BY PETER SUROWSKI AND RICHARD K. DE ATLEY
A judge has rejected the environmental impact report for a proposed Metrolink line from Riverside to Perris, telling the Riverside County Transportation Commission that it failed to address such issues as train wheel noise and pedestrian safety.
The decision is a significant setback for the $232.7 million project that would add 24 miles of track and four new stations from Riverside to Perris to the Metrolink system. Projections for the line say it would see about 4,000 boardings daily.
The commission can pursue design and planning activities, but cannot proceed with any construction, Superior Court Judge Sharon J. Waters said in a ruling made available Thursday, May 16.
“I was pleased with the judgment,” said Ray Johnson, an attorney for Friends of Riverside’s Hills, a nonprofit environmental group that filed the suit in August 2011. “I think it was the appropriate decision.”
The group’s lawsuit said the RCTC failed to follow the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires governmental agencies to disclose a project’s impact and work to reduce them.
An environmental impact report describes the impact a project will have. They often cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months to complete.
A release from the commission said the decision “indefinitely delays” the project.
John Standiford, the deputy executive director of RCTC, said the lawsuit abused the intent of the quality act.
“We are disappointed in the decision and frustrated about how CEQA is being misused to stop a project that is not only environmentally friendly but also provides a number of benefits, such as a quiet zone, sound walls and safety improvements at rail crossings,” Standiford said.
METROLINK: Judge’s ruling on Perris Valley Line
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