PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - During a Tuesday hearing, Portsmouth Circuit Judge James Cales refused to suspend his May 1 ruling that prohibited tolls on the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels.
In his ruling, Judge Cales said, "If there is any irreparable damage, the State did it to themselves as far as the Court is concerned by entering into the Faustian contract."
Faustian contract is defined as a contract with the devil. The contract, if deemed constitutional, will cost taxpayers over a billion dollars.
Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright was in court: "They did it to themselves, absolutely. I couldn't have said it better myself. Judge Cales is right on point here as usual," he said.
Other quotes from the Judge:
"Chicken Little has arrived. The sky is falling on us if this ruling is allowed to stand."
"I am frustrated by the clear attempt to use the media to argue the case and put pressure mainly on the Supreme Court."
Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) and The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) argued there would be irreparable damage caused by not allowing tolls to be in place on February 1, 2014.
"We are appealing it to the State Supreme Court," ERC attorney Stuart Raphael told WAVY.com. "We will get a brand new review there. In the mean time we will build the project on time and on budget ... we have a very strong case, as you've heard. There has never been a decision (in America) that has rejected tolls as (because it's) a tax so we are going to take that to the Supreme Court."
Trying to save what appeared to be a losing argument with the judge, Raphael offered the ERC would refund any toll money if after the February 1 start date the State Supreme Court upheld Cales decision. Many of the 30 anti-toll people gathered laughed at that.
The Citizens against Unfair Tolls Attorney Patrick McSweeney, "As taxpayers we could be exposed to a billion dollars...that is a possibility...if this is unconstitutional, and the State has to pay a billion dollars...that is unbelievable."
ERC released a statement following Tuesday's Portsmouth Circuit Court ruling:
Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) will continue working with our partners at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) toward an appeal of the Portsmouth Circuit Court ruling and final order handed down today.
In the meantime, ERC remains committed to delivering the project consistent with our agreement with VDOT and the Commonwealth of Virginia in accordance with the terms of the circuit court order.
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