Look at what a half-cent buys
Through OC Go (also known as Measure M), half of each local sales tax penny is spent on transportation projects that improve life in Orange County every day. OC Go leverages funding to accelerate projects and save time and money. Check out the OC Go highlights for 2017.
During a 30-year term ending in 2041, OC Go is expected to provide $13.5 billion in improvements. A comprehensive review of all OC Go-implemented projects and programs is required every 10 years. The first review (2006-2016) was completed and determined that the program is on track. OCTA administers OC Go for the people of Orange County.
In November, the OCTA Board approved the Updated Next 10 Delivery Plan providing guidance for OC Go project and program delivery through 2026. The update addresses a recent reduction in sales tax revenue projections. A recent sales tax forecast decreased OC Go by $700 million (through 2041) to $13.5 billion. The Updated Next 10 Plan incorporates current revenue projections, bonding assumptions, project costs and schedules, and identifies adjustments needed to ensure continued delivery of the complete OC Go Plan.
OCTA rebranded Measure M as OC Go to raise awareness about Orange County’s vital local sales tax for transportation improvements. The new OC Go name and logo is consistent with other OCTA brands including OC Bus, OC Streetcar, OC Bike, OC Vanpool and OC Metrolink.
Completed one freeway project and continued construction on three freeway project segments.
The OC Go freeway program includes 27 project segments that will remedy traffic chokepoints and relieve congestion on Orange County freeways. To date, 10 freeway segments have been completed.
I-5 SOUTH COUNTY IMPROVEMENTS
Contractors are in the final stages of a project to add six miles of carpool lanes in each direction of I-5 between San Juan Creek Road and Avenida Pico. The improvements, which include reconstruction of the Avenida Pico interchange, will help relieve congestion through the cities of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano. The project has three segments; the middle segment (Avenida Vista Hermosa to Pacific Coast Highway) was completed in mid-2017. The added carpool lanes will be open to traffic when the remaining two segments (Avenida Pico to Avenida Vista Hermosa and PCH to San Juan Creek Road) are completed in spring 2018.
I-405 Improvement Project
In January, the design-build contract was awarded to OC 405 Partners, and work began on preconstruction activities. Design-build is a project delivery method that allows for design work and construction to occur simultaneously. One contractor is hired to perform both functions, which increases the speed that a project can be delivered and saves money. The project is anticipated to be complete in 2023. This project will improve 16 miles in both directions of the I‐405 through the cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Westminster. Improvements include the addition of one general purpose lane, a second HOV lane to be combined with the existing HOV lane providing a dual express lane facility, and improved local interchanges along the corridor between SR-73 to I-605. The general purpose lane portion of the project is partially funded by OC Go and a combination of local, state and federal funds. The express lanes portion are being financed and primarily paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use the 405 Express Lanes.
Approved five synchronized projects that will help drivers travel more efficiently by reducing stop-and-go traffic.
Driving through multiple cities stopping at red lights can be difficult and time consuming, in part because each city controls its own traffic signals. OC Go helps synchronize traffic lights across the county to improve the quality of your drive.
OCTA approved $2.5 million for five synchronization projects designed to reduce travel times, stops and delays, and emissions along Irvine Boulevard, Gilbert/Idaho streets, Camino Vera Cruz, Bear Street and Olympiad/Felipe roads. Additionally, OCTA completed 11 projects that synchronized 296 signals along 86.3 miles on Goldenwest Street, Los Alisos Boulevard, Antonio Parkway, Adams Avenue, Barranca Parkway, Jeronimo Road, State College Road, Trabuco Road, Alton Parkway, Newport Avenue/Boulevard and La Paz Road.
There are 32 projects planned or in progress through the Regional Traffic Signal Synchronization Program. To date, the program has resulted in:
- 63 signal projects completed
- $89.17 million in funding awarded by the Board
- Approximately 40 million in improvements along 582 miles and 2,212 signals
- Travel time savings: 13%
- Speed improvements: 15%
- Stop reduction: 31%
Improved Local Streets
Allocated nearly $85.3 million for street improvements and completed the OC Bridges grade separation projects.
Every trip begins with a local street or road, and keeping them in good shape is an important component of OC Go.
