Monday, May 20, 2013

Judicial ruling stalls LA Metrolink extension

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A judge has rejected the environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed Metrolink line from Riverside to Perris, ruling that the Riverside County (Calif.) Transportation Commission failed to address such issues as train wheel noise and pedestrian safety.

The judicial ruling stalls the 24-mile, $232.7 million project that would extend Metrolink regional passenger rail service from Riverside to Perris.

Under the ruling issued by Superior Court Judge Sharon J. Waters, the commission can proceed with design and planning activities for the project, but cannot proceed with any construction. The commission, in response, said the decision "indefinitely delays" the project.

Judge Waters said complaints by Friends of Riverside's Hills, including the EIR's failure to adequately address the effect of rail lubricant on the soil, pedestrian safety, train wheel squeal, and construction noise, were of valid concern. The group's lawsuit said the transportation commission did not follow the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires governmental agencies to disclose a project's impact and work to reduce them.

A spokesman for Friends of Riverside's Hills said the group is willing to help the commission address the concerns raised in the suit.

Judge Waters dismissed other claims involving local air quality and the habitat of the Western Spadefoot Toad.