By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A highway makeover plan is turning ugly.

“We’re just doing our job for the Sierra Club. We are for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Placer County Sierra Club President  Michael Garabedian.

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The group filed a lawsuit against Placer County and Caltrans over a project that would widen Highway 65. He says he wants more environmental reviews done on the two-mile Highway 65 widening project.

“Whenever you add capacity, it yields more greenhouse gases and induces more traffic,” he said.

But a group called Placer County Impact Republicans claims curbing pollution isn’t the real motivation here.

Rather they say, the Sierra Club is trying to derail the highway project to get the county to build a light rail from Lincoln to Rocklin.

“I don’t know what they’re talking about, there’s no way to suggest that we have any motivation other than protecting the environment,” said Garabedian.

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“The project is much needed to relieve traffic congestion and to improve air quality,” he said.

Executive Director of the Placer County Transportation Agency Mike Luken isn’t able to comment on the lawsuit but says the project’s design phase will go on.

Expanding the highway from four to six lanes is crucial he says, to meet the demands of a growing population.

“The Sacramento region is increasing the number of people that live and work here plan in Placer County,” he said.

The state and federal governments haven’t yet come through with the $50 million needed for the project.  But it seems, coming up with funds is no longer the county’s biggest challenge.

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“We have to do something about it,” said Garabedian.