The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors has approved a balanced budget of more than $1.2 billion for the upcoming year. This balanced budget is a result of OCTA’s mission to deliver long-term sustainable transportation solutions for the residents of Orange County.
According to Mass Transit Magazine major initiatives for the budget include continuing Measure M improvements (including to freeways and the OC Streetcar), improving bus service through the OC Bus 360° program, and operating the 91 Express Lanes. Funding allocations for the fiscal year 2017-18 budget include: $349 million for bus operations; $170 million for freeway improvements; $156 million for streets and roads improvements; and $10.6 million for environmental programs.
Going into effect July 1, the budget reflect its significant investment in capital projects. “This budget lays the groundwork for a productive and exciting year ahead that will be punctuated with the groundbreaking on two landmark projects — the I-405 Improvement Project, our single largest capital project ever undertaken, and the OC Streetcar, our first modern streetcar that will help reshape how people move through the heart of Orange County,” said OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson. OCTA will begin the I-405 Improvement Project this coming year, widening the freeway between SR 73 in Costa Mesa and I-605 near the L.A. County line, and constructing the 405 Express Lanes. The purpose of the project is to improve travel conditions by increasing freeway capacity, improving interchange operations and enhancing road safety. Meanwhile, the 4.1-mile OC Streetcar through Santa Ana into Garden Grove is on track to bring greater mobility to Orange County and beyond. Both the I-405 Improvement Project and the OC Streetcar Project are partially funded by Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.
“We are proud that this budget for the upcoming fiscal year continues to demonstrate OCTA’s commitment to delivering on the promises made to voters who approved Measure M,” said OCTA Chairman Michael Hennessey. “Regardless of how people choose to travel, this budget focuses on enhancing the convenience, safety and speed of all forms of transportation by improving bus and rail operations, freeways, streets, and active transportation programs throughout Orange County.”