OCTA approved $32.24 million for 13 projects for the Regional Capacity Program, which funds intersection improvements and other street improvement projects to help reduce congestion. In addition, $53.1 million in OC Go Local Fair Share funds were distributed to cities and the County of Orange to preserve existing streets and roads and to provide other transportation improvements based on the priorities and infrastructure needs of local cities.
OCTA marked the completion of the final two underpasses in the OC Bridges program, which during the last five years built a total of seven bridges and underpasses to separate car and pedestrian traffic from the busy Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) freight rail line running through Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia. By 2030, the number of daily freight trains is expected to nearly double from 70 to 130. The OC Bridges Program helps preserve quality of life by keeping motorists moving while allowing trains to transport goods. OC Go funded $168 million of the $663 million OC Bridges program and leveraged the remaining cost with state and federal contributions. Projects included:
- Lakeview Avenue
- Raymond Avenue
- State College Boulevard
- Orangethorpe Avenue
- Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive
- Placentia Avenue
- Kraemer Boulevard
Completed design and engineering on the OC Streetcar, which will connect activity and employment centers in Santa Ana.
The OC Streetcar will start at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center and serve Santa Ana’s historic downtown and Civic Center on the 4.5-mile route to Garden Grove.
It will connect directly with 18 OCTA bus routes, including the seven busiest routes in the county. In addition, the OC Streetcar is expected to support economic development and create jobs. More than half of the funding for the OC Streetcar is planned to come from the federal government with some state and local funding. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2018, with service beginning two years later. By 2035, the OC Streetcar is estimated to carry more than 7,000 riders each day.
There were nearly 4.5 million car-free boardings on the three Metrolink train lines serving Orange County.
Each day, commuters and other travelers use convenient Metrolink trains to get to work or other destinations within Orange County or adjoining counties including Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Orange County has 11 Metrolink stations and is served by three lines – Orange County Line (OC Line), Inland Empire Orange County Line (IEOC Line) and 91 Line.
Additionally, funding has been provided for rail line and station improvement projects to accommodate increased service. Currently the Fullerton Transportation Center Improvements and the Orange Transportation Center Parking Structure are under construction.
Mobility For All
OC Go provided approximately $10.1 million in discounted fares for 14.3 million transit trips for seniors and persons with disabilities.
Three programs work together to provide efficient, cost-effective transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The Senior Mobility Program fills the gap between local fixed-route buses and ACCESS service by providing transportation services to seniors in 31 cities in Orange County. OCTA and the participating cities contribute to the program. Another program supplements existing countywide senior non-emergency medical transportation services. The third program reduces fares for bus and ACCESS paratransit rides for seniors and persons with disabilities.
Protected Open Space
Funded a 12th restoration project and completed five stewardship plans for open space preserves.
In exchange for expedited freeway projects, OCTA preserves and restores natural habitats.
A total of 1,300 acres has been permanently protected to enhance wildlife connectivity, safeguard sensitive species and preserve substantial parcels of valuable habitat. Preserves are located in Brea, Laguna Beach, Silverado Canyon and Trabuco Canyon. In addition, OC Go has funded 12 restoration projects that help remove invasive plants and restore approximately 350 acres of open space lands to its native habitat.
- OC Go funded its 12th restoration project to remove multiple previously constructed dams. These actions improve existing aquatic habitat to help bring back native species.
- The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife finalized environmental permits that will enable OCTA to streamline the biological resources permitting process for OC Go freeway projects. The agencies also signed an agreement which permanently protects natural habitat and wildlife on OCTA's Preserves.
- The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a programmatic permit to OCTA and Caltrans. This is the first ever Corps-approved advanced mitigation permit for multiple mitigation sites and projects spanning numerous watersheds.
- OCTA completed five of seven Preserve Resource Management Plans, which outline the stewardship and operations of each preserve.
Sixteen local agencies received a total of $3.1 million to improve water quality.
The Environmental Cleanup Program uses OC Go funds to clean transportation-related pollutants from Orange County’s waterways.
A total of $3.1 million was allocated to 16 local agencies to improve water quality. Since 2011, approximately $48 million has been awarded to more than 170 projects from 33 cities and the county. OCTA is expected to award approximately $300 million for water-quality projects during the 30-year life of OC Go.