LOS ANGELES, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Beverly Hills Unified School District ("BHUSD") today filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court asking a judge to set aside the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority ("Metro") approval of the Final EIS/EIR for the Westside Subway Extension Project. The lawsuit was filed under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), which requires that government agencies such as Metro consider environmental consequences before certifying or approving projects like the Westside Subway Extension.
According to the lawsuit, Metro failed to comply with CEQA "due to a rush-to-judgment" in locating the Westside Subway Extension station in Century City at Constellation Boulevard. The lawsuit alleges that the Metro Board made its decision without considering the full and complete information about alternatives needed to adequately make an informed choice.
"This has been a biased and flawed process from the beginning. Metro decided long ago that it wanted to put the Century City station at Constellation and it has refused to review or consider any other options," stated Brian Goldberg, president of the BHUSD Board of Education.
The lawsuit provides details describing how Metro "secretly pre-committed to the Constellation Station long before all the evidence was in (and even before it released the Draft EIS/EIR) by only providing information to the [Federal Transportation Administration] for the New Starts process for a Constellation Station, even though the [locally preferred alternative] included both Santa Monica Boulevard and Constellation Boulevard alternative alignments and stations for Century City. Metro appeared to have selected the Constellation alternative more than a year and a half earlier and all of the reports Metro has prepared and issued since appeared to be a slanted, post hoc rationalization for that decision."
According to the lawsuit, Metro also used potentially flawed and erroneous studies to discredit and rule out a potential station location at Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars because it favored a Constellation station location. The lawsuit points to the fact that numerous geologists and other experts have questioned Metro's seismic studies and findings because, among other things, they involved no soil dating work or open trenching, the only reliable method to determine active faulting. Goldberg also noted that, "BHUSD's experts are convinced, and their studies have proven, that a Santa Monica Boulevard station location would be a safe and viable option."
Metro made the decision to choose the Constellation Boulevard station contrary to the best interests of the public, according to the lawsuit, because "the Draft EIS/EIR determined that the Santa Monica Boulevard Station would have a higher ridership than Constellation, cost at least $60 million less than Constellation, and shorten travel time since Santa Monica provided a more direct route than Constellation -- all positive benefits achieved without tunneling under Beverly Hills High School."
Kevin Brogan, attorney for the BHUSD, added that Metro forced the lawsuit because of its insistence on moving forward and voting on the project prior to the completion of all relevant scientific studies. "The BHUSD supports the Westside Subway Extension and did not want to file this lawsuit. But Metro's purported consideration of the Santa Monica Boulevard station location was nothing more than lip service, and its headlong rush to approve the alignment before all studies were finalized left BHUSD no choice," said Brogan.
Goldberg echoing Brogan's sentiment on the need to file the lawsuit, stated "the BHUSD did not want to file this lawsuit. Today's action is a direct result of Metro's intransigence, and is the only option available to have an open, honest and fair hearing to protect BHHS. The unnecessary cost and delay of litigation could have been prevented if the Metro Board had only listened to the numerous experts that testified before them, and ordered that additional testing be undertaken to prove once and for all what would be the safest alternative for the Century City Subway station."
SOURCE Beverly Hills Unified School DistrictBack to top