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Learn about Orange County Transportation Authority, including Featured News, Key Projects, The Team, and Bond Programs.
Director Mark A. Murphy, also mayor of Orange, chosen as Vice Chair
ORANGE – Orange County First District Supervisor Andrew Do was unanimously elected today as the new Chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors, which is responsible for planning, funding, and delivering transportation-improvement projects and public transit for all of Orange County.
Chairman Do served as the OCTA board’s Vice Chairman for the last year. He replaces outgoing Chairman Steve Jones, the Garden Grove mayor, who remains on the board.
“It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues to lead OCTA’s Board of Directors this year,” said Chairman Do. “I look forward to working with them and the public to provide a balanced, sustainable, and innovative transportation system to keep Orange County moving. Considering the challenges of the past year, I recognize how essential public transit and improvement projects are to ensuring our communities are safe, healthy, and financially sound.”
He began serving on the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2015, representing the residents of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, and Midway City. That same year he also began serving on the OCTA Board. He has represented OCTA at the Metrolink Board of Directors since 2018.
Born in Vietnam, Chairman Do fled to the U.S. with his family after the Fall of Saigon and grew up in Garden Grove. After attending the University of California at Davis for his undergraduate degree, he attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and received his Juris Doctor. He taught for three years as an Adjunct Professor at Cal State University, Fullerton and served as a Judge Pro Tem at Orange County West Municipal Court.
After several years providing legal representation to poor and indigent defendants, Chairman Do worked as an Orange County Deputy District Attorney. He has also given back to his community by serving as a Garden Grove City Councilman, the President of the Asian Bar of California, and an elected member of the Orange County Bar Association’s Board of Directors.
Elected by the board to serve as Vice Chairman was Director Mark A. Murphy, also the mayor of Orange. Murphy has served on OCTA since 2017. Murphy has served as chair of OCTA’s Regional Planning and Highways Committee, as a member of the Executive Committee and SR-91 Advisory Committee.
Sworn in today as new members to the OCTA Board were Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Mission Viejo Mayor Brian Goodell.
Sarmiento serves as president of the Orange County Water District Board of Directors and was sworn in as Santa Ana mayor in December 2020.
Goodell is a two-time Olympic swimming champion and was elected to Mission Viejo City Council in 2016 and won re-election in 2020.
The OCTA board is comprised of 18 members, including the five county supervisors, two members from city councils in each of the five supervisorial districts, two public members and the Caltrans District Director serves in a non-voting ex-officio capacity.
Brief online survey to help keep services running in event of flood, wildfire or earthquake
ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority is continuing its efforts to ensure county residents, workers and visitors can keep moving even in the event of a natural disaster and is asking for public input to help in this ongoing effort.
OCTA’s Hazard Mitigation Plan is designed to support existing emergency and crisis management plans. Those who use OCTA services – including OC Bus, Metrolink commuter rail, OC Flex and OC ACCESS paratransit service – are asked to help update the plan by completing a brief survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HR85JM9.
The valuable public input received will help OCTA better plan for how to keep services running in the event of natural disasters such as flooding, an earthquake or wildfire.
Completing the plan will also help OCTA qualify for federal funding opportunities that will allow for enhanced measures to prepare for such natural disasters.
For more information on OCTA programs and services, visit www.octa.net.
A major project milestone, track installation is underway starting at Bristol Street and Santa Ana Boulevard
ORANGE – Construction of the OC Streetcar has reached a major milestone as construction crews have set the first rail into place that will eventually carry the streetcar vehicles through the streets of Santa Ana and Garden Grove.
The rail was set in place this month at the intersection of Santa Ana Boulevard and Bristol Street, and crews are continuing working to place rail westbound toward Raitt Street.
“This is an important and very exciting moment for this project as the public can begin to see the actual rail being set into the street for Orange County’s first modern-electric streetcar,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “I hope the community shares my excitement to see this project coming to fruition to provide another important public transit option.”
The OC Streetcar will run on just over 4 miles of track in each direction through Santa Ana and Garden Grove. It is scheduled to begin testing and operations in 2022.
Updates on the OC Streetcar construction and a video celebrating the streetcar rail being set into the street will be part of a Virtual Community Open House about the project scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17.
To participate in the meeting at that time via Zoom – or to see the recorded version after – visit www.ocstreetcar.com.
The OC Streetcar route will serve Santa Ana’s thriving downtown and dense employment areas that include county and local government offices and courthouses in the Civic Center.
