Federal court rules Atlanta transportation plan meets CAA standards

A federal court ruled Oct. 30 that Georgia and federal agencies acted properly under the Clean Air Act when they approved the 25-year, $36 billion regional transportation plan for Atlanta in 2000.

The Sierra Club and several other environmental groups filed a lawsuit in February 2001 alleging the plan violated the Clean Air Act because its annual nitrogen oxide emission projections – a precursor to ozone – were too high to allow Atlanta to meet air quality regulations for ozone until 2005.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously rejected that argument, ruling emission projections only need to be met in certain specified analysis years and do not need to be demonstrated each year. The first analysis year for Atlanta’s transportation plan is 2005.

The Advocates for Safe & Efficient Transportation, a litigation alliance formed by the transportation construction and home building industries and organized labor, was permitted to intervene in the lawsuit July 11, 2001. A lower federal court ruled in the group’s favor Jan. 18.