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Idea of Universal City Trolley Link Is Backed

Times Staff Writer

Uncertainty about federal funding for the Metro Rail subway project prompted a county transportation panel Friday to urge study of an eastward extension of the proposed San Fernando Valley trolley line to Universal City.

The Los Angeles County Transportation Commission’s rapid transit committee voted to recommend that consultants studying the 14.3-mile, Canoga Park-to-North Hollywood line also consider a 2.3-mile extension to Universal City.

In recommending the expanded study, the commission staff noted that a funding dispute with the Reagan Administration might further delay Metro Rail.

A staff memo to the committee said the Valley trolley link would be “more viable as an interim line by accessing two major activity centers, Warner Center and Universal City.”

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A line serving both areas “will attract more riders” and “could be a stand-alone project” if Metro Rail is not built, the staff said.

Approval Seen Wednesday

The full commission is expected to approve the recommendation on Wednesday, which would add about $35,000 to the $300,000 study contract with Bechtel National Corp., according to Erica Goebel, communications manager for the commission.

Bechtel engineers are doing cost and engineering analyses of alternative alignments for the trolley line, now proposed to end at the planned Metro Rail terminus at Lankershim and Chandler boulevards.

For most of its length, the trolley would operate on a Southern Pacific right of way the commission is negotiating to acquire. But Bechtel is studying several alternative routes to serve Warner Center at the western end and is studying Burbank Boulevard and the line down Chandler as possible eastern routes.

The Valley trolley was proposed as part of a countywide rail transit system with Metro Rail as its hub. The transit system was endorsed by voters in 1980 through passage of a county sales tax to finance transportation improvements.

Faces Roadblocks

However, the 18.6-mile Metro Rail project has faced roadblocks, including continuing efforts by the Reagan Administration to curtail federal financing of the $3.3-billion project.

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Goebel said the commission has told Burbank officials that an extension to that city might improve the line but that Burbank should pay for initial study of the idea. Goebel said the commission is reluctant to pay for the study with sales-tax proceeds because the rail map accompanying the ballot showed the Valley line ending in North Hollywood.


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