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Metro board prioritizes connecting Bob Hope Airport with public transit

MTA acknowledges list of projects called for by local governments.

March 30, 2013|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com

San Fernando Valley officials want the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prioritize connecting Bob Hope Airport with more public transit.

The MTA Board passed a resolution Thursday to acknowledge a list of transportation priorities and projects put forth by the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments.

Board members said MTA staff will prepare a report on their feasibility and status in 90 days.

The list includes constructing a new Metrolink station on Hollywood Way, connecting the airport with existing train service to the Antelope Valley.

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Council members also want the airport linked to the Red and Gold lines, providing easier access to Hollywood, downtown L.A. and Pasadena.

The council, which includes the County of Los Angeles and cities of Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, San Fernando and Santa Clarita, unanimously adopted the transportation list earlier this month.

Ara Najarian, MTA Board member and council president, said the list was a long-overdue effort to get the ball rolling on funding and planning important projects.

"We wanted to include Bob Hope Airport in there because it really has the potential to be a true transportation hub for the whole valley," he said.

Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority was already prioritizing transit connections, as seen in a new regional transportation center that's currently under construction.

"The integration of the airport with local and regional public transit is an absolutely solid, long-term move," he said.

As for which of the proposed projects is most important, Gill said it's largely a matter of what is most feasible. However, he said connecting the airport to the Red Line subway would offer major benefits.

"[Travelers] can assume there's a Red Line [train] that's going to be traveling pretty quickly," he said. "And it happens to connect to the two biggest tourist attractions in Southern California besides Disneyland – Universal Studios and Hollywood and Highland."

The airport currently offers free Super Shuttle service to the North Hollywood Red Line station and downtown Burbank Metrolink station, which has led to greater use of the Red Line connection, Gill said.

Najarian said the MTA already had long-range plans to connect the Red Line to the airport and the Gold Line, but the valley council's recommendation could determine specific, stepped-up plans.

"That's a challenge that we're facing to work out the routing so we include downtown Burbank as well as the airport," Najarian said. "Those are the sorts of things we're going to seek some help from Metro staff on."

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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