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Boston v. Volpe

Citation: 2 ELR 20501
No. No. 72-1092, 464 F.2d 254/4 ERC 1337/(1st Cir., 07/17/1972) Aff'd

"Tentative allocations" of federal aid to an airport project, followed by an application for funds, do not sufficiently federalize an airport runway project so as to require an injunction of construction already begun by the applicant before the putative grantor of funds has filed an impact statement. Federal agencies may be subject to duties concerning a proposed federal action at a time when an applicant for federal funds may not yet be enjoined from acting on its own.Whether this project has become a federal one is a factual issue, on which the present record does not support a finding of federal action, because the process of obtaining funds itself has not progressed to the point where project is federalized. Plaintiff's asserted analogy between "tentative allocations" to airport projects and aid to highways is unsuccessful. Unlike federal highway aid, which goes through a number of discrete stages before final federal approval, the airport aid scheme contemplates a single decision to fund or not to fund. A "tentative allocation" for an airport is an administrative device for planning, but the actual project is ordinarily given closer scrutiny before a decision to award funds. DOT's specifically environmental regulations state that approval of highway aid is a federal action, but make no mention of tentative allocations for airports. Finally, tentative allocations are no more binding than the words themselves or representations of defendants suggest. For opinion of district court, see 2 ELR 20169.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Herbert P. Gleason Corporation Counsel
Peter Koff
Lawrence J. Ball Assistant Corporation Counsel
City of Boston Law Department
One City Hall Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02201

Counsel for Secretary of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administrator
Joseph L. Tauro U.S. Attorney
Terry Phillip Segal Ass't. U.S. Attorney
Post Office & Court House
Boston, Massachusetts

Counsel for Massachusetts Port Authority
Neil V. Lynch Chief Counsel
Massachusetts Port Authority
470 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02210

Before Aldrich, Chief Judge, McEntee and Coffin, Circuit Judges. Coffin, Circuit J.