On August 13, 2007, the OCTA Board of Directors approved a five-year Measure M2 Early Action Plan, covering the years 2007 to 2012, to advance the implementation of several key Measure M2 projects. The action plan calls for the Environmental Freeway Mitigation Program to be launched within that time period. According to the M2 ordinance, a 12-member Environmental Oversight Committee must be in place before the programs can be developed and funds can be allocated.
Following is the Environmental Freeway Mitigation Program outline from the Early Action Plan.
Subject to a Master Agreement negotiated between OCTA and federal and state resource agencies, provide for high-value environmental benefits such as habitat protection and resource preservation, in exchange for streamlined project approvals for the freeway program as a whole.
Measure M2 Ordinance #3 calls for development of the Master Agreement "as soon as practicable" following approval by the voters. Negotiations can commence upon Board of Directors authorization of an Early Action Plan.
The project has the potential to minimize or reduce regulatory delays in the implementation of freeway projects and to result in greater environmental benefits than could be achieved through traditional project-by-project mitigation.
The Board must appoint a Mitigation and Resource Protection Program Oversight Committee. An application and selection process will be needed. Freeway impacts and mitigation opportunities must be inventoried and assessed, in some cases prior to completion of environmental documents. Resource agencies will need to make commitments in advance of permit issuance.