Burbank and Glendale leaders want a public transit link to pass through their cities, connecting the Metro Gold Line light rail to the Red Line subway. The problem is that the project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and is not even on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s wish list, which is already packed with other higher-priority projects. Fortunately for Glendale, Burbank and a number of other area cities, a new MTA board member will be seated next month, giving them a chance to plug their own transportation needs during the campaign to fill the seat. After seven years on the 13-member MTA board, Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts steps down in mid-April. A Glendale city councilman and a La Caada Flintridge councilman have already announced plans to campaign for the seat, which represents the MTA’s North County/San Fernando Valley sector, including Burbank and Glendale as well as Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita and Malibu. “I see a high-speed bus, such as the Orange Line, perhaps being the quickest and cheapest way to get the line going, but the allure of a light-rail (system) can’t be discounted,” Najarian said. But Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s vision of a “subway to the sea” – that would extend the Red Line through the Westside – could cost about $4.8 billion and drain money from projects like high-speed transit through Burbank and Glendale. Meanwhile, the new MTA board member also must address other transportation needs. They include improving the roadway infrastructure around the Palmdale Regional Airport and adding highway and HOV lanes in the north county region, said Michael Cano, transportation deputy for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who is also an MTA board member. Roberts is leaving the MTA board because he is not running for re-election in the Lancaster City Council race April 13, and MTA board members must be elected officials. Roberts said the 12 cities he represents will all look to his replacement to fight for their interests. “This person needs to be known by the cities before he throws his hat in the ring, or it will be a waste of time,” Roberts said. Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant In the coming weeks, candidates will try to garner support from officials in the area to represent transportation needs on the board. “I think the Glendale/Burbank areas, as well as our entire northern county area, is growing rapidly,” said Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian. “I think more so than any other part of the county, and we think that to grow in a healthy way and manageable way, we need to increase transit service.” Najarian has served on Glendale’s Transportation and Parking Committee. La Caada Flintridge City Councilman David Spence, who also has his eye on the vacant MTA seat, is on the Southern California Association of Governments’ Transportation and Communications Committee. “The reason that I want to be involved is because I think I can make a difference, because I understand the issues … and I understand how tough it is to fight for the funds that are available,” Spence said. Both Spence and Najarian support the project to link the Metro Gold and Red lines. Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena have come up with a total of $90,000 to study the link, which is envisioned as a subway, light-rail or rapid bus system that would go through Glendale and Burbank and serve the Bob Hope Airport.