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October 4, 1971
Honorable Norwood Cunningham
State Representative, 30th District
750 Alvord Avenue
Kent, Washington 98031
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 116 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion on the following question:
"Can the City of Kent enter into an agreement with King County whereby the City of Kent will pay a fixed percentage of any sums paid by the County to Metropolitan Transit Corporation, a privately owned transit company, for continuing to provide bus service to the Auburn-Kent area in accordance with schedules previously approved by the Utilities and Transportation Commission?"
After stating this question you have, in your letter, made reference to the decision of the Washington Supreme Court in State ex rel. Navigation Company v. Pierce County, 184 Wash. 414, 51 P.2d 407 (1935), and to AGO 51-53-166 [[to Washington Public Service Commission on November 7, 1951]], copy enclosed. In that opinion, relying on the supreme court's decision in the Pierce County case, this office concluded that a city does not have the authority to subsidize a privately owned transportation company in order to assure its continued operations. We have reviewed this prior opinion, together with the authorities cited therein; in addition, we have researched for any pertinent subsequent court decisions or legislative enactments, but have found none. Accordingly, we believe that AGO 51-53-166 is still correct, and requires a negative answer to your question as above stated.
We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General