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Study Urges Innovative Rail Funding : Transit: Report says 22,000 commuters a day would use a line between Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

August 15, 1991|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A study of commuters between Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena has found that more than 22,000 a day are likely to use a light-rail line if it is built parallel to the Ventura and Foothill freeways.

However, the study released last week by the Southern California Assn. of Governments warned the Tri-City Transportation Coalition that it will have to be innovative to raise the money for transit projects in the three cities.

The proposed line would run along streets and might use monorails along the freeways. It would follow the Ventura Freeway through Burbank and Glendale and then continue along the Foothill Freeway in Pasadena.

The 21-member coalition of public and private leaders was formed two years ago to develop a transportation link between the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. It commissioned SCAG to conduct the study to determine the importance of an east-west rail line.

The study, released last Thursday, found that a link is needed but that financing will be the most difficult obstacle.

That is because there are no regional funds set aside for such a project and none appear likely to become available in the next 30 years, according to regional transit officials.

Since the proposed east-west line is not currently eligible for funds from either of the transit initiatives--Propositions A and C--"financing is likely to require greater initiative than some lines," the study found.

The $150,000 report recommends that "diverse funding sources be actively sought." Proposed options include development of joint public-private strategies--in which developers and real estate interests participate in funding transit improvements based on the expectation of higher property values--and developer fees and special assessment districts.

Officials of all three cities have pledged to raise local public and private money in hopes of swaying the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission to give greater priority to a north-south light-rail line between downtown Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank, and an east-west line between Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

The north-south line has a greater chance for regional funding since it was included as a potential route for money from Propositions A and C. However, the line so far has been given low priority by the county Transportation Commission, which is expected to re-evaluate rail lines at a meeting Aug. 26.

Members of the Tri-City coalition concede that chances of building a rail line along the east-west corridor are remote. "That is more of a long-range project," Glendale City Manager David Ramsay said.

But he and other coalition members said more immediate steps can be taken by the three cities to reduce congestion. These could include synchronizing traffic signals, eliminating street parking and widening intersections to speed the flow of traffic.

The study also recommends a commuter service with limited stops to reduce travel time, modification of regional bus routes and development of car-pool and bus lanes on freeways.

Members of the coalition are expected to submit comments on the report before it is presented for adoption next month.

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