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Bob Hope Airport taps its nest egg

Burbank Bob Hope Airport is dipping into its final set of contingency funds to complete its new transportation center, but officials say the project should finish next year within its budget.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday authorized airport staff to use the third and final set of contingency funds totaling $1.97 million to accommodate unexpected costs for the transit center, which is slated to be completed in fall 2014.

Three contingency funds, with a total of $5.915 million, were budgeted at the outset of the project in addition to the center's $108 million budget to address unforeseen change orders and costs.

Airport Senior Deputy Executive Director John Hatanaka said that with construction approximately 73% completed, the airport had, so far, used 62% of its contingency funds, or roughly $3.7 million, but would need more.

"We are basically in line, however… to complete the construction, based on the information from the construction manager, that will take the utilization up to $5.4 million," Hatanaka said.

Those changes include adding a $370,949 fuel system for the consolidated rental car facility based on recommendations by the Burbank Fire Department and adding a new waterproofing membrane in the facility for $322,730.

There will also be additional costs for paving the area around the center and many other smaller items.

The new center will also handle all public transit such as buses and trains.

Whether the project can finish on budget will depend on the airport's ability to resolve a dispute with construction contractor St. Louis, Mo.-based McCarthy Building Companies over certain change orders.

"There are some items which are in dispute that are a matter of potential litigation," Hatanaka said.

Commissioner Terry Tornek, who also sits on the authority's finance board, said that potential litigation aside, the project should finish within budget.

The commission also approved using $650,000 of already-approved funds collected via passenger facility charges for completion of an elevated walkway that will connect the transit center to the terminal.

Hatanaka said airport officials may be able to obtain $600,000 for the walkway from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The authority also approved spending $85,000 to extend the contract of San Antonio-based Copelan Consulting until the opening of the consolidated rental car facility portion of the transportation center, which is scheduled for July.

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