DOWNTOWN — The California Supreme Court has denied a request by a group of Westside homeowners to stop construction on the second phase of the Expo Light Rail Line from Culver City to Santa Monica, public transit officials announced Thursday.
The court late Wednesday denied the request by Neighbors for Smart Rail, which filed a lawsuit to block construction of the 6.6-mile transit line out of concern that the Exposition Construction Authority allegedly failed to properly study the project’s impacts on traffic and the environment by using hypothetical traffic conditions as a baseline.
The court did not issue a written opinion explaining why it denied the request, which had also been shot down at the appeals court level.
The authority said last month that halting construction would cost about $90 million and jeopardize thousands of jobs. Work on the $1.5 billion light rail line began in August and will continue, officials said in a statement.
The extension of the line from Culver City will include seven new stations, including a terminus at Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street near Santa Monica Place and the Third Street Promenade.
“This decision preserves thousands of direct and indirect jobs just when our local economy is slowly starting to recover,” said Expo Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents Santa Monica. “At the same time, it keeps our efforts to build a modern transit system on-track.”
Representatives with Neighbors for Smart Rail said they respect the court’s decision and emphasized that their lawsuit is still active and have faith that the court will ultimately rule in their favor.
“Why build something that was poorly designed and based on a flawed study,” said Michael Eveloff with the neighborhood coalition. “It is inconsistent with previous Supreme Court decisions and several appellate court decisions and it seems like a terrible risk to spend valuable tax money building a project that could very well have its approvals redrawn.”
Service on Phase 1 of the Expo Line began in Spring 2012. Construction of Phase 2 is expected to be completed in late 2015, officials said.