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Airport plans to keep money

Laura Sturza

Rather than repay millions in grants designated for a new terminal,

Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport officials have come up with a plan

they hope will satisfy Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

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The Airport Authority proposal calls for divvying up 139 acres of

land -- including the former Lockheed B-6 site -- and using it for

airport and security functions officials hope will meet the federal

agency’s mandate for use of its funds.

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“We need to sell [this plan], and we need to hope that [the FAA]

buys it,” Airport Authority President Chris Holden said during a

special meeting Monday, during which authority members approved the

proposal.

The meeting was called in response to a letter issued last week by

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, giving the airport 30 days to come

up with a plan to repay about $40 million in grants issued for a new

terminal.

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"[Blakey] wants, within 30 days, a timetable for how they are

going to pay the money back,” FAA spokesman Donn Walker said. "[The

proposed plan] would have to be looked at by our folks in Washington

[and California] to see if that meets her demands.”

Part of the site would house the Burbank and Glendale National

Guard armories under the authority proposal, and part would continue

to provide a noise-buffer zone. Existing maintenance, parking, air

cargo and FAA radio-transmission sites would be moved, officials

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said.

“Those are facilities that are in undesirable spots under FAA

standards,” Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said.

Declining revenues have forced airport officials to reconsider

relocating the 73-year-old terminal that, at a distance of 300 feet

from the runway, is closer than FAA standards of 750 feet. Although

the FAA has deemed the airport safe, it said it could be safer.

The proposal also includes holding on to 31 of the 139 acres to

possibly relocate a terminal on land airport officials claim was paid

for by money not granted by the FAA.

“To give up this land means giving up any opportunity of having a

new terminal,” Glendale Airport Authority Commissioner Carl Meseck

said.


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