LOS ANGELES - Today, in a precedent-setting legal setback for the City of Lynwood, Superior Court Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled in favor of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) and granted an ACTA motion enabling the agency to receive $246,486 in attorney's fees from Lynwood.
Lynwood has initiated costly litigation against ACTA since 1996 primarily challenging the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Report
While ordering Lynwood to pay ACTA's legal fees, O'Brien said, "The Court finds that an important right affecting the public interest has been addressed in the present case."
"Without proper and reasonable closure and termination of the CEQA process major projects get unnecessarily bogged down in the seemingly never-ending discretionary review. The evaluation of this project ran its course with petitioner [Lynwood] as a participant. Allowing a review of the project again would undermine the intent of CEQA ..."
"We are very pleased by the Court's strong and defining ruling on this matter," said ACTA General Manager Gill Hicks. "His decision not only re-affirms the extensive EIR process conducted for the Alameda Corridor project, it removes one more hurdle for the project and ensures that we will continue to move forward with design and construction of the Alameda Corridor on schedule.
Lisa Beazley, Counsel to ACTA, underscored the importance of today's ruling. "Lynwood is maintaining a similar action in federal court challenging the federal environmental document. Judge O'Brien's order dismissing the state court case and awarding ACTA its attorney's fees and costs incurred defending the action should send a strong message to Lynwood that the federal action is without merit. As such, Lynwood should voluntarily dismiss the federal lawsuit."
The Alameda Corridor consolidates the operations of two freight rail carriers and eliminates more than 200 grade crossings, creating a 20-mile high-speed, high-capacity corridor connecting the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the transcontinental rail center in downtown Los Angeles. It is estimated that the Alameda Corridor will create up to 10,000 construction-related jobs. Additional trade activity resulting from port growth could generate as many as 700,000 jobs in Southern California by the year 2020.