Trucking Group Slaps D.C. Mayor With “Discrimination” Lawsuit Over Street Mural Dispute
Washington D.C. – A trucking group has filed a lawsuit against the mayor of Washington D.C. and other officials after its request to paint “Trucker Lives Matter” (TLM) on a street near the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) headquarters was deemed “not feasible.”
Last week, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) moved ahead with civil litigation filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The suit stems from the SBTC’s recent request to allow the 15,000-member group to paint its TLM logo on New Jersey Ave. SE, directly in front of the USDOT.
In its request to Mayor Bowser, the SBTC wrote, “It is imperative that policy makers in the Department of Transportation are fully aware and reminded daily that the policies they make affect lives of the hundreds of thousands of commercial motor vehicle truck drivers in the United States.”
Further, the SBTC argued that disallowing its request would be discriminatory given the fact that Mayor Bowser commissioned “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) and “Defund the Police” murals along 16th Street.
Mayor Bowser also renamed the street Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Emails obtained by Transportation Nation Network (TNN) between the SBTC, Mayor Bowser’s office, and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) reveal officials deemed the trucking group’s request “not feasible.”
In its complaint, SBTC argues the actions of city officials, including Mayor Bowser, deprive the group of its rights protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Specifically, the SBTC accuses Mayor Bowser of “favoring the expressive messages painted on 16th St. NW and creating the appearance of endorsing those messages to the exclusion of Plaintiff s message on a related subject matter.”
Further, court records show the SBTC identified a closed section on 3rd St. near the USDOT where it offered to paint TLM instead of on New Jersey Ave. in front of the USDOT headquarters.
City officials did not respond to the SBTC’s revised request.
The SBTC is asking the Court to order Mayor Bowser to issue a permit allowing for the TLM street mural to be painted.
Additionally, the SBTC is also asking the Court to order Mayor Bowser to name the area designated for the street mural “Trucker Lives Matter Plaza.”
Mayor Bowser Also Under Fire From FHWA
TNN has also learned Mayor Bowser is under fire from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) over commissioning the BLM-backed murals without proper approval.
FHWA has certain stipulations about what signs, if any, can be painted on roadways that receive federal funding.
As a result, FHWA has informed Mayor Bowser she will need to remove the sign and reopen 16th Street to traffic.
Businesses located along that stretch are also threatening to sue over the road closure.
TNN will have more reporting on this in the days ahead.