On March 31, 2011, Orange County's first Measure M sunsetted. As we reflect on how this 20-year, half-cent sales tax investment has transformed transportation in Orange County, we'd like to especially acknowledge the voters. Without their vision and support in passing Measure M, Orange County would not have the world-class transportation system it has today.
Prior to the passage of Measure M, Orange County was considered a suburban bedroom community. Between 1966 and 1989, only two new freeways had been added.
During the past 20 years, Measure M has helped transform Orange County into a vibrant economic community. Measure M alone was responsible for more than $4 billion in transportation improvements. This funding allowed Orange County to access an additional $1.2 billion in state, federal and other funds, and more than 30 major freeway projects were delivered.
Most of the Measure M freeway projects were completed in the first 10 years of the program. This accelerated timetable resulted in efficiencies, allowing another project to be added, the widening of the Garden Grove Freeway (State Route 22). In total, Measure M delivered 192 lane miles of freeway capacity.
During the last two decades, 170 of Orange County's busiest intersections were improved with additional turn lanes, improved signal operations and other safety enhancements. This resulted in a 10 percent decrease in intersection congestion.
Measure M also brought Metrolink rail service to Orange County in 1994. Today, Metrolink provides service on three Orange County lines, covering 68 route miles with 11 stations and accounts for 4 million annual passenger trips.
Although M1 revenue is no longer being collected, a handful of projects that were started towards the end of M1 are still a work in progress. All M1 projects are expected to be complete by 2015.
Measure M Pictorial
The pictorial below highlights the progress we've made during the past 20 years.