The Register’s Editorial Board wonders why the Orange County Transportation Authority is pushing for a new, grandoise train station and bus depot in Anaheim, at an estimated cost of $180 million.
The OCTA, the county’s multibillion-dollar transportation agency, and Anaheim are pressing ahead to break ground on the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, planned as a 66,000-square-foot train complex that County Supervisor Shawn Nelson described to us as a “glass palace,” based on an architectural rendering of the proposed structure.OCTA is attempting to fund ARTIC in part with dollars mostly from the taxpayer-approved Measure M2 local half-cent sales-tax surcharge for transportation projects.
Mr. Nelson and Supervisor John Moorlach pointed out to us that the OCTA wants this new development located in Anaheim even though Fullerton and Irvine both have more passenger traffic at their respective stations, which are served by both Metrolink and Amtrak. Irvine, in fact, has more than double the traffic of Anaheim’s station, according to OCTA data. Irvine sees an annual ridership of 1,063,538 passengers; Fullerton, 869,076; and Anaheim, 527, 541.
Editorial Board visitors to the Irvine and Fullerton stations noted their relatively modest sizes, yet both stations seem to get the job of loading and unloading passengers done just fine. Why would Anaheim need facilities much larger when its current ridership levels do not warrant such a substantial investment of taxpayer funds? Mr. Nelson articulated a similar concern in a telephone interview. “Whether or not Anaheim needs a new station, and I believe they do not,” he said, “the ridership in Anaheim does not support a new train station, let alone a 66,000-square-foot glass palace.”