Breaking: There’s Finally Light at the End of the Expo Legal Tunnel. Supremes Set Court Date.
One of the longest-running Streetsblog stories is nearing it’s end: the ongoing legal battle over Expo Line environmental documents. The California Supreme Court just announced that it has scheduled a hearing of the Neighbors for Smart Rail v Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority on May 7, 2013.
Two lower courts have already ruled that the Expo Construction Authority (Expo) acted properly basing their traffic studies on future conditions instead of current conditions. However, attorneys for NFSR point to two cases Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera (5th District Court of Appeals, 2011) and Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Assn. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council (6th District Court of Appeals, 2010) where state appellate courts ruled that agencies cannot use future conditions as a baseline when evaluating the environmental impacts of proposed projects.
Faced with conflicting opinions, it’s natural for the Supreme Court to want to have the final say in this case and establish case law for similar legal conflicts in the future. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of NFSR, it could require the traffic study for the entire Expo Phase II to be done over.
Of course, this isn’t television and a ruling won’t be handed down for months after both sides present their cases. One way or another, we’re one step closer to the end of Expo’s legal odyssey that began on Phase I.