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January 11, 2021

News
First District Supervisor Andrew Do Elected as New OCTA Chairman

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.

December 23, 2020

News
OCTA Asks for Public Input to Enhance Natural Disaster Preparation

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 13-question online survey is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese and will be online through Friday, Jan. 8.

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.

December 15, 2020

News
First OC Streetcar Rail Set into Santa Ana Street

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.

December 14, 2020

News
OCTA Adapts, Overcomes Pandemic Challenges to Deliver Successfully on 2020 Initiatives

Board reviews 2020 Accomplishments that included continuing to make freeway and transit improvements and providing regional leadership among obstacles of COVID-19

ORANGE – Throughout 2020, the Orange County Transportation Authority adapted and pushed through the many unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to continue keeping its promises to deliver a balanced and sustainable transportation network for Orange County.

A summary of the many accomplishments for OCTA in 2020 was presented today to the OCTA Board of Directors, comprised of 15 elected and two appointed members from across the county, and a Caltrans representative.

The Board led the way in directing policy that made necessary adjustments to protect the health and safety of the public and OCTA employees, while continuing to keep Orange County moving.

“As an organization we worked diligently to proactively address the unprecedented challenges of this public health crisis,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “I’m proud of OCTA staff and our Board of Directors for accomplishing so much toward providing essential transportation improvements and services for Orange County.”

Milestones for the year were guided by five overarching Board Initiatives:

  • Comprehensive Mobility Solutions
  • Regional Leadership and Public Transparency
  • Resiliency, Sustainability and Innovation
  • Fiscal Accountability
  • Organizational Excellence

Accomplishments included advancing projects promised to voters through Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Among them are important freeway improvements on I-405, continuing to make improvements on I-5 in South County, and completing the I-5 Central County Improvements Project – four months ahead of schedule.

Other notable accomplishments included continuing to build the OC Streetcar in Santa Ana and Garden Grove, funding street improvements and enhancing the OC Bus system.

OCTA also took strong steps forward with zero-emission bus efforts, debuting the largest transit-oriented hydrogen fueling station in the nation and approving a separate pilot program for 10 plug-in electric buses.

OCTA demonstrated resiliency and regional leadership in dealing with the effects of COVID-19, to help protect employees and the public.

That agency-wide effort included providing consistent messaging in multiple languages to keep the public informed about safety measures on the OC Bus system, including temporary rear-door bus boarding, limiting the number of bus passengers for social distancing, implementing face covering requirements, and installing hand sanitizer and face-covering dispensers on all OC Buses.

The entire bus fleet was equipped with driver shields, which allowed a gradual and safe return to front-door boarding.

OCTA capitalized on years of planning to quickly transition to remote work and virtual meetings when the pandemic hit. All Board and Committee meetings were transitioned to a virtual format starting in March.

More than 500 administration employees smoothly transitioned to working remotely due in large part to extensive crisis planning, a remote-work pilot program, and a years-long effort toward cloud computing.

“We are proud of the leadership OCTA showed and all of the accomplishments throughout 2020,” OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson said. “All of those efforts put us in a strong position to continue providing essential transit services and building an even stronger transportation network for Orange County in 2021 and into the future.”

For a more complete summary of OCTA’s 2020 Accomplishments, please visit: http://www.octa.net/2020Accomplishments.

December 7, 2020

News
SR-55 Improvement Project Receives $140 million from CTC

Funds from California Transportation Commission will help move forward project to improve 55 freeway between I-5 and I-405 in central Orange County

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded $140 million in competitive state transportation funding, a major boost to help build the State Route 55 Improvement Project between I-5 and I-405 in central Orange County.

The funding comes from the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which awarded $115 million from the SB1 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program and $25 million from the SBI Local Partnership Competitive Program.

“We are very thankful to the CTC and Caltrans for recognizing the importance of the SR-55 improvement project for Orange County and for the support of so many local elected officials and partners to help OCTA move forward with these vital improvements,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.

The SR-55 Improvement Project is a critical part of fulfilling the promise of Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax – overwhelming renewed by voters in 2006 – to make improvements to freeways, streets and public transit.

SR-55 is a vital north-to-south freeway that links central Orange County to the coastal region. More than 260,000 vehicles use that stretch of SR-55 every day, and that number is expected to grow to nearly 275,000 vehicles by 2040.

The freeway is also an important route for commercial traffic with an estimated 17,000 daily truck trips. The improvements are expected to save up to 1,500 hours in daily truck travel time, helping improve air quality, as well.

