Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenges to EIS for Major L.A. Transit Project

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected two challenges to the EIS for the Regional Connector project proposed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The project would provide a critical link in the light-rail transit system in Los Angeles by closing the gap between the Gold Line and the Blue and Expo Lines in downtown Los Angeles. Two property owners—Japanese Village Plaza and the Bonaventure Hotel—oppose the project because of impacts construction will have on their properties. The Ninth Circuit rejected the property owners’ claims, finding that: the Record of Decision was properly assembled; Metro and the FTA adequately analyzed groundborne noise and vibration impacts during construction and operation and appropriately considered and adopted mitigation measures; the EIS adequately analyzed impacts and mitigation for potential subsidence during construction; the EIS adequately analyzed parking impacts, impacts due to grade separation in roadways during construction, and emergency ingress and egress during construction; the EIS properly found that alternative construction methods are infeasible; and the EIS did not improperly defer the formulation of mitigation. These lawsuits are two of the several lawsuits the property owners have filed against Metro seeking to stop construction of the project. Previously, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected the property owners’ CEQA claims.
RMM Attorneys Tiffany Wright and Whit Manley represent Metro.