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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Antelope Valley Transit May Add L.A. Routes : Transportation: Agency is considering new commuter lines to LAX, Century City and Van Nuys.


ANTELOPE VALLEY — With the federal government willing to foot the bill, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority is considering expanding its commuter services and adding more runs south to the Los Angeles area.

Besides increasing the number of buses to downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, AVTA may begin taking commuters to Van Nuys, Century City and the Los Angeles International Airport/Westchester area.

"The commute by car to such areas is lengthy, congested and expensive," according to an AVTA report.

Since the Northridge earthquake, AVTA has received numerous requests for commuter services to LAX and the other destinations.

"Our investigating these areas is customer-driven," said Tim Galbraith, AVTA grants manager. "It's not something we've created in a vacuum here at the AVTA."

Commuter lines to LAX, Century City and Van Nuys have always been possibilities, but Galbraith said the quake "brought them to a different light."

Much of the cost for the increased service, which for one year could be as much as $875,000 after fare revenues are taken into account, would be paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Since FEMA has found commuter-related costs to be eligible for funding in the wake of the Jan. 17 earthquake, the agency would pay 90% of the cost of the added service during the first year. The state Office of Emergency Services would pay 75% of the remaining balance, leaving AVTA with a cost of only $22,000, officials said.

AVTA Executive Director Bill Budlong said a consultant is evaluating the routes that may be added. A recommendation on the LAX run is expected next week, he said.

It is possible, Budlong said, that not all three of the new commuter runs will be added or that the number of buses on the existing lines will be increased. Even though there would be little cost to the transit agency as long as FEMA says a disaster exists, after that the services would have to be self-supporting or be eliminated.

FEMA will fund the services, as long as they are being used, until the interchange of the Antelope Valley and Golden State freeways is returned to 100% capacity.

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