On August 8th, the California Supreme Court granted review of the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority. As previously blogged in April, the Second District found that a lead agency’s use of projected future conditions to measure the environmental impacts that a long-term infrastructure project would have on traffic and air quality did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Second District’s decision put it at odds with holdings of the Fifth and Sixth District Court of Appeals, making the issue of whether CEQA prohibits the use of projected future baselines ripe for review.
Public agencies have long argued that using current-conditions to measure the impacts of major infrastructure projects that will not be completed for many years to come is not helpful in determining the true traffic and air quality impacts the project will have once operational. The California Supreme Court will now decide whether CEQA allows public agencies to have the discretion to select a future baseline for long-term projects. Our blog will keep you updated on the court’s decision.