Last month, the trade magazine Engineering News Record selected OCTA as California’s Owner of the Year and ran a feature article on its capital projects program. Owners of the Year are chosen for overall commitment to excellence and innovative work throughout the region.
Some of the highlights of the article Fruitful Times for Orange County Transportation:
About the I-405 Improvement Project
Widening a major highway through several cities, and putting tolls on it? The expected result: public disapproval and lawsuits. But not if you’re the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). When you’re OCTA, “the environmental community supported it from Day 1,” recalls Darrell Johnson, CEO of the Southern California agency.
Skeptical cities were won over, too. Adolfo Ozaeta, city traffic engineer for the city of Westminster, notes that one alternative listed for the $1.9-billion Interstate 405 widening would have required acquiring more than 100 parcels from the city. “Through OCTA’s public participation process ... today we are constructing this alternative which includes the permanent acquisition of zero homes and businesses. It speaks volumes as to the manner in which OCTA does business. We are constructing a project that has countywide support.”
About OC Go
In 2017, the extension of Measure M was rebranded as OC Go. By 2041, the OC Go Transportation Investment Plan program should deliver more than $13.1 billion worth of transportation improvements.
“We delivered on every promise,” says Johnson. “It allowed us in 2006 to ask for a new measure for 2011-2041—and we have a lot of requirements, including a taxpayer oversight committee. Every three years, there is an independent review to see if we are delivering.”
With one such review completed and positive this year, OCTA is well into its 10-year plan adopted by the board last fall. “What’s important is that we’re pretty conservative, not aspirational in our delivery plan,” says Johnson. By 2026, OCTA will invest $1 billion into local street improvements, $4.3 billion in highways, $1 billion in rail and transit and $40 million in environmental mitigation and water quality runoff improvements. “We have 42 miles of coastline, and we take it very seriously,” says Johnson.
Read the rest of the article here.