Amante Selected As New OCTA Board Chairman

Chairman Jerry Amante

OCTA Vice Chairman Jerry Amante was unanimously selected as the new chairman of the OCTA Board of Directors on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010.

Amante replaces outgoing Chairman Peter Buffa, who continues to serve on the board as one of two public members. Stepping into Amante’s role as vice chairman is Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates, who represents the Fifth Supervisorial District.

“I’m honored that my colleagues have selected me to lead this agency and I look forward to a challenging and successful year in keeping our residents moving,” Amante said. “Achieving our goals will require overcoming unprecedented economic obstacles as we seek innovative ways to ensuring Orange County remains an ideal place to live, work and visit.”

Amante joined the OCTA board in December 2006 and has contributed significantly as a member of several key OCTA committees: Finance and Administration Committee, Highways Committee, Transportation 2020 Committee, Executive Committee and State Route 91 Advisory Committee.

Vice Chair Pat Bates

Amante, an attorney and licensed real estate broker, and his wife Nancy have lived in Tustin for 22 years. They have two adult children.

Amante also serves as the mayor of Tustin and is the president of the Orange County League of Cities.

Replacing Amante as vice chair is Pat Bates, who joined the board in 2007. In addition to serving on the OCTA Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors, Bates sits on the board of the both the Foothill/Eastern and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Huntington Beach Councilman Don Hansen was seated on the OCTA board, replacing outgoing member Cathy Green, mayor of Huntington Beach.

Transit Forum Tackles State Budget Crisis

Leaders from government, business, labor unions and transit advocates will join together in a daylong summit as they seek solutions to an unprecedented statewide financial crisis facing public transportation.

Open to the public, the Southern California Transit Forum is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 in the Paul and Daranne Folino Theater at Chapman University in Orange.

The Southern California Transit Forum will be held Feb. 5 at Chapman University to discuss the current transportation funding crisis. For more transportation updates, visit OCTA’s YouTube channel.

With millions of transit riders throughout the state already suffering from higher fares and reduced service, the recently released Governor's budget proposal for next year would take an additional $1 billion from public transportation.

“Public transit in our state is on life support because of Sacramento’s continuous raids on our coffers, and it’s hard to imagine the damage that would be inflicted on the struggling economy and the people of California by further cuts,” said OCTA Chairman and Mayor of Tustin Jerry Amante. “If you are concerned as I am about the future of transportation, please lend your voice to the Southern California Transit Forum.”

Topics that will be covered include legislative and legal options for preserving transit funding, proposed ballot initiatives, federal funding opportunities, economic impacts and stakeholder perspectives and information on the California high-speed rail.

The free event is hosted by the office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, OCTA, Teamsters Local 952, Chapman University’s Center for Global Trade and Development, Orange County Business Council, Mobility 21 and League of California Cities.

For more information, click here.

To register for the event, contact Peggy Wandelear at (714) 560-5939 or pwandelear@octa.net by Feb. 1.

CEO Attends CTA Executive Committee Retreat in San Diego

CEO Will Kempton attended an Executive Committee retreat for the California Transit Association in San Diego on Tuesday.

The retreat’s agenda focused on the association’s 2010 work plan and legislative program, including a proposed initiative for the November 2010 that would protect transportation funding. The committee also discussed the status of negotiations with the administration legislative leadership in Sacramento regarding a litigation settlement and possibilities for the restoration of transit funding.

These two photos display a before and after shot of crossovers and switches, just north of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo train station, allowing flexibility for trains to move on or off the main line when Metrolink service expansion is implemented. A crossover allows a train to move from one track to another. A switch is the mechanism that moves the track to direct a train onto a different path.

Metrolink Service Expansion Program

Despite the recently announced service reductions, Metrolink and OCTA are continuing to push forward on the service expansion program later this year.

The increased service will operate between the Fullerton and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo train stations.

To increase trips along this rail corridor and provide the high quality, reliable service commuters expect from Orange County, a number of track and signal improvements are underway.

Construction started at the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo and Fullerton stations in fall 2009 and has included expanding passenger platforms and building additional train turnback facilities to allow the trains to turn around more efficiently.

Metrolink Service Impacted Due to Construction

OCTA and Metrolink have begun work on a new countywide effort to expand rail service and to enhance rail safety in Orange County.

Riders should be advised that there will be adjustments to Metrolink service on Sunday, Jan. 24, due to track construction for the expansion of train service in Orange County. The work will prohibit trains from operating south of the Irvine Metrolink Station.

