TriMet has filed a lawsuit against Clackamas County alleging the county has delayed progress on the Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.
The lawsuit filed Thursday comes a month after Clackamas County commissioners sent a letter to TriMet asking the agency to reconsider the design of the project, which began construction in July 2011, and then voted to put issues regarding the project to a public vote.
"We understand that Clackamas County voters want a say in any rail projects based on Measure 3-401, but that does not affect the current Portland-Milwaukie project," said Mary Fetsch, TriMet chief media relations officer. "Unfortunately, we have to take this action to prevent delays that could impact the overall cost and schedule of the project."
In November, Clackamas County voters supported a ballot measure calling for a public vote before approving county resources for the light rail project.
County workers said Thursday they have not yet fully reviewed the lawsuit.
"Our contract with TriMet calls for both parties to undergo a dispute resolution process before a lawsuit is filed," said Tim Heider, Clackamas County public affairs manager. "Therefore we are surprised at this action. Clackamas County has taken no action to halt construction of the line."
TriMet alleges the county is not moving forward on final project property acquisitions and $1.3 million in road and signal improvements.
TriMet said the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners has voted three times to support and move the light rail project into design and construction, including agreements in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
County workers said due to the ordinance passed by voters in November, they plan for two measures to be put to a vote in a May 21 special election regarding the acquisition of land for the project.
The completed Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project has had a scheduled opening date of September 2015. TriMet said the project is now 35 percent complete.
TriMet's lawsuit is asking for the court to "retain jurisdiction to supervise the county's participation until the project is complete."
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