The streetcar will carry passengers between the busy Santa Ana transit center and a transit stop at Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove, running along Santa Ana Boulevard, Fourth Street and the Pacific Electric right-of-way and connecting with OCTA’s busiest bus routes.
Six vehicles – with two spares – will operate daily, making stops at 10 locations in each direction every 10 to 15 minutes. Manufacturing of the Siemens S700 streetcar vehicles began in late 2019 and are being built in northern California.
For more information on the project, visit www.ocstreetcar.com.
Attached: Artist rendering of the OC Streetcar.
OCTA in cooperation with The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is widening the San Diego Freeway (I-405) between State Route 73 (SR-73) and Interstate 605 (I-605).The project will improve 16 miles of I-405 between the SR-73 freeway in Costa Mesa and I-605 near the L.A. County line. The project includes adding one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605 and making improvements to freeway entrances, exits and bridges. In addition, the project will add the 405 Express Lanes, incorporating the existing carpool lanes and a new lane in each direction between SR-73 and I-605. The 405 Express Lanes will give solo drivers the choice to speed up their commute for a toll and give options for carpoolers to use the lanes for free. When the express lanes open, two-person carpools will pay a toll only during peak hours and carpools of three or more will be free at all times.
The general purpose lane portion of the project is an OCGO, formally Measure M (Orange County's half-cent transportation sales tax), project and will be funded by a combination of local, state and federal funds, with the express lanes portion of the project financed and primarily paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use the 405 Express Lanes.
Because of the high demand for the I-405 and the need to stay within the existing right of way, the project cannot provide enough additional lanes to eliminate congestion. The 405 Express Lanes, however, will provide a fast, stress-free travel option. Because the amount of traffic in the 405 Express lanes will be optimized by raising and lowering tolls in response to traffic demand, the 405 Express Lanes will be more predictable and move more vehicles per lane during peak periods than the regular, general purpose lanes. Solo drivers in the 405 Express Lanes will pay the full toll and carpools are anticipated to be offered discounts or free travel. The toll policy has not been finalized yet but it will be designed to provide customers with a safe, reliable, congestion-free commute. The 405 Express lanes will offer people a choice to travel faster when they absolutely need to.
In 2040, it's expected to take 29 minutes to travel during rush hour from SR-73 to I-605 in the general purpose lanes after improvements to the I-405 are complete. That commute can be reduced to 13 minutes if a driver chooses to take the 405 Express Lanes.
The new parking structure will blend into the historic architectural design of the area and incorporate modern features like solar panels and electric car charging ports to contribute to the building’s energy efficiency. Some key design elements include:
611 New Parking Spaces
This 5-story structure will have 2 subterranean levels and a total of 611 parking spaces. The increase of parking spaces will improve accessibility for Metrolink riders and motorists visiting Old Towne Orange.
Electric Car Charging Ports
Several dedicated parking spaces will feature electric car charging ports, allowing for eco-friendly vehicles to plug in and recharge.
The building and plaza areas will reflect the historic character and scale of Old Towne Orange to blend into the architectural design of the historic district. The design was developed with extensive input from the community.
Solar panels will be placed on the facility’s roof, thereby providing reduced energy costs for lighting, mechanical and ventilation systems.
Bike Racks and Lockers
This newly added feature will encourage active transportation by providing commuters peace of mind knowing there is a secure place to store their bicycles.
Environmental: December 2009 – May 2016
Design: November 2010 – April 2016
Construction: July 2017 – Early 2019
To complement Orange County’s Metrolink service, passengers need a way to get to their final destination after getting off a train. Through Transit Extensions to Metrolink, a Measure M program (now called OC Go) intended to broaden the reach of Orange County’s backbone rail system to key employment, population, and activity centers, the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove developed a fixed guideway project that would address this need.
After evaluating many alternatives and extensive outreach, a streetcar was chosen as the preferred alternative. Expected to begin operations in 2021, the OC Streetcar will link the bustling Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC), which provides regional rail, OCTA bus, and intercity and international bus services, to a new multimodal hub at Harbor Boulevard/Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove. Along the way, OC Streetcar will connect directly with 18 OCTA bus routes. OC Streetcar will serve the historic downtown Santa Ana and Civic Center which includes government offices, federal, state and local courthouses, unique restaurants and shops, an artists’ village, several schools and a variety of community enrichment organizations.
OC Streetcar will increase transportation options and provide greater access along its 4.15-mile route (in each direction) along Santa Ana Boulevard, 4th Street, and the Pacific Electric right-of-way to Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove.
Orange County’s population is expected to increase 13 percent by 2035, and that means more drivers on our roadways. To ease growing traffic demands, OCTA, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the County of Orange and all 34 cities are working together to coordinate traffic lights across the county.
