FTA Officials Tour OCTA Transit Projects

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FTA Officials Tour OCTA Transit Projects

ORANGE – Two top Federal Transit Administration officials recently met with executives from the Orange County Transportation Authority to get an overview of the latest transportation services and projects underway to keep Orange County moving.

OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson and the agency’s staff hosted FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers and Vincent Valdes, FTA’s Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation. Flowers and Valdes were in Orange County on June 23 to participate in meetings of the Transportation Research Board’s governing body which oversees transportation cooperative research nationally.

“OCTA is investing heavily in transit projects in the coming years and it was an honor to share our efforts with Acting Administrator Flowers and Mr. Valdes,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Federal Transit Administration as we continue delivering transportation solutions that keep Orange County residents moving while improving our environment.” 

Using one of OCTA’s newly purchased CNG buses, which was partially funded with federal formula assistance from FTA, the group went to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to see the beginning of the of the line of OCTA’s new Bravo! Route 560. This limited-stop service started operating earlier this month to provide faster, more frequent and environmentally cleaner service on a 17-mile route between Santa Ana and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach.

This new service was made possible through the provision of FTA start-up funding for the first five years of operation from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. The launch was funded with a $2.3 million grant to OCTA from the Transit and Intercity Rail Program, part of the California’s cap and trade funding program. The program was created to fund capital improvements that cut greenhouse gases by reducing the number of miles that people drive. Buses on the route run on cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.

A brief tour of SARTC was also provided, explaining the significance of Commuter and Intercity passenger rail operations to mobility in Orange County. Beginning in 2013, OCTA was chosen by its corridor transportation agency peers to be the managing agency of the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo California. Surfliner service provides 22 round trips daily on the corridor, where ridership continues to grow, maintaining its status as the nation’s second busiest passenger rail corridor.

From SARTC, Flowers and Valdez toured the alignment of OCTA’s most recent transit project, the OC Streetcar. When completed, the 4-mile modern streetcar route will provide a rail transit option in Orange County, linking SARTC, through downtown Santa Ana and the county government center to the OCTA’s busiest bus corridor on Harbor Boulevard and the city of Garden Grove.

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