Court Issues Ruling on CEQA Challenge on Highway 1 Tier I EIR

On July 13, 2022, the Superior Court of California issued a ruling on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenge by the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation against Caltrans for the Highway 1 Tier I/Tier II Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA). The EIR/EA was certified in January of 2019 and included a programmatic-level “Tier I” analysis for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes project and a project-level “Tier II” analysis for auxiliary lanes and the bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing at Chanticleer Avenue project along Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County. The CEQA challenge was denied in part and successful in part.

The court rejected the majority of the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation’s claims. The ruling, which addresses the programmatic-level “Tier I” analysis for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along Highway 1, orders Caltrans to recirculate a focused draft EIR for public review and comment addressing three topics:

  • The Tier I HOV lane project baseline year being 2035,
  • Updates to the Tier I project description, and
  • Health effects for Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSATs) as it relates to the Tier I HOV project

Caltrans and RTC will be taking steps toward addressing the court’s order and plan to recirculate the analysis for the three focused topics in the coming months. Caltrans and RTC look forward to improving the analysis and gaining valuable input from the public through the focused recirculation process.