The SR-55 project will add a regular lane and a carpool lane in each direction between I-5 near Santa Ana and Tustin and I-405 near Irvine and Costa Mesa. It will also add auxiliary lanes to help traffic smoothly enter and exit the freeway. The improvements will increase access to job centers, healthcare and educational facilities, South Coast Plaza and John Wayne Airport, among other important destinations for the region.

The project is estimated to cost $474 million with additional funds coming from Measure M, also known as OC Go, and other state and federal funding. It has completed the design phase and construction is expected to begin in 2022. Improvements are estimated to be finished in 2026.

For more information, visit: www.octa.net/sr55.

November 11, 2020

News
OCTA to Test 10 Zero-Emission Plug-in Electric Buses

Pilot program of plug-in battery-electric buses, in addition to testing of hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, part of OCTA’s goal to produce no bus emissions by 2040.

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority board this week approved purchasing 10 plug-in battery-electric buses for a pilot program to test how the buses perform on Orange County streets.

The contract with New Flyer of America, Inc. is for $10.4 million, with substantial grant funding helping pay for the purchase of the 10 buses.

The move is part of OCTA’s plan to convert the OC Bus fleet to 100 percent zero-emission technology by 2040.

Earlier this year, OCTA also began operating 10 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, and this new pilot will help determine which technology – or mix of technologies – will work best for Orange County moving forward.

It’s another important step toward zero-emission transportation technology for a balanced and sustainable future – one that will help bring even cleaner air quality to Orange County.

“This is a great opportunity for us to gather important data about the latest zero-emission technologies to ensure we continue providing the highest level of safe, reliable transit to Orange County riders,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “At the same time, we are helping provide an even cleaner environment.”

OCTA has already gradually transitioned its fleet over the years, from diesel-burning buses to clean-burning renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) buses with near-zero-emission engines. The state has set a requirement to transition to complete zero-emission transit within the next 20 years.

In June, OCTA approved a zero-emission bus (ZEB) rollout plan, which was submitted to the California Air Resources Board.

The plan is not a commitment to a specific type of technology. OCTA is testing both hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses and plug-in battery-electric buses to determine which ZEBs best meet OCTA’s needs related to operations, maintenance and cost, among other factors.

The 10 plug-in battery-electric buses are each the standard 40-foot length with capacity of up to 76 riders, (OCTA is currently limiting bus occupancy because of COVID-19). The buses have an estimated range of 200 miles between charges, which will allow them to run for a full day and be charged nightly at OCTA’s Garden Grove bus base.

Five of the 10 test buses are scheduled to run on a new Bravo! route between Anaheim and South Coast Metro in Santa Ana. The other five will operate throughout Orange County.

Five of the buses are funded by grants through the California Transportation Commission and SB 1, and through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) administered by Caltrans.

The hydrogen fuel-cell buses, which also create no emissions, began operating in January, when OCTA debuted its hydrogen fueling station in Santa Ana. In all, it represented a $22.9 million investment. More than half of that funding – $12.5 million – came from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

OCTA operates more than 500 buses in the regular OC Bus system across Orange County. For now, most of those buses run on CNG but OCTA is working toward the goal of producing zero emissions.

OCTA will begin phasing in additional zero-emission buses as part of future bus purchases beginning in 2023. At the same time, staff will continue to analyze emerging technologies and work with partners to secure funding for purchase, operations and maintenance of the buses.

The effort aligns with California’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule, a first-of-its kind regulation in the U.S. that sets a goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The Innovative Clean Transit Rule is part of the state’s comprehensive program helping to achieve California’s air quality and climate goals.

The hydrogen fuel-cell buses continue to be tested on routes throughout Orange County. The plug-in battery-electric buses are expected to begin operation in Orange County in late 2021.

October 15, 2020

News
OCTA Invests $3 Million to Clean Orange County Water

Funds will go to 12 cities for filters and catch basins that have helped capture 33 million gallons of trash

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority board this week voted to invest nearly $3 million to improve water quality in Orange County from Fullerton to San Clemente.

The funds come from Measure M, the half-cent sales tax renewed by Orange County voters in 2006 for transportation improvements. Measure M, also known as OC Go, includes funding for an environmental cleanup program that awards money on a competitive basis to cities and the county for projects that reduce the impacts of water pollution related to transportation.

“Protecting the county’s natural resources, while at the same time improving our transportation network, is a key promise made to voters through Measure M, and this is another good example of fulfilling that promise by keeping our water clean,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the mayor of Garden Grove.

The OCTA board approved $2.8 million available for 12 projects focused on removing visible pollutants, such as litter and debris, from roads before they reach waterways and the ocean. These projects include purchasing or upgrading screens, filters and inserts for catch basins, as well as other devices designed to remove pollutants.

