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Glendale, Burbank receive funding for transportation projects, including proposed streetcar route

A concept of the city of Glendale’s vision for a streetcar route.

A concept of the city of Glendale’s vision for a streetcar route.

(Courtesy of the city of Glendale)

The Southern California Assn. of Governments, known as SCAG, recently approved $4.5 million in grant funding in Los Angeles County for transit and green initiatives, which include projects in both Glendale and Burbank.

The funds will help pay for projects that seek to improve transportation and sustainability in their respective communities. SCAG represents six counties and 191 cities as the country’s largest metropolitan planning organization. It supported 54 projects throughout Southern California this year.

“The fact that there’s more funding available than ever before for active transportation and integrated land use shows how big a priority this as become,” said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of SCAG, in a statement. “The quality of life in our region is very much dependent on these types of projects.”

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Of the 26 projects approved for funding in L.A. County, Glendale and Burbank were both OK’d for proposals that will either provide transportation alternatives or pursue efficient ways to finance potential transit infrastructure.

SCAG has agreed to give Glendale $200,000 to fund conceptual planning and analysis that will determine the feasibility of a streetcar route connecting the Glendale Transportation Center in the south to the Hollywood Burbank Airport.

According to Justin Robertson, a planning assistant with Glendale, city officials have, for decades, recognized the region has a transit gap, and they would also like to better connect major resources in the area.

“There is an opportunity [with SCAG funding] that has been long recognized to add sort of a high-quality transit backbone through Glendale, the way there used to be,” Robertson said. “It’s an opportunity to start moving the ball forward.”

Streetcars ran along Brand Boulevard and Glenoaks Boulevard years ago.

In Burbank, a more esoteric effort was awarded $375,000. The city wants to research the viability of a state financing method that could be used to build infrastructure in a commercial-industrial area known as the Golden State district near Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts are community-development tools available as a way for cities to potentially capture the growth of property values in designated areas and invest the money from that growth into the city’s infrastructure.

“There’s lots of caveats to [the financing districts], which is why we want to study it, and this tool hasn’t really been used in California yet. It’s still somewhat new,” said David Kriske, Burbank’s assistant community development director.

The Burbank project — called the Golden State Implementation study — follows an ongoing push to give the northwest district a fresh identity. Last year, the city received a combination of grants toward developing a specific plan for the 640-acre site that includes studying the potential for high-speed rail.

SCAG’s allocated funds will now head to a review committee before final consideration.

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Jeff Landa, jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda


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