Alphabet soup served every day in the transportation world

A bowl of what Campbell Soup Co. calls "new and improved" Campbell Alphabet soup steams after just being poured at a tasting at the soup company's world headquarters, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Sabina Louise Pierce)
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A bowl of what Campbell Soup Co. calls "new and improved" Campbell Alphabet soup steams after just being poured at a tasting at the soup company's world headquarters, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Sabina Louise Pierce)
A bowl of what Campbell Soup Co. calls "new and improved" Campbell Alphabet soup steams after just being poured at a tasting at the soup company's world headquarters, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Sabina Louise Pierce)

A bowl of what Campbell Soup Co. calls “new and improved” Campbell Alphabet soup steams at a tasting at the soup company’s world headquarters, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Sabina Louise Pierce)

The first few months I spent covering transportation for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution passed by in a blur of consonants.

Sure, every industry has its lingo. But the transportation world in particular is famous for its unbridled use of acronyms. (Its only peer may be the education world – do you feel me, K-12, CRCT, PTA, SAT?).

First, you’ve got the big state and local agencies — GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation), SRTA (State Road and Tollway Authority), GRTA (Georgia Regional Transportation Authority), MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) or ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission). Then you’ve got the big federal funding programs, the old SAFETEA-LU, the existing MAP-21, or the proposed GROW AMERICA and DRIVE Acts.

That doesn’t even count all the federal agencies like FRA (Federal Railroad Administration), FTA (Federal Transit Administration), FHWA (Federal Highway Administration).

I could go on to list all the federal and state grant or taxation programs, and other national transportation organizations, but Politico pretty aptly skewers these customs in an amusing column today. Any old, new and even would-be transportation nerds will enjoy the references.


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