The California Public Utilities Commission Thursday reaffirmed its approval of railroad crossings for the second phase of the Expo
Line light rail between Culver City and Santa Monica, clearing the final legal
hurdle for the $1.5 billion project.
The commission initially approved the construction of 16 at-grade and 11
grade-separated rail crossings for the 6.6-mile line last year. But a group
of Westside neighborhood groups challenged the decision, leading to the re-hearing by the CPUC.
Neighbors for Smart Rail also filed a lawsuit in hopes of stopping the
line, claiming the Exposition Construction Authority improperly used
hypothetical 2030 traffic conditions as a baseline to measure the Expo Line's
effects on traffic and air quality on the Westside, asserting that it should
have used present-day conditions.
The petition for review also argued that the
Expo Authority failed to mitigate anticipated parking problems around proposed
The state Supreme Court, however, rejected the group's claims.
Meanwhile, construction on the extension -- scheduled for completion in
late 2015 -- has been continuing since last year. Some bridges along the
alignment are already looming over roadways.
"We appreciate the CPUC's diligence in reviewing the crossings for the
Expo Line,'' Exposition Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe said. "Today's
decision allows us to remain focused on completing the Expo Line in 2015 and
bringing a new transit option to Los Angeles.''