LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bid by Westside homeowners' groups to halt construction of the second phase of the Expo Line light rail from Culver City to Santa Monica has been rejected by the state Supreme Court, who ruled that the environmental impact report on the project was sufficient.
The ruling, which was made 6-1, clears the way for construction of the $1.5 billion project to proceed. The 6.6-mile extension of the rail line is expected to be completed sometime in late 2015.
"We are gratified that the California Supreme Court has affirmed the lower court rulings," Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe said. "Today's decision is a win for taxpayers and the future riders who will soon benefit from a direct connection between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. We remain focused on finishing the Expo Lien on time and on budget in 2015."
Eight bridges along the route are already under construction.
A homeowners' coalition, called Neighbors for Smart Rail, argued that the construction authority used hypothetical 2030 traffic conditions as a baseline to measure the Expo Line's potential effects on traffic as well as air quality on the Westside. The group asserted that it should have been presented with present-day conditions and that the Expo Authority failed to mitigate anticipated parking problems around the proposed stations.
Among others, the group includes the West of Westwood Homeowners Association, Westwood Gardens Civic Association, Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association, and Tract 7260 Homeowners Association.
The court's decision was supported by County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, stating that the ruling "has cleared the last legal hurdle and allowed us to proceed full speed ahead to completing the Expo light rail lane from Culver City to Santa Monica."
"With this litigation now behind us, Westside residents can look forward to an exciting new public transit option when the Expo Line is scheduled to open in 2015," Yaroslavsky said.
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