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Council OKs grant funds for transit center

The City Council has agreed to consider a contract to allocate federal grant funds to Bob Hope Airport for the new transportation center.

Before the approval of the Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, the city had received $1.17 million in federal grant money with the support of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) in both 2004 and 2005.


Burbank agreed to allocate the funds to a transit center proposed by M. David Paul & Associates after locations on the Bob Hope Airport property and on the Union Pacific-owned land next to the Metrolink station were dropped from consideration.

At the time, representatives from M. David Paul were interested in building a transit center on the corner of Empire Avenue and Avon Street as part of their plans to develop additional office space, officials said.


The developers could not be reached for comment Friday, but they have requested to hold their application pending the council’s decision on the airport’s project.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been assisting Burbank in re-categorizing and reprogramming the funds to keep the grants available for use.

The council voted unanimously to have city officials draft a contract with the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to use the federal funds specifically for phase two of the transportation center.

The airport transportation hub has the funding in place to begin construction on phase one, which includes consolidated rental car facilities and bus transit on the current airport property, a covered moving walkway to the airport terminal and the second compressed-natural-gas fueling station in Burbank.


With the federal grant money, the airport authority can begin construction on phase two, a planned pedestrian bridge over Empire Avenue.

The bridge has been reduced in scope since the initial proposal due to lack of funding. Originally planned as a 40-foot-wide enclosed pedestrian walkway, the authority is planning for a 14-foot-wide open pedestrian bridge.

The entire bridge project hinges on the acquisition of the Union Pacific property, a historically problematic issue for the airport.

“We are pointing to Dec. 14, 2012, for the completion of the transit center,” said Victor Gil, spokesman for the airport authority. “That date will take prior to the bridge even beginning construction.”


Since a timeline cannot be determined for the real estate acquisition, the bridge has no planned completion date.

Councilman Dave Golonski wanted a guarantee from the airport that the funds would only be used on phase two of the transportation center, but the federal grant must be used on a transit center, not a pedestrian bridge.

Dan Feger, executive director of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, said the funds would be spent immediately on the development of the transit center to fulfill the conditions of the grant money. An equal amount could be set aside to fund the pedestrian bridge.

“We can certainly consider explicitly putting that [in the agreement] as a stipulation,” said principal city planner David Kriske.

If the airport project falls through, the city may have trouble reallocating the federal funds and risks losing the grant money.

“I would not like to see the funds used for development on airport property when there are other funds that the airport could utilize,” said Councilman David Gordon.

Airport officials expect to begin construction in April.