The California Supreme Court issued its opinion on Monday on a long-running lawsuit brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail against the second phase of the Expo Line. Neighbors for Smart Rail had alleged that the environmental study for the project was insufficient in two regards. On those points:
1. The Supreme Court found that the Expo Construction Authority sufficiently studied the effects of spillover parking near stations.
2. The Supreme Court also concluded that transportation agencies have discretion under certain circumstances to measure the significance of a project’s traffic and air quality impacts against future conditions (the Expo Line study used conditions as they were expected to be in 2030).
While the Court indicated that the Expo Authority should have also measured the significance of the Expo Line’s traffic and air quality impacts against conditions in 2015 — when the project was expected to be complete — the Court concluded that this was an “insubstantial” technical error and that technical error did not preclude informed decision-making about the project’s impacts and public participation regarding the Expo Project.
As a result, the Expo Line Construction Authority does not have to redo any part of its environmental study for the project and construction work may continue to proceed. The 6.6-mile project is extending the Expo Line light rail from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica and is funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
Categories: Transportation News