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SANDAG’s Transportation Plan Goes Back To Drawing Board

Opponents of a region-wide roadmap to coordinate future transportation projects in San Diego County announced today that the plan's environmental impact report was rejected by a Superior Court judge.

The California Attorney General and the Sierra Club joined the lawsuit against the regional transportation plan approved by the San Diego Association of Governments.
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Above: The California Attorney General and the Sierra Club joined the lawsuit against the regional transportation plan approved by the San Diego Association of Governments.

The ruling means the San Diego Association of Governments, which developed the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, might have to make adjustments to lower the amount of greenhouse gas emissions expected in the future. The result could be fewer road projects and more investments in public transportation.

Judge Timothy Taylor wrote in his decision that he expects the case to be appealed.

SANDAG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The judge ruled that the emissions contemplated in the RTP violate state law enacted four years ago in an executive order by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Taylor found that SANDAG wrongly concluded that failure to meet emission standards was not a significant impact on the environment.

The ruling "will create a brighter future for San Diego,'' said Jack Shu of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against SANDAG.

The RTP was opposed by several environmental groups and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

"The court is setting an important example here for regional planning agencies throughout California,'' said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California. "We cannot wait another 40 years to adopt sensible transportation and land-use policies.''

The judge noted in the decision filed Monday that the RTP "involved thousands of hours of effort by numerous talented professionals'' who took some risk in being the first major agency in state to tackle the new greenhouse gas rules.

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