MTA raises plane-train ante for Bob Hope Airport

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Thursday to pony up $1.7 million to reach the local match for a decades-old $4.3 million federal grant that will be used to enhance Bob Hope Airport's efforts to foster a "plane-to-train connection" to local transit.

The money will help accelerate construction of a Metrolink station along the Antelope Valley line, among other improvement projects, airport officials said.

The funds will come from Measure R, a half-cent sales tax that was approved by county voters in 2008 to pay for transportation projects.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Metrolink station will be held on June 21.

Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the MTA's vote will help the airfield achieve its goal of becoming easier to reach by means other than a car.

"It really speaks to the Metro board and its vision of linking airports to [other] transportation and making something real and tangible happen as soon as possible," he said.

The remaining Measure R funds will likely be spent on other projects such as using more durable concrete, instead of asphalt, in the airport's regional transportation center currently under construction, and improving the existing Ventura County line Metrolink station south of the airport, airfield officials said.

The funds are tied to a federal grant that was obtained in 1987 through the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which requires local matching funds in order to be used.

Of that $4.3 million grant, $1.8 million is already funding a ground access study that gauges traffic congestion and access to the airport.

Also, $1.75 million from the grant was transferred from the airport to the MTA last year for construction of the Antelope Valley Metrolink station, which will be built at Hollywood Way and San Fernando Road.

At the same time last year, the MTA board more than matched the airport's transfer by allocating $2 million for the north Metrolink station.

Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, said the approved funding demonstrates the MTA's support of the airport's transportation plan.

"This validates what we told you was Metro's intent — that they are very strong supporters of the program the airport has put into play here, trying to bolster the plane-to-train connection," he said.


Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World