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MTA to assist Bob Hope Airport's train connection project

The transportation agency has agreed to spend $1.7 million to help the airport achieve its goal of becoming easier to reach by means other than a car.

May 26, 2013|By Daniel Seigel, Los Angeles Times
  • As a Metrolink train rumbles past in the foreground, construction continues on the regional transportation center at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
As a Metrolink train rumbles past in the foreground, construction continues… (Raul Roa / Burbank Leader )

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to spend $1.7 million to assist Bob Hope Airport's efforts for an ambitious train connection project.

The money — a local match for a decades-old $4.3-million federal grant — will help accelerate construction of an airport 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 approved by county voters in 2008 to pay for transportation projects.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Metrolink station will be held June 21.

Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the MTA's vote last week to spend the money will help the airport 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 probably be spent on other projects such as using more durable concrete, instead of asphalt, in the airport's regional transportation center under construction and improving the Ventura County Line Metrolink station south of the airport, airport officials said.

The money is tied to a federal grant 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 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, to be built at Hollywood Way and San Fernando Road.

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

Dan Feger, executive director of Bob Hope Airport, said the approved funding demonstrates the MTA's support of the facility'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.

daniel.seigel@latimes.com

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