OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state Supreme Court today upheld a 2009 decision by the state Legislature to divert fuel tax revenue to help fund state park operations.
The money — 1 percent of the tax revenue — had traditionally been used to support nonhighway roads, such as trails used by offroad vehicles or horseback riders.
Offroad users had appealed the Legislature’s decision to uphold the parks budget.
The Supreme Court, while suggesting in the majority opinion that the move stretched the meaning of the law, upheld a decision by the state Court of Appeals that using the revenue for parks was appropriate.
The court agreed to consider the case under the belief that it was in the public interest, even though the Legislature had already allocated the funding.
Lawmakers in 2009 sent nearly $10 million from the fuel tax account to the state general fund. Offroad advocates said that left a significant amount of trail work unfunded in Central Washington, among other projects across the state.
The case was brought by the Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance, Northwest Motorcycle Association and several personal plaintiffs.