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Highway widening lawsuit

By Jessica Lussenhop

Back in October, CalTrans and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission completed the initial review of the $22 million Highway 1 "Auxiliary Lanes" project between Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Street and found that a full Environmental Impact Review was not necessary. Due to that finding, the alternative "mitigated negative declaration" was submitted, which said that with a few adjustments, the project—which would add additional south- and north-bound lanes and rebuild a wider La Fonda bridge by 2013—will not affect the environment or increase traffic enough to warrant a full EIR. The Campaign for Sensible Transportation loudly pooh-poohed those claims in the form of a lawsuit against CalTrans a few weeks later, charging that the project's impact on the environment should be reviewed. Although the plaintiffs are getting some reduced-cost help from their attorney, Campaign for Sensible Transportation member People Power is hoping to fundraise at two events, a dinner tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 20) at Saturn Cafe and another on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the soon-to-close Gabriella Café, for the attempt to turn the negative declaration into a positive for the environment.

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