State Officials Must Face Suit Over Airport Tolls

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – State transportation officials cannot use sovereign immunity to avoid a lawsuit challenging their power to allow the airport to collect tolls, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled.

     Patrick Gray and James Nagle challenged the Virginia Department of Transportation’s standing to allow the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to charge money to users of the Dulles Toll Road.
     The plaintiff claimed that VDOT needed approval from the General Assembly, while VDOT claimed immunity from the lawsuit.
     Since the constitutional provision of separation of powers is self-executing, the approval of the Assembly is not necessary and immunity is waived, Justice Kinser ruled.
     “No additional legislation is necessary is needed to carry into effect the clear mandate … that legislative, executive, and judicial departments shall be separate and distinct,” Kinser wrote.

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