The Georgia Conservancy, the Sierra Club and Georgians for Transportation Alternatives sent a 60-day notice to the state and federal transportation departments and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The groups’ lawyer says if efforts to reach a settlement fail, they will file a federal lawsuit.
Atlanta lost the right to spend money on new road expansions in January because it couldn’t meet national Clean Air Act standards. But federal officials allowed the Georgia DOT to “grandfather” more than 60 projects that were already in the funding pipeline. The environmental groups say rules were bent to do this, and want to stop the road projects from proceeding until they are part of a federally required 20-year plan that meets emissions targets. The suit wouldn’t affect projects that are intended to improve safety or the operation of existing roads.