All Inland Empire-Orange County Line Sunday service (trains 857, 858, 859 and 860) will be canceled that day.

Inland Empire-Orange County Line:
Orange County Line Sunday service will not operate south of Irvine Station.

Orange County Line:
Trains 653, 655, 657 and 659 will originate at Irvine.
Trains 654, 656, 658 and 660 will terminate at Irvine.
No alternate transportation will be provided to or from the stations south of Irvine.

Staff Outreach to Inform Public about March Service Change

A member of OCTA’s marketing team approaches college students to share information about the upcoming bus service reductions beginning in March.

OCTA’s marketing outreach team members will be attending college and university campuses around the county to communicate the upcoming changes to OCTA’s fixed-route bus service in March.

OCTA will host an information booth as well as canvas bus stops that serve each campus and provide students with details about how bus routes will be changing and the alternatives that are available.

  • Monday, Jan. 18 – Irvine Valley College, 5500 Irvine Center Drive, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19 – Cypress College, 9200 Valley View St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20 – UC Irvine, 200 Public Services Building, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 21 – Fullerton College, 321 E. Chapman Ave., 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact Judy Leon at (714) 560-5358 or jleon@octa.net.

CEO Visits Brea, Fullerton and Laguna Woods

CEO Will Kempton will continue to introduce himself to city councils throughout Orange County this week. He will visit the following cities:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 19 – Brea City Council, 1 Civic Center Circle, 5:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19 – Fullerton City Council, 303 W. Commonwealth, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20 – Laguna Woods City Council, 24264 El Toro Road, 2 p.m.

Contact Andrea West at (714) 560-5611 or awest@octa.net

High-speed trains similar to those at the St. Pancras International station in the United Kingdom will be zipping through the state once plans are approved and construction is complete for the California High-Speed Rail project. Picture courtesy of Jon Curnow.

High-Speed Rail Gains Speed
In Orange County Cities

Wednesday, Jan. 20 – The first in a series of community meetings for the high-speed rail project is slated for the Anaheim Council Chambers, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd., from 5 to 7 p.m.

The open house-style meeting will give community members a chance to comment on the various project alternatives and have their questions and concerns addressed.

A formal presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Andrea West at (714) 560-5611 or awest@octa.net

Jan. 13 – The Orange County Register published an article about Irvine city leaders seeking an extension on the amount of time they have to spend state and federal funds on the Jeffrey Road construction project.

Jan. 13 – The Orange County Register wrote a story about new traffic signals included in the Orange County Master Plan of Arterial Highways.

In order to avoid a fare increase, the Metrolink board of directors reduced train service in Orange County that will most likely begin in February.

Jan. 13 – The Los Angeles Times included an article about federal railroad officials unveiling regulations for equipping the nation’s freight and passenger trains with automated braking systems required by Congress after the deadly 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth.

Jan. 13 – The Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times both published stories about OCTA Board Member and Orange County County Supervisor Chris Norby, winning the election to fill the state Assembly seat vacated by Mike Duvall.

Jan. 12 – The Orange County Register, Better Roads and OC Metro all ran articles about OCTA Board of Directors unanimously voting OCTA Vice Chairman Jerry Amante as the new chairman of OCTA’s Board of Directors.

The OCTA Board of Directors voted in November 2009 to eliminate 150,000 bus service hours beginning in March.

Jan. 12 – The Orange County Register wrote an article about OCTA’s service reductions to date, efforts to minimize impacts to riders and the possibility of having to implement additional cuts if funding isn’t restored.

Jan. 12 – The Orange County Register published a story about a community forum taking place in Anaheim to discuss the impacts of the high-speed rail project.

Jan. 12 – The Orange County Register included an article about Metrolink service cuts and its impact on San Clemente.

Jan. 11 – The Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times both ran articles about the Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s decision to implement Metrolink service reductions.

For the latest media news, follow Joel Zlotnik, media relations manager, on Twitter.

Approved Travel Requests

Jan. 10 to Jan. 12 – Rick Bacigalupo, Mobility 21, Washington, D.C.

Jan. 12 & Jan 13 – Kurt Brotcke and Adriann Cardoso, California Transportation Commission and Regional Transportation Planning meeting, Sacramento

Jan. 13 – Wendy Villa, California Transportation Commission meeting, Sacramento

Keep informed on the OCTA Board of Directors' latest decisions regarding transportation projects in Orange County through the Board Actions.
For the latest in transportation issues and programs in Southern California,
follow Ted Nguyen, Public Communications Department, on Twitter.
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