The cities that received funding include: Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, San Clemente and Yorba Linda.

The OCTA board has approved funding for 177 projects since the inception of this program in 2011, totaling just more than $25 million. It is estimated that more than 33 million gallons of trash has since been captured as a result of the installation of these devices.

For more information on the Measure M water quality program, visit octa.net/water.

Attachment: A complete list of projects approved by the OCTA board is attached.

October 7, 2020

News
OCTA Welcomes Public Input on Freeway Express Bus Service Study

Study with Caltrans to consider adding bus rapid transit service to Interstate 5 and State Route 55

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority, in partnership with Caltrans, is studying the possibility of adding bus service to a section of Interstate 5 and State Route 55 through Orange County, and is welcoming public input.

The study is considering two potential freeway bus rapid transit (BRT) routes, one on approximately 30 miles of I-5, between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo transit station and the Fullerton Park and Ride, and the other on SR-55 between the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Freeway bus rapid transit is express bus service that travels on the freeway, using carpool lanes, express lanes or even shoulder lanes to more efficiently serve key destinations. Stations would be located along the freeway and would connect to those key destinations with local bus service and shuttles.

In the process, encouraging public transit would help take more people out of single-driver vehicles and help ease freeway traffic congestion.

Orange County residents, and those who use freeways to get to work and visit destinations along the I-5 and SR-55 freeways, are encouraged to take a brief online survey to help give valuable feedback on the BRT plans.

A public webinar for more information on the project is scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Participants can take the survey, register for the webinar and find more information on the project, including a video overview of the study, at www.octa.net/FreewayBRT.

The survey can also be taken by calling (909) 494-2900 through Nov. 16.

The study builds on the 2018 OC Transit Vision, which established a plan for the next 20 years of transit in Orange County and identified the I-5 and SR-55 corridors as high priorities for transit. The study will identify potential operating lanes, station locations and needed parking, among other necessary infrastructure improvements.

The study is expected to be completed in early 2021.

September 24, 2020

News
OCTA Again Awarded National Honor for Financial Reporting

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United State and Canada recognizes OCTA for comprehensive report in ‘spirit of full disclosure’

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority was recently recognized by the leading association of government finance professionals for excellence and transparency in financial reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada this month awarded OCTA the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year that ended in June 2019.

OCTA has received the high honor each year since it was founded in 1991.

The Certificate of Achievement is the association’s highest recognition for government accounting and financial reporting. It is judged by an impartial panel of experts from the association who review the report for its ability to clearly communicate the agency’s financial story and for a “spirit of full disclosure.”

“OCTA prides itself on being transparent with the taxpayers of Orange County and this award is another clear indication that we are achieving that goal,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “Through the tremendous work of our staff and Board, we will continue to fulfill our responsibility to wisely and efficiently use the funds entrusted to OCTA to improve our transportation system and, ultimately, our residents’ quality of life.”

OCTA has an annual budget of $1.4 billion, approved by a 17-member Board of Directors each year after a budget workshop, numerous updates in public committee meetings and the board’s annual public hearing.

An independent,11-member Taxpayer Oversight Committee also holds an annual compliance hearing to ensure that funds from Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, are being administered in accordance with the ordinances that were first approved by voters in 1990 and overwhelmingly renewed for 30 years in 2006. The Taxpayer Oversight Committee has determined for 29 consecutive years that Measure M is being delivered to voters as promised.

The Taxpayer Oversight Committee has determined for 29 consecutive years that Measure M is being delivered to voters as promised.

Amidst the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts, OCTA continues to provide frequent financial updates to the Board of Directors for utmost transparency and accountability.

September 16, 2020

News
OCTA Approves $1 Million for Santa Ana Bus Stop Upgrades

Local Measure M sales tax funds will help improve shelters, other amenities at 35 bus stops

ORANGE – The OCTA Board of Directors this week approved more than $1 million to make improvements to 35 of the county’s busiest bus stops in the city of Santa Ana, helping provide newer, more comfortable shelter for passengers waiting to ride OC Bus.

The funds are provided through Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation, also known as OC Go. The measure, renewed by voters in 2006, includes funding to help provide improved transit amenities at the county’s busiest bus stops.

This week’s award of funding for bus-stop improvements is part of OCTA’s ongoing investment in communities where there is the greatest demand for public transit. Santa Ana, which has some of the county’s most heavily used bus routes, applied for the competitive funds and will work with OCTA to implement the upgrades.

“A big part of our mission is provide our bus passengers with a safe and enjoyable experience that encourages them to ride public transit, and these local sales tax funds will help significantly enhance the experience for OC Bus riders,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.