Traffic signal synchronization allows a series of lights to turn green in advance of arriving traffic based on synchronized timers set to current traffic conditions and congestion levels.
OCTA improves traffic flow by coordinating traffic lights across city boundaries. Most signal timing projects result in a 5 to 15 percent improvement in travel time and speed, reducing travel times, stops and delays.
The 91 Express Lanes was born from the need for congestion relief on SR-91 when no public funds were available to solve this critical transportation problem. Built by the California Private Transportation Company (CPTC), the 91 Express Lanes embodied a unique concept: The private sector would take the risk and the state would get congestion relief at no cost to taxpayers.
Built at a cost of $135 million, the Orange County section of the project was authorized as a toll road by the State of California in 1989 and opened in 1995. An agreement with the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) included a non-compete provision that created a 1.5-mile protection zone along each side of SR-91. This zone prohibited improvements along the corridor and created mobility problems as the region and corresponding transportation demands grew.
To mitigate growing concerns over congestion, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) acquired the 91 Express Lanes franchise rights in January 2003. This eliminated the non-compete provision, clearing the way for future enhancements that will increase capacity and improve traffic flow along the SR-91 corridor.
In 2008, the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) received authority to extend the Express Lanes to I-15. Traffic congestion on eastbound SR-91 between Anaheim and Corona is routinely among the worst five areas in the nation. At a cost of $1.4 billion, the RCTC 91 Corridor Improvement Project added regular lanes, tolled express lanes, auxiliary lanes and direct express lane connectors from the northbound I-15 to the westbound SR-91 and from the eastbound SR-91 to the southbound I-15. Improvements to interchanges, ramps and surface streets were also made along the 91 corridor.
The Riverside section of the 91 Express Lanes opened in 2017, providing customers with 8 additional miles of travel time certainty.
To provide 91 Express Lanes customers with excellent customer service, OCTA and RCTC entered into an agreement with the current 91 Express Lanes operator to service both segments of the Express Lanes.
The 91 Express Lanes 2013 Bonds were issued to refund the Series 2003 Bonds, which were originally issued to finance the acquisition of the 91 Express Lanes for the design, construction and installation of the toll road. The current bonds outstanding are the Series 2013 Bonds and no future debt plans are anticipated at this time.
Bond Ratings: A1/AA/A+
Final Maturity: 2030
Debt Outstanding as of 12/31/2019: $91,865,000
On November 7, 2006, the voters of Orange County chose to extend the Measure M1 half cent sales tax for another 30 years from 2011 through 2041. Measure M2 (M2), administered by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), will generate billions of dollars to improve transportation in Orange County. M2 is designed to reduce traffic congestion and enhance overall mobility. Improvements in the plan include improving key freeways, upgrading major interchanges, and adding capacity and maintaining streets and roads. M2 allocates 43 percent of funds to freeway projects, 32 percent to streets and roads, and 25 percent to transit projects.
When the M2 Investment Plan was initially developed, forecasts projected M2 sales tax revenue available for projects and programs at $24.3 billion. Since the Great Recession in 2008, projected sales tax revenue has dropped by $10.8 billion and is now projected at $13.1 billion.
On November 13, 2017, the Updated Next 10 Plan was approved by the Board, reflecting new cash flows, schedule, and project information. This comprehensive plan sets priorities and funding commitments over a ten-year period (2017-2026) to ensure that promises made in the M2 Investment Plan can continue to be delivered despite changing economic and revenue shortfall impacts. While the Updated Next 10 Plan considers current cash flow forecasts, project information and schedules, the deliverables remain largely unchanged.
The largest component of the overall M2 Program is the Freeway Program. It receives 43 percent of the net sales tax revenue. In the approved Updated Next 10 Plan, $4.3 billion in freeway projects are scheduled to be delivered. The I-405 Improvement Project, which at $1.9 billion in estimated cost, will be the largest capital project that OCTA has delivered in its history. This project, slated to open in 2023, is concurrently under final design and construction.
OCTA issues Sales Tax Revenue bonds to provide funds for certain transportation projects, such as the upcoming Series 2019 Bonds issuance for the funding of the general purpose lanes for the I-405 Improvement Project. The current bonds outstanding are the Series 2010 A and B Bonds. OCTA is planning to issue ~$400 million of Sales Tax Revenue bonds in February 2019.
Final Maturity: 2041
Bond Ratings: Aa2/AA+/AA+
Debt Outstanding as of 12/31/2019: $635,220,000