During the Metro Board of Directors Meeting held last Thursday, a unanimous vote was taken to lend Caltrans the $73 million needed to complete the Burbank Bridge construction, the I-5 widening project in Burbank along with $15 million to fix problems in Burbank from the construction.
In the Terms Sheet, Caltrans will have up to 10 years to repay the money to Metro and will include accrued interest for the unpaid funds with installment being made after both three and six years.
With the funding, Caltrans will be able to pay the contractor the funding demanded before April 1 when the contractor had threatened to walk off the job until the money was paid. Caltrans had said they had depleted funding and needed a loan or the project that started in 2012 would come to a standstill with no new bridge being built.
During the meeting, Burbank Jess Talamantes thanked the Board for coming up with a funding plan, saying Burbank residents and businesses have suffered long enough through this project.
Burbank has requested approximately $15 million of the funding to address infrastructure needs created by the project along the I-5.
David Kriske, Assistant Community Development Director for the City of Burbank said a couple of weeks ago that, “We’ve asked Metro/Caltrans to address several project “un-met” needs where the construction of the project has damaged adjacent city infrastructure. We believe that Caltrans/Metro needs to finish cleaning the railroad right of way along San Fernando, Little San Fernando, and Victory Place.
We’d also like them to landscape the remaining railroad right of way, which was not included in the original project budget but that we feel is necessary to address the unsightly conditions. This cleaning and landscaping is included in our $15 million un-met needs request.”
Caltrans had ‘promised’ Burbank that the new Burbank Bridge construction 14 to 18 months to be dismantled and replaced by a new bridge. The bridge was closed on March 27 of 2020 and 18 months will make the date September 2021. Kriske said that Caltrans hopes to have the new bridge open to traffic by August of 2021, which is 15 months.
I am deeply concerned.
At a time when taxes are sky high and Californians are leaving for other states, how can we continue to rack up debt and kick the can down the road due to human errors made?
I also feel our infrastructure should be well maintained rather than look to dramatic upgrades. I see many roads in poor shape as we spend huge money on this project. Then I’m told “it’s a different budget” but remember it’s all OUR tax money regardless of when it was taken.
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