Case 9

Thompson v. Fugate, 347 F. Supp. 120 (E.D. Va. 1972).

This was an action to enjoin construction of a highway through plaintiffs' property, Tuckahoe Plantation, which had been designated as a National Historic Landmark and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The highway was a small segment of a beltway system around Richmond, Virginia. Although most of the beltway had been funded by money granted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this particular segment had not. The State had received location approval from FHWA for the unfunded segment, but apparently not for that portion passing through plaintiffs' land.

First, the court rejected the motion of the State Highway Commissioner to dismiss the suit on the ground that the Eleventh Amendment of the United States Constitution gave the State sovereign immunity, as the suit was against the commissioner and not the State. 347 F. Supp. at 123.

Next, the court held that the beltway, including the segment, was a federally assisted undertaking. Id. at 123. The small segment of the beltway passing through plaintiffs' land could not be separated from the whole beltway, but must be considered as part of the entire project. Id. at 124. Thus, even though there had been no Federal involvement in the specific segment at issue, the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, and Section 15(a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act must be met for this segment because most of the beltway had been federally funded or approved. Id. at 124, 125, 128. The court rejected the argument that it was too late to enforce these statutes, holding that the statutes apply to unexecuted parts of the project. Id. at 124-25.

The court enjoined the highway project until defendants could comply with the Federal statutes. Id. at 125.

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