The Orange County Transportation Authority approved a budget of approximately $1.3 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – a balanced budget that makes conservative assumptions due to the ongoing financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping important transportation improvements moving forward.
The OCTA board on Monday OK’d the balanced budget – down more than $282 million or 18% compared to last year’s amended OCTA budget – for the 2021-22 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Major initiatives for the budget include advancing capital improvement projects on freeways, including I-405, I-5 in South County, SR-55, SR-57 and SR-91. It will also improve local streets and continue serving Orange County’s transit needs, while keeping health and safety as the top priority.
“Considering the many challenges of the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m so proud of the work OCTA has done to deliver this balanced budget,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “We have maintained our commitment as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars to invest in a balanced and sustainable transportation system for all of Orange County.”
The FY 2021-22 budget encompasses all services, projects and programs that are administered by OCTA. The budget reflects a significant investment in capital projects.
Measure M, also known as OC Go, will continue to fund improvements to freeways and streets throughout Orange County, along with multiple transit programs. Included in the budget is $398 million to help fund freeway improvements and nearly $64 million for transit, including $35 million for the ongoing construction of OC Streetcar, the county’s first modern electric streetcar in Santa Ana and Garden Grove.
Additionally, approximately $141 million will go toward improving streets and roads, including more than $44 million to provide more traffic capacity and $43 million for traffic-signal synchronization.
OC Bus service is budgeted for up to 1.45 million service hours, which is an increase of approximately 250,000 service hours compared to last year. That level would bring service to about 90 percent of what it was before the pandemic. Overall, 47% percent of the budget goes to fund transit, including bus, rail and Measure M transit programs.
Actual OC Bus service levels will be added back as demand increases, always guided by what’s best for the health and safety of the public and employees.
The 2021-22 budget is a result of OCTA’s mission to deliver innovative, long-term sustainable transportation solutions for the residents of Orange County.