On Aug. 13, 2007, the OCTA Board of Directors approved a five-year Renewed Measure M (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.
Environmental Cleanup Project
Project X will implement street and highway related water quality improvement programs and projects that will assist Orange County cities, the county of Orange and special districts to meet federal Clean Water Act standards for urban runoff. The environmental cleanup funds may be used for water quality improvements related to both existing and new transportation infrastructure, including capital and operations improvements such as:
- Catch basin screens, filters and inserts
- Roadside bioswales and biofiltration channels
- Wetlands protection and restoration
- Continuous Deflective Separation units
- Maintenance of catch basins and bioswales
- Other street-related best management practices for capturing and treating urban runoff
This program is intended to augment, not replace existing transportation-related water quality expenditures and to emphasize high-impact capital improvements over local operations and maintenance costs. In addition, all new freeway, street and transit capital projects will include water quality mitigation as part of project scope and cost.
The environmental cleanup program is subject to the following requirements:
- Development of a comprehensive countywide capital improvement program for transportation-related water quality improvements
- A competitive grant process to award funds to the highest priority, most cost-effective projects
- A matching requirement to leverage other federal, state and local funds for water quality improvements
- A maintenance of effort requirement to ensure that funds augment, not replace existing water quality program
- Annual reporting on actual expenditures and an assessment of the water quality benefits provided
- A strict limit on administrative costs and a requirement to spend funds within three years of receipt
- Penalties for misuse of any of the environmental cleanup funds