During a recent workshop, the OCTA Board of Directors discussed the agency’s proposed $1.26 billion balanced budget for fiscal year 2021-22.
While the budget assumes continued economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some uncertainty remains. Therefore, the proposed budget is 18.5% less than the current budget.
Overall, 47% percent of the budget is allocated toward funding transit services, including OC Bus and Metrolink, 28% toward improving freeways, 12% toward improving streets throughout the county, and the remainder funding other programs, including both the 91 Express Lanes and the 405 Express Lanes.
OC Go sales tax revenues are anticipated to begin recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, allowing OCTA to continue improving freeways and streets throughout Orange County, as well as funding transit programs. OC Go is also known as Measure M, Orange County’s half cent transportation sales tax.
With the help of federal supplemental funding due to COVID-19, OC Bus service will have the flexibility to increase by more than 20% from the current service levels based on demand and public health considerations. In addition, paratransit service trips are expected to increase as ridership returns following the pandemic.
Supplemental federal funding will also allow Metrolink service levels to remain the same, with 41 weekday and 16 weekend trips within Orange County.
Traffic volumes on the 91 Express Lanes are also anticipated to increase by more than 28% when compared to the current budget, due to the recovery from COVID-19 traffic declines.
The proposed budget will return to the Board on June 14 for a public hearing and for consideration.