The Transportation Corridor Agencies has filed a complaint against Vermont-based Smart Mobility alleging that “the company's engineers are unlicensed in California,” and are breaking the law by “practicing civil and traffic engineering without legal authorization.” Opponents of the TCA's plans to build the Foothill-South (241) toll road extension through inland San Onofre State Beach have used Smart Mobility's reports in the past to refute TCA claims that widening I-5, an oft-cited potential alternative to the toll road, would require the condemnation of hundreds of homes and businesses.
This complaint is not in any court of law, mind you. The TCA registered it with the (drumroll, please…) Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Ta-dow. The complaint alleges that Smart Mobility is in violation of The Professional Engineers Act.
“The Professional Engineers Act, which regulates the profession. states that an out-of-state business may only practice engineering in California “if it has a branch office in California, has a part owner or officer in charge of the engineering work in California, who is registered in California and is physically present in California.” (Business and Professions Code section 6738(a)(3))”
“There's no engineering behind this study,” said Seaton, the toll road spokeswoman. “We're still confident our numbers are accurate.”
No engineering, no violation, right?
While I wait for a response from Smart Mobility, a quick perusal of their website suggests that they do not in fact engineer as much as provide advice about engineering. Also, if they sit in Vermont and study a road in California, is that actually conducting engineering within the state? Any engineers or planners are welcome to comment.