September 13, 2016: In our “opposition memorandum” filed with the Court on September 9, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail vigorously counter MTA and FTA’s request that the Judge reconsider his August 3 decision regarding the Purple Line.
We argue that the step that MTA and FTA seek would stand NEPA on its head, and that their motions do not remotely satisfy the stringent standards that must be satisfied for the procedure they invoke:
“To the contrary,” our memorandum states, “Defendants are either impermissibly rehashing arguments that were raised and rejected during summary judgment briefing, or they are raising new arguments that could have been raised earlier and hence have been waived. […]”
Further, we note that “to the extent that Defendants complain about the disruption in their efforts to implement the project and the associated costs, as Plaintiffs have previously explained, that is self-inflicted injury because Defendants have known from the outset that judicial review of this highly controversial project was likely and have known for fully two years that it was a reality. […]
To read the full opposition memorandum click here.
Our filing also included three declarations by economic and transportation experts (Exhibits A, B, C) that find that MTA and FTA, in their own recent declarations, artificially inflate projections for Purple Line ridership and downplay the negative effect of the ongoing Metro problems. Also included is a declaration (Exhibit D) highlighting the imminent harms from the Purple Line project should it go forward unchecked as Defendants seek.
To read Exhibit A by economist Frank Lysy, who reviewed major projects for the World Bank, click here;
To read Exhibit B by former VP for Management & Financial Services with the Long Island Rail Road Martin Saggese, click here;
To read Exhibit C by leading transportation planner William Allen, an expert in the field of travel demand forecasting, click here.
To read exhibit D by plaintiff Christine Real de Azua, click here.
Background on the ruling:
On August 3, Judge Leon ordered a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project and vacated the Record of Decision for the Project, thereby postponing the awarding of the federal funding necessary for the project’s full funding agreement. In his opinion memorandum explaining the order, Judge Leon notes the agencies’ failure to assess the impact of Metro’s decline on the Purple Line’s already controversial ridership projections, despite clear indications of major problems at Metro and the law’s provision for a supplemental assessment when significant changes occur. The judge therefore told the agencies that a Supplemental Impact Statement must be produced that, at a minimum, addresses this issue. The judge also “reserved judgment” on all the other claims presented by our lawsuit, such as failure to fully and fairly assess stormwater, noise, cumulative environmental impacts, and more. To read the August 3, 2016 opinion memorandum by Judge Leon, click here.