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Westsiders Could Shut Down Expo Line Work Starting This Week

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A group of Cheviot Hills homeowners who have sued over the Expo Line light rail's extension to Santa Monica are thisclose to halting construction on the $1.5 billion project, which could delay the train by at least a year, cost taxpayers $90 million, and put thousands out of work. The homeowners, known as Neighbors for Smart Rail, object to some of the train's street-level crossings and say it needs to be built as a subway through their neighborhood (Metro says that would be completely unfeasible from a budget standpoint). NFSR has already lost in the Superior Court and the State Appellate Court, but now they've appealed to the California Supreme Court--and they're asking for a stay on all construction, which has been going on for a year and is currently in high-gear (the extension is expected to open in 2015 or '16).

The Expo Line construction authority and local politicians like County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky are pleading with the high court not to allow a halt on construction. "[LA County] communities have double-digit unemployment rates and delaying the project would only send hundreds of local construction workers back to the unemployment line," Yaroslavsky said in a release. "Delaying the project for a year would cost $90 million and result in the loss of more than 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. The harm to the economy, local jobs and our efforts to build a modern transit system would be substantial."

The Expo construction authority and Metro sent a letter to the court describing the harms that work stoppage would cause, and argued that none of NFSR's complaints pertain to construction (it's more about traffic impacts after the line is operating), so they have no basis to demand a work stoppage. Photo courtesy Dwight Sturtevant
· Expo Line Phase II Archives [Curbed LA]