Major Battle Victory at the PUC

Posted by Fix Expo Team

(As covered in CityWatchLA)

At the California Public Utilities Commission Hearing Monday on the Expo Line crossings by Dorsey High School and Foshay Learning Center, the assigned Judge Kenneth Koss issued the following statement as part of his ruling:

"With the submission of Expo's information it appears that a grade separation at Farmdale is in fact practicable."

This means that the street-level application with the holding pen is off the table.

The only options are:
a) underpass
b) overpass
c) street closure with a pedestrian bridge

This a major victory for the Dorsey High School family - for the future children of Dorsey HS.

Here’s some of the leadup to the hearing.

The Expo Authority since February has been conducting a study on alternatives to the street-level railroad crossing at Farmdale right by Dorsey HS.

Since April, both our attorneys and the LAUSD lawyers have been requesting the study. Expo has refused to supply it, including during discovery. They were ordered to supply it by the Judge and still they have not. Yet, in June, Expo produced testimony stating that this study showed that closing off Farmdale and building a pedestrian bridge was not possible because it would have adverse traffic impacts on the adjacent crossing of Buckingham that could not be mitigated and would not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Again we requested the study and they failed to supply it.

The LAUSD and our attorneys supplied our testimony in response to Expo's testimony August 6 and July 30 respectively.

Our lawyers filed a request for a continuance on August 7 because of the failure of Expo to supply the document, along with motions to eliminate from the record any reference of Expo's witnesses to the study since Expo refused to supply it. The same day, the Judge denied the request for the continuance and stated the other matters would be addressed on Monday.

On night of August 8, at 7:30 pm, Expo sent amended testimony COMPLETELY REVERSING their position that they could not close Farmdale and on Saturday night they submitted another 75 pg document showing how it would legally comply with CEQA.

The LAUSD is quite clear in their statement:
"We can reasonably infer from such changes in Expo's Friday night revised testimony that the 'draft' traffic study found adverse impacts that would have to mitigated, so Expo commissioned another study to reach a conclusion more to its liking."

Accordingly, the LAUSD has requested they be supplied all of Expo's draft studies to determine the extent of the manipulation by the Expo Authority:
"These studies will provide a window into Expo's apparent manipulation of technical studies to serve its litigation interests in this case. To the extent is shows that Expo has suppressed studies with conclusions not to its liking and has commissioned other studies that later the assumptions or methodologies to arrive at different conclusions, that practice is highly relevant to the weight this Commission should give to Expo's witnesses' testimony. To ignore such practices and to accept the project proponent's technical assertions at face value would make a mockery of this hearing."

Judge Koss answered the question of MTA motives with his Monday decision.