OCTA plans timeframe for regional hub
County transportation officials next week are set to lay out a plan for developing the long-planned ARTIC.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register
Commuters could grab a bus, trolley, taxi or train from a centralized transportation hub within the next eight years.
Soon after, visitors also could jump on a people mover to zoom to the Disneyland area or John Wayne Airport.
By 2020, tourists could hop on a magnetic levitation that eventually would shoot up to Las Vegas in less than 90 minutes.
Such is the proposed timeline for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, or ARTIC, a planned regional station where 15 transportation modes could flow in to serve the county and beyond.
The Orange County Transportation Authority board is scheduled Tuesday to set the time frame for the long-stalled center that officials hope will help solve some of the congested area's needs. The agency's board also is set to approve a $485,000 report to outline the next steps, including a budget plan.
An authority committee endorsed the plan Thursday.
"A lot of planning ideas are around for a long time. This one is at the tipping point. All of the factors have come together," said Jeanne Spinner LaMar, OCTA department manager of local initiatives. "You've got all these factors saying, this time it's real."
First proposed in the early 1990s, the ARTIC project has been dogged by a lack of funding. Anaheim and transportation officials have scrounged for public money, but have largely been rejected.
In 2005, Congress denied the city's request for $245 million for the project. Earlier this month, the governor removed $103 million for a statewide high-speed rail, including a leg from Anaheim to Los Angeles, from his budget proposal. However, the Legislature is considering keeping about half the amount.
The city and OCTA now want to turn to private investors. Businesses could benefit by creating their own ventures on the site – a parking structure, office buidling or restaurant, for example – and then paying for the rights to use the land.
Transportation stations in other places, including Denver, have taken such an approach.
A conference could be held in the fall to determine if the private sector has interest in the station. Already, urban developments are underway around the site in the Platinum Triangle, which is being created into a downtown-like setting with condos, shops and cafes.
"We know there's a value in that area for that type of development, so why should we sit and wait for public dollars?" Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle said.
OCTA is trying to take a more practical approach to the center. Instead of relying solely on grandiose proposals for costly high-speed trains, the agency will begin with plans that are already in place – expanded bus lines and more frequent Metrolink service. In 2010, the train station in the Angel Stadium lot is set to move to the center.
"We're going to start with what we need and plan to expand when we need it," LaMar said.
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