Burbank Airport transportation center

A woman carrying balloons passes by the new car rental center during grand opening of the new Regional Intermodal Transportation Center at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Friday, June 27, 2014. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / June 27, 2014)

Officials applauded the grand opening of a new $112-million transportation center at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Friday, called by many a significant step toward linking multiple types of transportation with the airfield.

The 520,000-square foot facility offers three levels with more than 1,000 parking spaces and 11 car rental companies.

The center, which will open officially next month, also features a 19-foot-high covered walkway with moving sidewalks, leading to the airport terminals.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority celebrated the project’s culmination at the center alongside representatives from various agencies such as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, the California State Transportation Agency and government officials.

Burbank Mayor David Gordon heralded the center as a means to continue improving the travel of millions who fly into the airport — often their first stop to enjoying Southern California.

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan called the center a “milestone for all of us in the region…a first step in a long process of improving the infrastructure of the region.”

Additional upcoming improvements include a pedestrian bridge over Empire Avenue from the Metrolink station south of the airport to the second story of the transportation center. The bridge will enter the design phase this fall, said Don Sepulveda, executive officer for regional rail for Metro.

Funds from Measure R, a countywide half-cent sales tax, paired with state money and a grant from Metro will pay for the $14-million bridge project. Sepulveda said the project could take between three and four years to complete.

In addition to the bridge, a new $3.75-million Metrolink stop on the Antelope Valley line will open on San Fernando Road north of the airport in January.

The station marks the first direct rail connection for more than one million residents from northern L.A. County to the airport, said Michael Cano, transportation deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

“At this station, you’ll have 30 new trains to serve the airport and businesses around [it],” Cano said. “You’ll also be serving employees that work there.”

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, a board member for Amtrak, told the crowd that seamless travel is important and said the center was “impressive.”

“Intermodalism is the future,” she said. “I know that Amtrak will be very pleased to have the ability to have connectivity.”

Construction of the center, which is on the site of the former parking Lot D, began two years ago. Susan Georgino, airport authority president, said she remembers the center’s groundbreaking and was excited to see its completion.

“This symbolizes optimism about the airport,” she said. “This gives ample evidence that the future of Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport is truly bright.”

At that moment, an Amtrak train came to a halt behind her, and dozens of project partners and supporters cheered.

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Follow Alicia Banks on Twitter: @AliciaDotBanks.

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