State lawyers are telling a judge that Montana's governor had the constitutional right to veto spending on projects he deemed unwanted or unnecessary.

Six local governments are suing Gov. Brian Schweitzer, trying to undo his vetoes of money for their local bridge and water projects.

They asked a judge in Helena on Wednesday to grant a preliminary injunction to make sure the money remains available in case they prevail in the lawsuit.

The projects were to be funded through a program that uses the interest earnings from coal-tax investments.

The lawsuit was filed by Carbon, Fergus, Madison and Sweet Grass counties, along with the city of Roundup and the town of Sheridan

They argue the legislation was not in an appropriations bill, so Schweitzer did not have line-item veto authority.

Associated Press