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July 18, 2013

The path for bridges is cleared

Federal court dismisses CART lawsuit

LOUISVILLE —

Although construction has already begun, the final blockade for the Ohio River Bridges Project was removed Wednesday.

A ruling in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for the Advancement of Transportation, or CART. 

CART joined a lawsuit in 2012 that was originally filed by conservancy group River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation that sought to block the bridges project. CART entered the lawsuit because it claimed that there were several major violations, including intentional discrimination against minority 

populations. 

In all, 20 claims were filed by CART that fell into the following categories, in addition to the discrimination claims: The project violates National Environmental Protection Act; it violates various Federal Aid Highway Act funding regulations; and the project threatens the water and air quality of the 

region.

The ruling by District Court Judge John Heyburn II dismissed all of CART’s claims.

“The court and anyone associated with the project will concede that interested persons could reach different conclusions concerning the region’s transportation needs and their appropriate resolution,” he wrote in his ruling. “The court’s only role is to determine whether [the] defendants followed the applicable regulatory framework and reached conclusions that the administrative record supports. The court finds that [the] defendants have met their burdens in that respect.”

In a statement, CART voiced disappointment in the ruling.

“We believe this decision leaves the community exposed to some major impacts of the project — both environmental and financial — that will be coming in the future,” David Coyte, president of CART, said in the statement. “We appreciate the chance to give the impacts of the project a good airing in the courts and hope the public will examine what was claimed here, what was decided and what was not addressed.” 

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