Monday, February 4, 2013

Judges must not be allowed to veto the Perris Valley Line from the bench

(2/4/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short

The Metrolink Perris Valley Line extension, now mired in an environmental lawsuit, is about to have its fate decided by Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters according to the Press Enterprise which is very embarrassing for the state government.

It is a scientific fact that mass transit options for the I-215 corridor will benefit the environment and highways, not negate them. The opposing party has a number of arguments against the Metrolink extension which appear frivolous and very puritanical on the surface, but has enough merit to warrant a trial due to loopholes in the California Environmental Quality Act.

Among the claims, the group Friends of Riverside’s Hills said the environmental impact report inadequately explains the number of truck trips needed to remove soil. Other issues brought up were the schedule for excavating the dirt, the removal of an illegal trail crossing over the right-of-way, the squealing noise train wheels make when taking sharp turns, engine noises, and other construction-related noise. Because of those claims, Judge Waters can unilaterally decide that the Perris Valley Line failed to follow the California Environmental Quality Act, even though the I-215 rail transit alternative will actually benefit the environment.

Truth be told: Mass transit is good for the environment and the Perris Valley Line’s fate must not be vetoed by a judge; that’s legislating from the bench. The state legislature needs to amend the California Environmental Quality Act, close up its loopholes, and make it retroactive to any environmentally- friendly transportation project stalled in court. Riverside County taxpayers should not be on the hook if a construction contractor carelessly generates too much dust pollution, noise or truck traffic. Penalize the contractor with a heavy fine if its employees break CEQA laws, but don’t hold overdue transportation projects hostage. Doing nothing is a recipe for increased traffic congestion and worsened smog pollution.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah yeah yet another group of people with nothing better to do but stand in the way of progress. I am all for LEGITIMATE ecological concerns, however not for things that are thought up while sitting on the throne taking a dump.

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