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What's In A Word? ARTIC

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What's in a word? As one who uses them for work everyday to tell you what's in the news I think there is a lot in each and every word. Let's take the word "intermodal" which the dictionary says means "relating to transportation by more than one means of conveyance" like busses and trains.

So, I'm in Anaheim doing a story about the city's ARTIC Hub that's being built near Angels Stadium and the Honda Center. Under construction since last year the new ARTIC facility will be like Union Station is to LA or Grand Central Station is to New York. The money is coming from various funds dedicated to transportation projects. It's on schedule. It's not over budget. Good stuff right? But, there was one thing making me crazy. The name. ARTIC! Not because it sounds like the Arctic in a place where the temperature today, in some places, was in triple digits. And, not because it doesn't have any real relationship to the many sporting and resort attractions that draws 20 million visitors to this city each year. It does have "Anaheim" and "Transportation" in the name after all ARTIC is an acronym for Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. That word "intermodal" sounded to me like that medicine you get at the pharmacy when - how do I put this gently - you're not regular! Imodium! That was good for a few laughs here and there and a few times I wanted to say that on the air instead of Intermodal. 

I started asking people  "ever hear the word intermodal?" Two women on one  train said "no" and same answer from a couple of guys. I have more questions. "Ever use the word in a sentence?" "No" says Dan Dawes. Dawes who was a nice guy I met who was all excited about a new job as a law professor in San Diego. He was taking the train to work. 

When I asked Joel Zlotnick and OCTA (Orange Co. Transit Authority) and Natalie Meeks (Anaheim's Public Works Director) they had very clear and concise answers which was consistent with the definition of bringing different modes of transportation. City Engineer Mark Vukojevic told me the name ARTIC was 15 years old. A bunch of transportation workers brainstormed had the ARTC but needed a word with an "I" to compete the acronym. "Intermodal" won out. But, will it stay? When this 184 million dollar flashy facility opens in late 2014 will it still be called ARTIC. We tried to come up with other words. "International" was one. Mexico isn't that far away. There should be some who travel from South of the Border thru the hub. But, in the end, Meeks had the best answer. "It doesn't matter what it's called. It's what it does." Bravo! She's right! And, according to everyone I spoke with in Anaheim associated with the project what it will do is create a vital transportation center for this very busy region.

What's in a word? When it comes to transportation if you're looking for one relating to different modes of transportation at one place maybe a lot if the word is "intermodal" even if you have never said it before.

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