Judge Dismisses Legal Challenge by the City of Lynwood
LOS ANGELES - U.S. District Judge Manuel Real dismissed a lawsuit Monday filed by the City of Lynwood that clears the way for the Alameda Corridor Project - a 20-mile express rail corridor under construction in south Los Angeles County - to move forward.
"We are pleased to have the litigation behind us," said Jeffrey Kellogg, chairman of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA). "We are looking forward to the completion of the Alameda Corridor which is so critical to the economic future of Southern California."
The ruling marks the final legal challenge brought by the City of Lynwood contesting the federal Environmental Impact Study
(EIS) prepared by ACTA for the project. The lawsuit tested the adequacy of the EIS and asked the court to block ACTA from proceeding with the development of the project by delaying the transfer of a $400 million federal loan to the project. A delay would have increased the overall cost of the $2 billion project and precluded completion by the year 2001.
The Alameda Corridor Project, formally deemed a national priority by President Clinton earlier this year, will connect the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with the intercontinental railroad mainlines near downtown Los Angeles along Alameda Street, speeding freight to and from the ports. The corridor is expected to become the vital link that keeps the nation's busiest port complex at the forefront of international trade into the next century.
Earlier this year, the City of Lynwood filed another unsuccessful lawsuit in state court challenging the project's Environmental Impact Report. This action was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien. In that action, Lynwood was ordered to pay ACTA $250,000 in attorney's fees.
These two actions were filed by Lynwood following the dismissal of an earlier action brought by the cities of Vernon, Lynwood, Compton and South Gate. The cities sought greater control over financial decisions of the Alameda Corridor project. Both the California Appellate Court and the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of ACTA.
Lisa Beazley, the private attorney representing ACTA, said that based on the City of Lynwood's appeal of previous court dismissals, it will likely appeal Judge Real's decision.
"Both Judge O'Brien and Judge Real gave thoughtful consideration to Lynwood's position. I remain confident that their respective decisions to dismiss these matters will be affirmed at the appellate level," Beazley