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.