Funds will be used to make improvements at 35 of Santa Ana’s bus stops, including several popular routes along Bristol Street, 17th Street and Harbor Boulevard, among many other locations throughout the city.

The improvements include replacing existing shelters (from rain and sun), benches, trash receptacles, advertising cases and making necessary improvements to concrete at the stops.

While bus stops throughout the county are located on city property and maintained by individual cities, OCTA works in partnership with those cities to determine the best locations for stops and provides competitive funding for improvements.

To date, the OCTA board has approved more than $3.1 million for similar bus-stop improvements throughout Orange County.

September 10, 2020

News
OCTA Innovating to Keep Public Informed During COVID-19

The agency has shifted to virtual meetings and other technology to update residents living near its various construction projects

ORANGE – While millions of Californians heeded state orders to stay home to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), construction on public transportation projects continued, leaving the Orange County Transportation Authority to answer the question: What’s the best way to communicate construction updates to the thousands of residents living near its projects?

On the I-405 Improvement Project, the largest highway project under construction in the state, the COVID-19 pandemic forced OCTA to think creatively about how to best reach the diverse communities along the 16-mile stretch of project while ensuring the health and safety of employees and the public.

Traditional communication methods, including hosting information booths at community events, hosting in-person neighborhood meetings and canvassing fliers to residents’ homes, was no longer a viable option. But OCTA wanted to do more than relying on the project’s website, mobile app and social media presence to keep residents living in nine different cities throughout the project area informed.

Less than a week after the state issued its stay-at-home order in March, the I-405 Improvement Project hosted its first ever virtual neighborhood meeting to update residents living near major upcoming construction. The meeting was similar to the dozens that had been previously held, except instead of being at a community park, school or meeting room, residents were able to have their questions answered from the comfort and safety of their own home.

Since then, the project team has hosted nine additional virtual community meetings, directly communicating with nearly 450 people live. The meetings are all recorded and available online and have generated more than 2,000 views.

I-5 South Team Goes Virtual

The outreach team focused on improvements being made to I-5 between El Toro Road and SR-73 in South Orange County also converted its typical approach of chatting with residents over donuts in local neighborhood parks. Instead, they also quickly set up virtual meetings.

At first, they held a virtual meeting and discussed the entire 6-mile project, but quickly discovered it was a bit too much information for many residents who wanted detailed information about the freeway bridge near their house or whether there’d be a sound wall in their neighborhood.

So, they switched to “Webinar Wednesdays” that focused on smaller segments of the project.

And the I-5 South team looked to see how TV entertainment shows engaged viewers while going online. Using that example, rather than having just one presenter talk to the camera, they decided to have two presenters from the project team interacting.

One acts as the host for the meeting, welcoming the audience and explaining how it will work, then allows the other to present the information. The host asks follow-up questions and sometimes even jumps in to ask for clarification that the audience might want to know.

The I-5 South project team also focused on branding by always wearing button-up shirts that prominently featured the project logo when on camera. Otherwise, they limited branding, keeping it informal and presenting from their homes, with books, photos and artwork in the background.

The approach intended to send a message: Thank you for letting us come into your homes (virtually) for the presentation – from our homes to yours.

The team found that the team approach from home led to more engagement and more informal questions from viewers – as if they were still just chatting over donuts.

When completed in 2025, the I-5 South project will add a regular lane in each direction of the freeway, extend a second carpool lane, widen bridges and make other improvements to ease traffic congestion for approximately 360,000 drivers who use that part of the freeway daily.

Technology Helping Find the Right Audience

In addition to the virtual events, OCTA began using geofencing campaigns to target hundreds of thousands of residents and commuters that live and drive through specific areas of the I-405 Improvement Project.

This method of advertising allows OCTA to select a 1-mile radius near major construction work. If someone enters that zone with their smartphone, laptop or tablet, they will begin seeing construction alerts on their favorite apps, including ones like Waze or Pandora.

To date, the project team has completed six of these advertising campaigns, reaching nearly 700,000 people.

Moving forward, as restrictions continue to ease, OCTA will continue to build on the success of these virtual outreach efforts as a convenient way to keep the community up to date on its many projects and programs.

The $1.9 billion I-405 Improvement Project will add one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605, and a second lane in each direction in the center of the freeway from SR-73 to I-605 that will combine with the existing carpool lanes to form the 405 Express Lanes.

For more information about the projects, visit octa.net/405improvement and octa.net/i5south.

July 16, 2020

News
OCTA Meeting Major Transportation Milestones Despite Pandemic Challenges

2020 mid-year report shows continued delivery of essential capital project improvements and public transit services

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority is pushing ahead through the many unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and continuing to keep its promises to deliver a balanced and sustainable transportation network for Orange County.

