Construction Authority Responds to CEQA Ruling

The Construction Authority issued the following press release today in response to a Superior Court’s decision to vacate a previous ruling from October 2011 that validated the Authority’s certified Supplemental EIR for the Pasadena to Azusa project. The Authority is planning on requesting a reversal of today’s decision, because the ruling was based on erroneous facts.


The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Will Seek Reversal of Court Ruling on CEQA Lawsuit

Court’s Ruling Based on Factual Errors

MONROVIA – The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced today that it will request reversal of a court ruling released this morning, because it was based on erroneous facts. The ruling released today “vacates” a previous ruling that had validated the Construction Authority’s certification of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR), which, among other things, found the Monrovia maintenance and operations (M&O) facility site environmentally superior to another site in the City of Irwindale. At issue in today’s ruling was the adequacy of the alternatives reviewed in the SEIR for the M&O facility.

While rejecting one of the arguments made by the petitioner – that the number of alternatives reviewed in the SEIR was insufficient – the ruling found, incorrectly, that the alternate site in Irwindale evaluated in the SEIR was not feasible because of its location. The ruling stated that the site was “located beyond the terminus of Phase 2A [Pasadena to Azusa] of the project.” In fact, the site in Irwindale, just south of the I-210 Freeway, is directly adjacent to the Phase 2A (Pasadena to Azusa) alignment.

“The basis of today’s ruling is quite confusing to us, as it seems to be based on a factual inaccuracy—that the alternative site evaluated for the M&O facility was outside the Pasadena to Azusa project area,” said Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. “In fact, the alternative site evaluated in Irwindale not only sits directly along the project alignment, it also meets all other requirements set for the M&O facility. In the end, it was just found to be environmentally inferior to the Monrovia site.”

After a thorough, year-long process, that included multiple public meetings and hearings, the Construction Authority Board of Directors certified the SEIR, identifying the Monrovia M&O site as the preferred site, in January 2011.

“It is our hope that when the court understands that the Irwindale alternative site is located adjacent to the Pasadena to Azusa alignment , it will conclude that the Authority’s SEIR complied with CEQA’s requirements regarding analysis of project alternatives,” said Balian. “It is an unfortunate error, but it is one we trust the court will correct as quickly as possible.”

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa is a $735 million project funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R. The light rail extension is being overseen by the Construction Authority and is currently under construction. The project is on schedule to be completed in 2015, extending the Metro Gold Line light rail line from its current terminus in Pasadena along the Foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The extension includes six stations in the Cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. During the four year construction project, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation estimates that the project will generate nearly 7,000 jobs and $1 billion in economic output for the region.

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