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Expo Authority Says It Will "Vigorously" Defend Line In Lawsuit

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Stating that they are "extremely disappointed that a small faction of the community seeks to delay the extension of a project that has the overwhelming support of the communities on the Westside," today the Expo Authority issued a response to the lawsuit brought by unhappy homeowners over Phase II of the Expo Line, the light rail that'll extend from Culver City to Santa Monica. The Expo's release also says that they "confident that the Phase 2 project complies fully with the California Environmental Quality Act" and notes that the "Authority intends to defend the project vigorously." As for how many people are behind this suit, Robert Silverstein, attorney for Neighbors for Smart Rail, the group suing, says there are four neighborhood associations--representing roughly 5,000 homeowners--involved. Asked for a response to the Expo Authority's statement, Mike Eveloff, President. Tract No. 7260 Association, Inc. and a member of NSR, takes issues with Expo's characterization of a "small faction" of homeowners are involved. "It's factually incorrect," he says.

Press release issued today by Expo Authority:
The February 4, 2010 approval of the Phase 2 extension of the Expo Light Rail Line from Culver City to Santa Monica culminated decades of planning, including extensive environmental studies, to provide modern transit service connecting the Westside with Downtown L.A. Given the long and careful planning history, and the urgent need for traffic relief, we are extremely disappointed that a small faction of the community seeks to delay the extension of a project that has the overwhelming support of the communities on the Westside. The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (Expo Authority) is confident that the Phase 2 project complies fully with the California Environmental Quality Act and the Authority intends to defend the project vigorously. The Authority conducted many large-scale community meetings and well over one hundred additional key stakeholder briefings to discuss the alternatives that were studied and to obtain feedback from the public. The selected project alternative reflects the consensus of the communities served by the project and incorporates the highest standards for design, public safety and environmental protection.

In February, the Expo Authority certified the project’s Phase 2 Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act and approved the preferred alternative alignment extending the Phase 1 project from Culver City to Santa Monica. At their March meeting, the Authority Board also authorized the CEO to negotiate and award contracts for preliminary engineering work, which will commence as soon as negotiations are complete.

Communities on the Westside of Los Angeles are among the most traffic-congested in the nation and have long been underserved when it comes to options for public transportation. We look forward to starting preliminary engineering work which will be the first milestone in bringing increased mobility and enhancing the quality of life for thousands of commuters throughout the Southland.

· Stop That Train, Says Group [Curbed LA]