BREAKING NEWS Neighbors for Smart Rail Legal Petition to Force New Environmental Review for the Expo Line Is Denied

Back in December, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew issued a preliminary ruling to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a coalition of Westside homeowner and community groups fighting Phase II of the Expo Line, which will complete the connection from Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Monica.  Last night, McKnew it official and denied the lawsuit brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail.  Expo backer Gökhan Esirgen sent out an email last night celebrating the ruling and commenting that, “This was the only major remaining legal hurdle facing the Expo Line.”

Darrell Clarke, the founder of Friends 4 Expo Transit, took a cautionary note, but also commented that the court rejected a last-ditch argument by NFSR that traffic studies be based on current  conditions, not projected traffic.  “I want to read the decision before going into much detail. The judge apparently concluded that the Sunnyvale decision didn’t change his December Tentative Decision to deny NFSR’s petition.”

Which makes sense, considering that key conclusions of the Final EIR were that there were NO significant traffic, safety, or noise impacts after mitigation, and nothing in NFSR’s lawsuit showed otherwise.

NFSR had previously promised an appeal if they lost in McKnew’s court.  However, unless they get an order staying construction while the trial moves forward, they could end up litigating against a rail line that’s already being built.

The Construction contract for Phase II of the Expo Line is expected to be awarded on March 18.

Full coverage will come later this afternoon or whenever the full ruling is available online.

  • Woo Hoo!

  • Bob L.

    Interesting how NFSR send out selected information about the December tentative decision to solicit more money to fight a losing battle as the price of gas is rising again at an alarming rate.

  • Gerald

    Thank Goodness!!! I wonder how many environmental studies the Eurpoeans cried for before the Alps HSR tunnel could be built. I’m no way against due process when it comes to such projects, but some folks whine all the time…and usually nothing ever gets done! Hooray for Expo to Santa Monica!!!

  • Erik G.

    @Bob L.

    Indeed, on the day that Nynex goes above $100/barrel and Brent Crude punches past $111/barrel.

  • Erik G.

    Nymex! Sorry! (NYNEX was a Baby-Bell ancestor company to Verizon)

  • Bob L.

    Just heard on the radio that oil has reached $100/barrel.

  • Erik G.

    $100 was the New York price, but a better indicator here, because of proximity and refining issues, is what Brent Crude is doing since Libya supplies the European market.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/41757085

    And as of this morning here (afternoon in Europe) that has now risen to $120:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110224/bs_nm/us_markets_oil

  • Marcotico

    Erik G. you’re a transportation nerd, and a gas price nerd! You da man!

  • These folks knew the suit was a likely loser but were stuck having to go through the motions after over the past decade loudly proclaiming they would stop the project. This way they save face (sob! sob!) and can blame the judge and what to them are dastardly advocates. It has played out just the way I suspected it would.

  • The rise in Brent Crude freaking everyone out here just proves how dependent we are on (foreign) oil. When will these idiots that are addicted to their cars realize that the better way to travel is by walking and taking public transit as a lifestyle. Driving a car should be a recreational thing.

  • Jerard

    Thank God, I’m glad that MRT Grade Crossing Policy ideas- which incorporated some of the Sunnyvale EIR style- got severly neutered because it would have fostered a lot of the non-sense that the judge quite properly threw out in this case.

  • Mark

    Build it. Private automobiles are not sustainable as the primary means of transit.

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It’s Official: Back to Court for Expo Phase II and NFSR

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As promised, Neighbors for Smart Rail (NFSR) is appealing the decision of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew to dismiss their lawsuit alleging that the Expo Construction Authority violated state environmental law when doing their studies of the future light rail lines route.  The appeal was filed nearly two weeks ago, on September 15, […]