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Beverly Hills district sues to block subway tunnel under school

May 30, 2012 |  3:52 pm

Signs opposing a subway tunnel planned under Beverly Hills High School are posted at school district offices. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

Leaders of the Beverly Hills Unified School District made good on their word Wednesday and sued county transportation officials over the route of the $5.6-billion Westside subway extension.

Filed in Superior Court, the suit alleges that the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority violated the California Environmental Quality Act when choosing the final route for the subway line, which includes a portion that would run underneath Beverly Hills High School.

City and school officials say tunneling under the school and through an old oil field could spark a deadly methane gas explosion. They say the work could disrupt or damage the school and ruin future development possibilities underneath the campus.

Metro officials maintain that tunneling underneath the high school is safe.

The school district's complaint alleges Metro's CEQA "process failed due to a rush-to-judgment by the Metro Board designed to hurry the decision through without awaiting full and complete information needed by the decision makers and the public to make informed environmental choices."

Throughout the spring, both Beverly Hills and county transportation officials speculated that a lawsuit was imminent as vociferous objections, heated rhetoric, competing science, public relations campaigns and legal threats increased.

"This has been a biased and flawed process from the beginning, " Brian Goldberg, president of the Beverly Hills school district's board, said in a news release. "Metro decided long ago that it wanted to put the Century City station at Constellation and it has refused to review or consider any other options."

The subway project will add nine miles of rail service west from the existing station at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to the Veterans Administration hospital near the UCLA campus.

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-- Ari Bloomekaz

Photo: Signs opposing a subway tunnel planned under Beverly Hills High School are posted at school district offices. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

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