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Ruling Expected This Week On Metro Tunneling Under Beverly Hills High School

Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 – 3:17 PM

By Matt Lopez

A ruling is expected this week on whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority must vacate plans to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School as part of the Westside Subway Extension.

U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu appeared poised to make his ruling Friday, but that day’s late afternoon court date instead turned into a chance for final closing arguments from each side.

Wu did indicate that at the very least, he would require Metro to include a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), which Metro estimated would take about six months. Attorneys for the City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District, however, argued that ordering an SEIS without forcing Metro to find a new route for the subway would essentially be pointless.

Philip Karmel, an attorney for the City, called it “judicial fiction” that an SEIS would be taken seriously by Metro after the Federal Transit Administration has already awarded a grant of more than $1 billion dollars, with Metro closing in on a design-build contract for more than $2 billion.

“We believe it will be rendered an empty exercise,” Karmel said. “The analysis should be done first, then considered, then the decision should be made about whether to throw a billion dollars at this project. That’s why [vacating the alignment] is so important.”

Judge Wu said a ruling would be sent to both parties sometime this week.

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