Public Interest Transportation Forum -

Citizens for Mobility Sues Sound Transit
and the Federal Transit Administration in Federal Court

by John Niles

On April 22, 2003, Federal Judge Zilly ruled against Citizens for Mobility and said existing environmental reviews of Link Initial Segment are adequate.  Download the order (1.3 megabyte pdf).  While plaintiffs were hopeful, this case has never been a slam dunk certainty, because the Feds are presumed by the law to have their environmental review paperwork done correctly.   Story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Citizens for Mobility filed an appeal brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in October, 2003.  One contention in the appeal is that the Central Link Initial Segment of light rail has never been properly compared to a Transportation Systems Management (TSM), all-bus alternative, which is required by law.   A separate analysis of the FTA New Starts rating provides independent confirmation of this contention.  A reply brief filed on December 8, 2003 is accessible here.  The appeal was denied as well.

Update: Archive of earlier documents filed in Federal Court by Citizens for Mobility

December 19, 2002: FTA Reply Brief (171 kilobyte pdf)

December 18, 2002: Sound Transit Reply Brief (511 kilobyte pdf)

November 27, 2002: Citizens for Mobility Reply Memorandum (200 kilobyte pdf)

November 27, 2002: Second Declaration of Jack Alkire (110 kilobyte pdf)

Sept 18, 2002: CFM renewed motion (300 kilobyte pdf)

Sept 18, 2002: Jack Alkire declaration (130 kilobyte pdf)

August 2, 2002: Second amended complaint (440 kilobyte pdf)


Citizens for Mobility sued the FTA and Sound Transit in federal court in Seattle. On September 18, 2002, CFM filed a motion for partial summary judgment, arguing that defendants must prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) or supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the Initial Segment project, and must compare the Initial Segment plan to reasonable alternatives, including bus alternatives, before any further action is taken on the project.

In its motion CFM contends that by failing and refusing to prepare an EIS or SEIS and failing to conduct alternatives analysis for Initial Segment, defendants have violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), USDOT's NEPA Regulations, and the FTA's own Regulations.

Oral arguments in this case occurred on March 19, 2003 at the Federal Courthouse in Seattle, and ruling came a little over one month later.

Citizens for Mobility is an association of concerned citizens dedicated to promoting cost-effective, environmentally-friendly mobility solutions to traffic congestion in the central Puget Sound Area.

This legal action began in autumn 2000, as described by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

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Last modified: February 07, 2011