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Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation v. Federal Highway Administration

Citation: 44 ELR 20188
No. 13-6214, (6th Cir., 08/07/2014)

The Sixth Circuit, in an unpublished opinion, upheld the dismissal of claims that FHwA violated NEPA when it approved a $2.6 billion construction and transportation management project designed to improve mobility across the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite a nonprofit group's arguments to the contrary, the EIS' Purpose and Need Statement was not arbitrary and capricious. Rather, it is supported by a detailed study of existing traffic, safety, and other cross-river mobility problems, and it described the use of extensive socioeconomic data and state-of-the-art modeling of future travel conditions to project future transportation needs of the region. In addition, FHwA's failure to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions on a project-specific basis was not arbitrary and capricious because of the non-localized, global nature of potential climate impacts. Similarly, FHwA reasonably decided not to analyze the environmental impacts of “ultra-fine” particulates, and it took the requisite hard look at the environmental impacts of road runoff, tunnel spoil concerns, and bridge piers. Nor was FHwA's review of reasonable alternatives arbitrary and capricious.