The OCTA Board of Directors this week received a mid-year report on the status of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer Initiatives and Action Plan showing that the agency has met 41 of 92 milestones for 2020 through the first six months of the year.

The milestones achieved have included advancing projects promised to voters through Measure M, the Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Among them are important freeway improvements on the I-405, I-5 and SR-91, continuing to build the OC Streetcar, funding street improvements and enhancing the OC Bus system.

“While there’s no question that we, like public agencies everywhere, have faced enormous challenges with the ongoing public health crisis, I think this report is further proof of the tremendous effort of our agency to work through those obstacles and continue providing essential services for Orange County,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.

The milestones, first approved in January, were adjusted slightly in May in response to the pandemic, resulting in the 92 milestones.

Each January, the OCTA board and CEO work together to prioritize goals for the year and develop and action plan to ensure progress toward those goals.

This year that includes:

Board Initiatives

  • Comprehensive Mobility Solutions
  • Regional Leadership and Public Transparency
  • Resiliency, Sustainability and Innovation
  • Fiscal Accountability
  • Organizational Excellence

CEO Initiatives

  • Enhance Transit Service Quality and Customer Experience
  • Deliver OC Go – Next 10 Plan Commitments (Measure M)
  • Collaborate with Local and Regional Partners
  • Ensure Public Accountability and Transparency
  • Advance Climate Resiliency and Sustainability
  • Promote and Deploy Innovative Technology
  • Champion Fiscal Responsibility
  • Strengthen Safety and Security Measures
  • Develop and Maximize Workforce Potential

The initiatives and milestones will be reviewed again by the board this fall. Information: www.octa.net.

June 24, 2020

News
OCTA Sets Course for All Zero-Emission Buses by 2040

Plans are in-line with state mandate, as OCTA continues to test hydrogen fuel-cell electric and plug-in battery-electric technologies in two pilot programs

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority board has approved a draft plan outlining how the agency will convert the OC Bus fleet to 100 percent zero-emission technology by 2040.

It is a milestone step toward zero-emission transportation technology for a balanced and sustainable future – one that will help bring even cleaner air quality to Orange County.

“This is a great opportunity for us to plan for a healthier future that will include both reliable transportation and no potentially harmful emissions into our environment,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “We are accomplishing two important goals at the same time.”

OCTA has already gradually transitioned its fleet over the years, from diesel-burning buses to clean-burning renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) buses with near-zero-emission engines. The state has set a requirement to transition to complete zero-emission transit within the next 20 years.

OCTA’s zero-emission bus rollout plan, approved by the board of directors on Monday, will now be submitted to the California Air Resources Board.

The plan is not a commitment to a specific type of technology at this point. OCTA is in the process of testing both hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses and plug-in battery-electric buses to determine which technology best meets OCTA’s needs related to operations, maintenance and cost, among other things.

In April, the OCTA Board of Directors approved a request for quotes to purchase 10 plug-in battery-electric buses.

The pilot program for the battery-electric 40-foot buses comes following OCTA’s debut at the start of 2020 of 10 new hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses.

Those hydrogen fuel-cell buses, which also create zero emissions, began operating in January, when OCTA debuted its hydrogen fueling station in Santa Ana. In all, it represented a $22.9 million investment. More than half of that funding – $12.5 million – came from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Testing both hydrogen fuel-cell and plug-in battery-electric buses will allow OCTA to collect valuable data and to determine which technology – or the best mix of technologies – to pursue moving forward.

OCTA operates more than 500 buses in the regular OC Bus system across Orange County. For now, most of those buses run on compressed natural gas but OCTA is working toward the goal of producing zero emissions.

OCTA will begin phasing in the purchase of zero-emission buses as part of future bus procurements beginning in 2023. At the same time, staff will continue to analyze emerging technologies and work with partners to secure funding for purchase, operations and maintenance of the buses.

The effort aligns with California’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule, a first-of-its-kind regulation in the U.S. that sets a goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100 percent zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The Innovative Clean Transit Rule is part of the state’s comprehensive program helping to achieve California’s air quality and climate goals.

The hydrogen fuel-cell buses continue to be tested on routes throughout Orange County. The plug-in battery-electric buses are expected to begin operation in Orange County in late 2021.

June 11, 2020

News
OCTA Approves $1.4 Billion Balanced Budget for FY 2020-21

The Orange County Transportation Authority has approved a budget of more than $1.4 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – a balanced budget that makes conservative assumptions due to the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping important transportation improvements moving forward...