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AGO 1951 No. 190 - December 10, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


The Washington Toll Bridge Authority may by resolution authorize allocation of surplus Lake Washington Toll Bridge funds, after payments of all obligations to the Motor Vehicle Fund.

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                                                               December 10, 1951

Honorable J. W. Hoover, Secretary
Washington Toll Bridge Authority
Transportation Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                            Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 190

Dear Sir:

            Your request of December 3, 1951, reads as follows:

            "This is to advise that as of September 1, 1951 the Washington Toll Bridge Authority completed the redemption of the outstanding Lake Washington Toll Bridge Revenue Bonds which were dated September 1, 1945.  After the payment of interest and the retirement of principal, there is remaining in the Lake Washington Toll Bridge Revenue Bond Fund the sum of $51,571.42.  This fund is not an appropriated fund but, rather, it is termed a local or trust fund.  The monies in said fund were deposited to the credit of Tom Martin, State Treasurer, Lake Washington Toll Bridge Revenue Bond Fund.

            "Prior to the construction of the Lake Washington Bridge, the Department of Highways advanced monies to conduct the preliminary engineering,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] traffic studies, etc., and during the operation of the structure from July 2, 1940 to July 2, 1949, the operation of the facility was paid out of the Motor Vehicle Fund.  The total expenditure by the Department of Highways out of the Motor Vehicle Fund amounted to several hundred thousand dollars.  Inasmuch as the facility is now toll free and, further, that all outstanding indebtedness has been retired, we would like to be formally advised if it would be permissible for the Washington Toll Bridge Authority to request the State Treasurer to transfer the residual balance from the Lake Washington Toll Bridge Revenue Bond Fund to the Motor Vehicle Fund."

            Our conclusion is that the Washington Toll Bridge Authority may, by resolution, authorize the allocation of such residual and surplus balance of funds derived from revenues and now in the Lake Washington Toll Bridge Bond Fund to the Motor Vehicle Fund.


            The conclusion we have reached is based upon the provisions of section 14, chapter 173, Laws of 1947 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 6524-14).  This section contains detailed provisions for the handling of the monies of the Toll Bridge Authority received either from the sale of bonds or from tolls and revenues.  Without quoting the section in full, one paragraph reads as follows:

            "* * * The monies remaining in each separate toll revenue fund after providing the amount required for interest and redemption of bonds as hereinabove provided, shall be held and applied as provided in the proceedings authorizing the issuance of said bonds.  In the event the proceedings authorizing the issuance of said bonds do not require surplus revenues to be held or applied in any particular manner, they shall be allocated and used for such other purposes incidental to the construction, operation and maintenance of such toll bridge or bridges as the Washington Toll Bridge Authority may determine.  * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Your letter states that all the outstanding indebtedness of the Lake Washington Toll facility has been retired.  We have examined the bond resolution of the Authority and find no special provision on surplus revenues.  Therefore, it is our opinion that such remaining funds would constitute surplus, and, under the provisions of law above quoted, the Authority may, by resolution, direct the closing of the fund in question and the allocation of the sum remaining to the Motor Vehicle Fund.  We suggest that the resolution recite the fact that several hundred thousand dollars was expended from the Motor Vehicle Fund for preliminary engineering, traffic studies, etc., and for maintenance of the Lake Washington Toll Bridge.

            Our conclusion that these funds may be properly allocated to the Motor Vehicle Fund is reinforced by the provisions of Constitutional Amendment 18 which protects highway and motor vehicle revenues from encroachment.  We doubt that it would be lawful for this money actually derived from highway users to be used for any other than highway purposes.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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