Featured graphic for the Orange County Transportation Authority

OCTA delivering on promises to taxpayers

The Orange County Transportation Authority is delivering transportation improvements in accordance with its promises to voters who overwhelming renewed a half-cent sales tax for improvements in 2006.

That’s according to the findings of an independent review presented to the OCTA board this week, that assessed the performance of how these Measure M funds, known as OC Go, are being used.

The report indicates that the funds are being spent efficiently and transparently to improve Orange County transportation by relieving freeway congestion, fixing potholes, synchronizing traffic signals, enhancing transit and helping the environment by reducing air and water pollution.

“Voters placed their confidence in OCTA by approving this sales tax measure in 1990 and again in 2006, giving OCTA a clear directive to invest their hard-earned dollars in transportation” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw, also a La Habra Councilman. “This report shows that OCTA continues planning, funding and building projects in a responsible and efficient manner for the benefit of everyone in Orange County.”

The report, presented by independent consultant Sjoberg Evenshenk Consulting, Inc. on Monday, March 11, looked at a three-year period between July 2015 and June 2018. A triennial report is promised as a safeguard to voters under the terms of the measure to assesses OCTA’s administration of projects and programs.

“One critical measure of a public agency is how well it serves its residents and I’m incredibly proud that an independent review has found OCTA is delivering tangible results for Orange County’s transportation system,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson.

Among the findings, OCTA is:

  • On track with meeting the primary goals of the measure and fulfilling promises
  • Making significant progress in all areas of the measure, including improvements to freeways, streets and roads, and public transit
  • Operating under sound fiscal practices
  • Highly focused on public accountability with great transparency
  • Aligning well with peers reviewed

The report also shows OCTA’s many accomplishments to date with the measure, including:

  • 43.6 new freeway lane miles; five reconstructed interchanges; seven railroad grade crossings; and eight Metrolink grade crossings or station improvements completed
  • 96 million bus boardings provided to seniors and people with disabilities
  • $342 million toward improving local transportation infrastructure
  • 6.2 million cubic feet of trash collected before reaching Orange County waterways, and 1,300 acres of land that was eligible for development instead preserved as open space.

Orange County’s Measure M was initially approved in 1990 and renewed in 2006, providing a reliable revenue stream for transportation improvements through 2041.

The original measure made possible more than $4 billion worth of transportation improvements to help Orange County residents, workers and visitors travel more efficiently throughout all parts of the county.

The renewed measure is expected to generate approximately $13.1 billion for improvements. Freeways will receive 43 percent of the funding, streets 32 percent, and transit 25 percent. The freeway program includes funding for an environmental program that preserves and restores natural habitat and improves water quality.

The findings of the independent review will be forwarded to the Taxpayer Oversight Committee, an 11-member public committee that monitors OCTA’s use of the funding. The committee holds an annual public hearing and has determined for 27 consecutive years that Measure M is being delivered as promised.

To review the full report, visit http://www.octa.net/pdf/OCGo2019Report.pdf

This article was released by the Orange County Transportation Authority.