lawsuit against us and say the public can't vote on that," Schock said. "Well, that's a terrible position for them to take it's not right."

"The judge may rule as early as Monday.

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