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Evanston, City of v. Regional Transp. Auth.

Citation: 17 ELR 21097
No. No. 86-2113, 825 F.2d 1121/26 ERC 1572/(7th Cir., 07/10/1987)

The court holds that the City of Evanston, Illinois, its mayor, and two aldermen do not have standing under the Urban Mass Transportation Act (UMTA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), or as taxpayers to challenge the establishment of a bus garage using a grant from the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration. The court holds that the UMTA creates no explicit or implied private cause of action. Turning to the NEPA issues, the court initially observes that in light of the property's current use as a steel manufacturing business, conversion to a bus garage would seem to be an environmental improvement. The Urban Mass Transportation Administration has categorically excluded bus storage and maintenance facilities in industrial areas from NEPA review, and there is no showing why this exclusion should not apply. Moreover, the two aldermen have shown no personal stake in the use of this property, and the city and mayor likewise have shown no concrete way in which use as a bus garage would be more detrimental than a steel business. Standing is not conferred under NEPA merely because plaintiffs generally disfavor a proposed use of a particular piece of property, if they do not allege some distinct injury in fact to their environmental interests. Finally, taxpayer standing is available only to challenge congressional action, and so is inapplicable to this executive branch action.

Counsel for Appellant
Jack M. Siegel
39 S. LaSalle St., Suite 919, Chicago IL 60603
(312) 263-2968

Counsel for Appellee
James T. Hynes, Chief, Civil Division
U.S. Attorney's Office
219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-5312

John C. Berghoff
Chadwell & Kayser, Ltd.
8500 Sears Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago IL 60606-6592
(312) 876-2188

Before BAUER, Chief Judge, WOOD, JR., Circuit Judge, and PELL, Senior Circuit Judge.