819 F.2d 294 (D.C. Cir. 1987), 86-5714, Taxpayers Watchdog, Inc. v. Stanley

Docket Nº:86-5714.
Citation:819 F.2d 294
Party Name:Envtl. TAXPAYERS WATCHDOG, INC., et al., Appellants, v. Ralph L. STANLEY, Administrator, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, et al.
Case Date:May 19, 1987
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 294

819 F.2d 294 (D.C. Cir. 1987)

Envtl.

TAXPAYERS WATCHDOG, INC., et al., Appellants,

v.

Ralph L. STANLEY, Administrator, Urban Mass Transportation

Administration, et al.

No. 86-5714.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

May 19, 1987

Page 295

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 86-02455).

Page 296

William T. Coleman, Jr., Donald T. Bliss and Jacob M. Lewis, Los Angeles, Cal., were on appellee's, Southern California Rapid Transit Dist., motion for summary affirmance.

Joseph E. diGenova, U.S. Atty., Royce C. Lamberth, R. Craig Lawrence, Edith S. Marshall and Mark E. Nagle, Asst. U.S. Attys., Washington, D.C., were on the federal appellee's motion for summary affirmance.

Nina Bang-Jensen, Washington, D.C., and Robert D. Donaldson, Los Angeles, Cal., were on the oppositions.

Before BORK, SILBERMAN and D.H. GINSBURG, Circuit Judges.

Opinion PER CURIAM.

ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY AFFIRMANCE

PER CURIAM.

Appellee Ralph Stanley, Administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration ("UMTA") and intervenor Southern California Rapid Transit District ("SCRTD") have each moved this court for summary affirmance of an order of the district court granting summary judgment to UMTA. Because the district court was correct in granting judgment to UMTA, the motions are granted and the order on appeal is summarily affirmed.

On September 3, 1986, appellant Taxpayers Watchdog ("Taxpayers") filed a complaint in the district court seeking to enjoin UMTA from disbursing $225.6 million in federal funds to SCRTD for the construction of a metro rail system in Los Angeles, California. The complaint alleged that UMTA had contracted with SCRTD to release federal funds for construction of a four mile subway system without first complying with the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 4321 et seq. (1982) ("NEPA").

Following an expedited hearing on September 5, the district court temporarily restrained UMTA from releasing the funds. Shortly thereafter, SCRTD intervened as a defendant, and along with UMTA, opposed the request for injunctive relief and moved for summary judgment. In response, Taxpayers also moved for summary judgment. Following a hearing on October 1, the restraining order was dissolved and judgment entered for UMTA. This appeal followed.

In 1978, in the hope of securing federal funds to improve public transportation in southern California, SCRTD presented to UMTA a document entitled "Draft Alternatives Analysis/Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report." ("Draft EIS"). The Draft EIS presented eleven mass transit alternatives designed to improve public transportation in and around the city of Los Angeles. The Draft EIS was approved by UMTA in May, 1979, and made available for review and public comment during the following month. In September of that year, the SCRTD adopted "Alternative II" as its "preferred alternative." 1 Alternative II was an 18.6 mile subway line between the Los Angeles central business district and North Hollywood.

In April, 1980, after public hearings, the SCRTD and UMTA adopted the first tier environmental documentation. The SCRTD then began the preliminary engineering

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phase of the project, analyzing in detail the effects of the preferred alternative.

By November of 1983, the SCRTD published its "second tier" or "final" EIS. The final EIS analyzed four alternative plans for the metro rail project: (a) the locally preferred alternative of 18.6 miles of entirely below ground tracks; (b) the same 18.6 mile system with some aerial components; (c) the "minimum operable segment" of 8.8 miles, and (d) a "no project" alternative. Shortly thereafter, the underground 18.6 mile plan was adopted for final design and construction, and UMTA approved the final EIS.

In 1984, however, the federal government dramatically curtailed the funding available for local transit projects. Thus, UMTA could not commit itself to provide funds for the 18.6 mile or even the 8.8 mile systems. In response, SCRTD developed a fifth alternative. This alternative...

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