Bob Hope Airport EIR reportedly $2M over budget

The process of developing an environmental impact report for a new 14-gate terminal at Bob Hope Airport has gone $2 million over budget for the current fiscal year, a cost that's being covered by dipping into the airport's reserve funds.

At the beginning of the current fiscal year last June, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority allocated $1 million to cover costs associated with putting the report together, but additional legal fees, planning consultant fees and outreach costs, among other expenses, raised the price to $3 million, according to a midyear budget performance review document.

Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, said airfield officials knew the additional spending was going to come about eventually.

"We had not anticipated that we'd spend $1.5 million in the current fiscal year. We thought a majority of that expenditure would take place after June 30," he told the Burbank City Council last month.

To cover the expenses, the authority authorized a little more than $2 million from the airport's reserve funds, which total about $100 million that has been set aside over the years, said airport spokesman Victor Gill.

"The (additional costs) automatically boosted up our cost for the fiscal year," Gill said. "It's not about how much is being spent, but when it's being spent."

The environmental impact report is expected to be completed within the next year, Gill said.

The terminal project is also contingent on a vote of support by Burbank residents to be followed by approval from the City Council as outlined in Measure B, which was passed by voters in 2000.

Last fall, the Burbank City Council contracted with Meridian Consultants for $1.35 million — to be paid back by the authority — to conduct the impact report.

Recently, the authority adopted a memorandum of understanding that named the city of Burbank as the lead agency on the report about the terminal as well as the adjacent 58-acre "opportunity site," where future development such as office space or a hotel will be built upon approval by the City Council.

The airport owns the land in trust, but is relying on the sale of it to help pay for the terminal project, Gill said.

The memorandum states the airport authority would have more substantial input on the new terminal's portion of the report.

Airport officials will have to provide details about the construction's impact to not only satisfy the California Environmental Quality Act, but also a federal requirement for airports to help secure much-needed government funding for the project, Feger said.

"It is essential that the EIR be done in a way that it could be used as a foundation for what's called a National Environmental Policy Act … before the Federal Aviation Administration could provide any funding to the replacement of the 14-gate terminal," he said.


Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.


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