Environmental Approval Given for High-Speed Rail

First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Despite ongoing concerns from Burbank officials, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the final environmental impact report for the Burbank-to-Los Angeles portion of the project this week.
The high-speed rail, once completed, will connect Sacramento and San Diego via a rail system capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph, with an underground station planned for Burbank. On Thursday, the authority approved the findings of an environment report they said sufficiently addressed local officials’ primary concerns regarding future development, clearing a major hurdle to the design and land acquisition stages.
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Burbank Budget Recovering from Pandemic Fallout

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank’s municipal revenues, though still reduced by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, is bouncing back faster than expected, officials said this week.
In a report to the City Council on Tuesday, financial services director Jennifer Becker said that Burbank’s tax revenues were generally higher last fiscal year, which ended in June, than staff members had hoped. The city’s recurring General Fund revenues — the receipts it anticipates with high certainty — for fiscal year 2020-21 came in at nearly $181 million, about 4.8% higher than the roughly $173 million forecasted, though they were still 2.4% lower than they were in fiscal year 2019-20.
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Mayor’s Address Touts Burbank’s Strength, Recovery Efforts

First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

A mayor’s speech doesn’t usually feature a video showing the city’s top elected official being covered in green slime. But this week in Burbank, one did.
About 500 business executives, community leaders and city officials roared with laughter in the Marriott Hotel’s convention center Wednesday as they viewed the video during the annual State of the City address. Mayor Bob Frutos — sans slime — watched from the stage while the clip, taken at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, continued to play.
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Area Near Airport Is the City’s Fastest Growing

First published in the Sept. 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
A triangular slice of Burbank saw the quickest rate of population growth in the city from 2010 to 2020, according to census data.
The tract, whose U.S. Census Bureau-assigned number is 3105.01, is adjacent to the east side of the Hollywood Burbank Airport and bounded by San Fernando Boulevard to the north, Victory Place near the eastern end of the Empire Center, and Hollywood Way and Empire Avenue to the southwest. From 2010 to 2020, the tract saw a population increase from 3,205 to 3,788 residents, an 18.2% rise.
The next-highest population increase by percentage for a Burbank tract was 11.3%, for an area roughly between Eton Drive, East Grinnell Drive, East Sixth Street and San Fernando Boulevard.
The airport-adjacent tract also hosted the largest jump, by both percentage and absolute number, in housing units. The 3105.01 tract had an estimated 1,144 units in 2010 and 1,496 in 2020, Census Bureau data says — growth of about 30.8%. Continue reading “Area Near Airport Is the City’s Fastest Growing”

Airport’s Passenger Count a Sign of Recovery

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
The increase in passenger traffic at the Hollywood Burbank Airport follows a rising vaccination rate and plummeting coronavirus case count, and national metrics show demand for air travel persists despite the threat of the Delta variant.

May’s passenger count at Hollywood Burbank Airport was more than six times greater than the tally in May 2020, the airport reported this week.

More than 245,000 paying passengers boarded flights or deplaned at the airport in May, according to a staff report submitted to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority for its Monday meeting. Fewer than 40,000 passengers were recorded at the airport in the same month last year.

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Los Angeles Sues FAA Over Burbank Airport Frustrations

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
The Hollywood Burbank Airport’s replacement terminal project appears to have hit a roadblock, with the city of Los Angeles suing the Federal Aviation Administration in an attempt to force it to address potential noise and air traffic concerns related to the project.

The city of Los Angeles sued the Federal Aviation Administration this week, saying its concerns regarding the terminal replacement project at the Hollywood Burbank Airport were not considered when the FAA allowed the project to move forward.

If the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the city, which filed the lawsuit on Monday, it would present an obstacle for the controversial terminal project. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer argued in a news release that the FAA failed to address the city’s concerns about potential noise, air quality and traffic impacts caused by the project.

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Stimulus Package Aids Airport as Traffic Still Low

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
The number of passengers traveling through the Hollywood Burbank Airport fell from nearly 6 million in 2019 to about 2 million in 2020.

The recently passed stimulus package will likely present a boon for the Hollywood Burbank Airport, which has been facing steep revenue losses as passenger levels remain low.
In recent meetings, representatives of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority reported that the number of revenue passengers who traveled through the airport last year fell to about a third of the level in 2019. About 2 million passengers enplaned or deplaned at the Hollywood Burbank Airport in 2020, compared to nearly 6 million in 2019.
And in January 2021, officials told Airport Authority commissioners — who include Burbank residents Don Brown, Ray Adams and Bill Wiggins — this week, the number of revenue passengers dropped by nearly 86% compared to January 2020.

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Stimulus Package Aids Airport as Traffic Still Low

Photo by Christian Leonard / Glendale News-Press
The number of passengers traveling through the Hollywood Burbank Airport fell from nearly 6 million in 2019 to about 2 million in 2020.

The recently passed stimulus package will likely present a boon for the Hollywood Burbank Airport, which has been facing steep revenue losses as passenger levels remain low.
In recent meetings, representatives of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority reported that the number of revenue passengers who traveled through the airport last year fell to about a third of the level in 2019. About 2 million passengers enplaned or deplaned at the Hollywood Burbank Airport in 2020, compared to nearly 6 million in 2019.
And in January 2021, officials told Airport Authority commissioners — who include City Council members Paula Devine, Ara Najarian and Vrej Agajanian — this week, the number of revenue passengers dropped by nearly 86% compared to January 2020.

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Hospital, Airport Officials Provide COVID Updates

Just over half of the patients at St. Joseph Medical Center have COVID-19, the hospital’s chief officer told City Council members this week, though many workers are being vaccinated.
Kelly Linden, chief executive of the Burbank hospital, said on Tuesday that there were 135 coronavirus patients at St. Joseph Medical Center — a number that frequently changes as patients are admitted and discharged. She added that since March 6, when the first COVID-19 patient was admitted to the hospital, thousands have been treated in its emergency room. About 1,500 of those have been admitted, and about a quarter of those have been placed in the intensive care unit.
The hospital has vaccinated about 2,500 physicians and staff, Linden added, and second doses have started being administered.

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Though Airport’s Traffic Lags, Finances Relatively Steady

Photo by Christian Leonard / Glendale News-Press
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority voted this week to purchase a new firefighting vehicle with federal grants. Hollywood Burbank Airport, which the authority oversees, continues to struggle with low passenger counts.

Hollywood Burbank Airport, like similar facilities across the nation that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to see a drastic drop in passengers compared with last year’s traffic, airport officials said this week.
Staff from the airport told Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority commissioners on Monday that passenger numbers of about 110,500 for July 2020 — the most recent figures available — showed a 79.6% plummet from July 2019’s total of nearly 542,000.
About 1,875,000 fewer passengers have traveled through the airport from January to July this year compared with the same period last year, according to officials, a drop of more than 57%.

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