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Price Rd. Neighborhood Ass'n v. Dep't of Transp.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 21169
Nos. 97-15196, 113 F.3d 1505/(9th Cir., 05/27/1997)

The court holds that federal and state transportation agencies did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when they failed to perform a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) after modifying the original design of a proposed freeway interchange. The court first holds that conducting an environmental reevaluation instead of a supplemental EA is an appropriate procedure for the agencies to determine the significance of the impacts produced by the modified design. The court next holds that by addressing the impacts caused by and unique to the redesign in the reevaluation, the agencies have taken the requisite "hard look" at the environmental consequences of the interchange's redesign, including a semidirectional ramp design based on a citizen's alternative design. The court further holds that meaningful public participation occurred and that the agencies' serious consideration of the community's input is evidenced by the fact that the agencies adopted a citizen's design. The absence of additional meetings while the reevaluation was conducted did not violate federal regulations. The court finally holds that the agencies' actions were not arbitrary and capricious, but rather truly informed, and the agencies' decision was founded on a reasoned evaluation of the relevant impacts of a tunnel design and those of a ramp design.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Myron Scott
1628 E. Southern Ave., Ste. 9-328, Tempe AZ 85282
(602) 968-2179

Counsel for Defendants
Joe Acosta Jr., Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
1275 W. Washington St., Phoenix AZ 85007
(602) 542-4266

Before: NOONAN, TROTT, Circuit Judges, and MOSKOWITZ, District Judge.*