A planned transit hub in Anaheim is a positive addition to Orange County’s landscape and will lead to greater private investment, the Orange County grand jury concluded in a six-page report on the center.

City leaders have a grand vision for the hub, known as the Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center (ARTIC). The “truly iconic structure” is to be 120 ft. tall and cober 56,000 square feet, the report states.

Not everybody agrees with the grand jury’s impression of the center’s large scale. Critics argue that the structure’s grandiosity is unnecessary. Since the $184.1-million center’s connection to the state’s planned high-speed rail system remains uncertain, ARTIC has lost justification for its existence, they assert.

The grand jury dismissed such concerns.

“The ridership and connectivity of buses, taxis and bicycles remain to be seen, but it is in the overall vision of the city of Anaheim,” the report reads. “Arguments for and against ‘future planned high speed’ could be as far as 20 years off have been discussed and put aside.”

ARTIC’s construction is to be funded with $100 million from Measure M2, the county’s half-cent sales tax that funds transportation improvements, and with state and federal grants, according to the report.

In order to move forward with the project without assurances that it will connect to high-speed rail, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved tweaks to the funding requirements. The grand jury declared that to be a wise move and showed that authority directors had “foresight.”

Anaheim officials agreed with the report’s conclusions. “ARTIC is planned to be a world-class transportation center where people will seamlessly move between transit services to reach Southern California’s activity centers and business districts,” a city press release states.

The project is scheduled to break ground in late September 2012 and be completed two years later, according to the report.

The city’s news release predicts the project will create 5,000 jobs.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

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