The entry circle at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Monday, August 8, 2011.

The entry circle at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Monday, August 8, 2011. (File photo)

The credit rating agency Fitch this week warned that a planned $90-million transit center could significantly increase Bob Hope Airport's debt burden.

In maintaining its AA- rating for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the agency warned that "absent a material change in the [transit center's] scope or borrowing elements, an affirmation of the 'AA-' rating is unlikely," according to a report in Business Wire.

Earlier this year, Bob Hope Airport officials were forced to go back to the drawing board after construction bids for the center came in between $47 million and $69 million above the projected $112-million price tag.

Officials blamed high steel costs and fears among contractors that the project could not be built as planned.

In its report, Fitch cited months of shrinking passenger figures at the airport, which has impacted important parking revenues, as contributing to a fragile financial environment for the airfield.

Any efforts to recover will be hampered by Bob Hope Airport's stiff regional competition, Fitch noted.

Over a more than one-year period of steady declines in the number of passengers using Bob Hope, Los Angeles International Airport has logged consistent increases.

-- Jason Wells, Times Community News

Twitter: @JasonBretWells

Photo: The entry circle at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Monday, August 8, 2011. Credit: Times Community News