In a ruling filed yesterday, an appeals court denied Beverly Hills’ attempt to block Metro from tunneling under their city to extend the Purple Line subway. The city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) challenged Metro’s environmental studies as being inadequate. In 2014, Beverly Hills lost in the initial round of the lawsuit. This week Beverly Hills lost in their efforts to overturn the earlier ruling. The appeal court’s verdict takes Metro a few steps closer to moving full speed ahead with subway construction.
From the ruling document, posted at The Source, Beverly Hills and BHUSD asserted that Metro’s environmental impact reports (EIS/EIR) “relied on significant new and different information that was not in the draft EIS/EIR” and that Metro “fail[ed] to analyze localized air pollution and public health impacts from [Purple Line] construction.” The court concluded “that substantial evidence supports Metro’s decision not to recirculate the EIS/EIR, and that the EIS/EIR adequately discussed air pollution and public health impacts.” Ultimately the appeals court “affirm[ed] the trial court’s denial of School District’s and City’s petitions.”
The initial 4-mile extension of the Metro Purple Line subway is already under construction and expected to open in 2023. The contentious second extension, which includes a station in — and a tunnel below — Beverly Hills, is anticipated to begin construction soon, pending full funding.
The latest verdict is good news for Metro’s efforts to continue to build out rail transportation networks. Unfortunately, it is also possible that Beverly Hills will continue to appeal to higher courts. Also, per The Source, this week’s decision – an appeal on California law – is only half of the lawsuit with a parallel appeal on federal law still pending.
What will it take for Beverly Hills to drop its animus toward the Purple Line?
With an election for some Beverly Hills school board members on the ballot next week, this issue could be a spoiler in the election. Read more…