The Metrolink Perris Valley Line continues to be stalled and mired in an environmental lawsuit. Ironically, the case has very little to do with long term impacts on the environment and the state can easily address much of the points that RCTC is mandated to correct by changing CEQA law.
Here are the issues that RCTC must address to the court within five days:
A negative impact to a sensitive toad population, the safety of pedestrians using a hiking trail that would cross the tracks, the peace of nearby homes due to wheel noise and the air quality due to the number of truck trips needed to transport soil.
While all of this taxpayer-funded litigation is taking place, the state government needs to continue its debate on amending CEQA law. The legislature could address the rail line's so-called environmental issues by amending the law and making it retroactive. The law needs to hold accountable contracted firms who disrupt the environment during construction, not the taxpaying public. CEQA loopholes need to be closed so that NIMBY groups cannot abuse CEQA law to delay or stop long term environmentally-friendly projects in court simply because they oppose it.
A strong pro-environment CEQA law can address and solve the rail line's issues:
Will a habitat displacement actually cause a threat to the natural ecosystem, or can such populations be safely migrated elsewhere in the wildlife corridor? What does the safety and development of a hiking trail grade crossing have to do with environmental protection? How much total noise in decibels are passing trains allowed to make through quiet zones? Are contracted firms who disrupt the environment during construction being held accountable?