BURBANK : City Seeks Federal Funds to Buy Vans

The city of Burbank has applied for a $116,000 federal grant to replace part of an aging fleet of vans used to ferry the disabled and elderly.

But the competition could be tough.

"We really don't know at this point in time," said Eric Hansen, deputy director of parks and recreation which oversees the program. "We've never applied for this type of grant."

The City Council Tuesday approved the application under the Federal Transit Grant Act, which is being distributed through Caltrans.

Last year, the grant funded $3.3 million in capital projects in California out of $11 million in requests, Hansen said. Burbank is be competing with nonprofit agencies as well as other municipalities. This year about $4.5 million is available for California.

If the grant is approved, the city would pay $29,000 as its share of the cost of three new vans with radios.

Burbank has seven vans in its Burbank Transportation Service, which are used to take senior citizens and the disabled people on errands, such as visits to doctors.

"They all have over a 100,000 miles on them," Hansen said.

Those who need a ride make reservations ahead of time. About 1,200 people are registered to use the service, with an average of 225 trips on weekdays and 75 trips on the weekend, according to city records. In 1990-91, the service provided 65,000 one-way rides.

"It is a very important to the seniors and the disabled in this community," said Rory Zipp, a rider who is on the city's advisory council on the disabled, told the City Council.

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