Member Profile

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)

Agency Type: County Transportation Commission
Summary Profile:

OCTA’s mission is to develop and deliver transportation solutions to enhance quality of life and keep Orange County moving.  Since its formation in 1991, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has planned and delivered transportation improvements throughout the 34 cities and unincorporated areas of Orange County.

 OCTA keeps people moving in the state’s third largest county by:

  • Providing countywide bus and paratransit service
  • Funding and supervising Metrolink rail service in Orange County.  Currently there are three Metrolink lines operating in Orange County with 11 stations, providing Orange County commuters with a dependable and high-quality rail transportation alternative
  • Managing the 351-mile Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor (LOSSAN)
  • Owning and operating the four-lane, 10-mile 91 Express Lanes toll facility located in the median of the Riverside Freeway  (SR-91) between the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR-55) and the Riverside County line
  • Planning, funding and delivering freeway and streets and roads improvements
  • Providing commuting options and motorist services

OCTA also administers Measure M, a ½ sales tax for transportation improvements renewed by Orange County voters in 2006.  Measure M provides funding for freeway improvements, regional and local streets and roads projects and transit improvements.

Number of Members: 35: the county and 34 incorporated cities
Population Represented: 3,150,000
Primary Funding Sources: Local transportation sales tax, state and federal transportation funding
Staff: 474 administration, 865 union = 1339 total
Program Highlights:
  • OC Streetcar--The OC Streetcar is a "first mile/last mile" solution to providing residents with a safe and cost-effective transit alternative.  The OC Streetcar, set to begin operations in 2020,  will link the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to a new multimodal hubs, connecting directly to 18 OCTA bus routes along the way.  The OC Streetcar will provide direct services to downtown Santa Ana and Civic Center, where riders will be connected to government offices, courthouses, restaurants, shops, artists' villages, and several colleges.  

  • Active transportation--OCTA has a number of active transportation programs and projects designed to promote mobility options by increasing safety, provide regional linkages to key destinations, close bikeway corridor gaps and improve air quality across Orange County.  In total, OCTA has funded 40 projects with a value of approximately $29.5 million to help Orange County cities improve their bikeways and walkways through its Bicycle Corridor Improvement Program.  OCTA is also working with the county and cities to complete the OC Loop, a vision for 66 miles of seamless connections and an opportunity for people to bike, walk and connect to some of California’s most scenic beaches and inland reaches.  About 70 percent of the OC Loop is already in place and is used by thousands of people.

  • I-405 Improvement Project--OCTA, in cooperation with Caltrans, is widening the San Diego (I-405) Freeway between Costa Mesa and the Orange County / Los Angeles County border.  The $1.9 billion project, set to break ground in late 2017, includes adding one regular lane in each direction and building the tolled 405 Express Lanes in the center of the freeway.  Set to open in 2023, the improvements will reduce travel times for the 370,000 daily drivers that travel through the corridor.  In addition to constructing the new lanes, the project will rebuild 18 bridges and improve freeway access and traffic on local streets.

  • OC Bridges--OCTA is working to improve traffic flow and safety through the $630 million O.C. Bridges program, which is separating seven crossings from railroad tracks in the cities of Placentia, Anaheim and Fullerton.  Each overpass and underpass being constructed improves travel times, cuts air pollution by eliminating the need for cars to idle at railroad gates and enhances safety in the community.  Four of the seven O.C. Bridges projects have already opened and the final three projects are well underway and expected to be open by 2018.  

  • Environmental programs – OCTA’s freeway environmental mitigation program allocates funds from Measure M to acquire land and fund habitat restoration projects in exchange for streamlined freeway improvement project approvals.  The program is a comprehensive effort to offset the environmental impacts of the 13 freeway construction projects in Measure M by purchasing large swaths of valuable habitat and permanently preserving them as open space.  To date, OCTA has acquired more than 1,300 acres of open land.  Approximately $10 million in funding has also been made available for 11 habitat restoration projects, totaling nearly 400 acres.  Overall, approximately $280 million is expected to be made available for environmental conservation projects over a 30-year period.  Another component of OCTA’s environmental program provides funding to cities for projects that help protect water quality in Orange County from transportation-generated pollution.  To date, approximately $14 million has been awarded to 122 projects to mitigate visible pollutants, such as litter and debris, from roads before they reach waterways.  In addition, approximately $28 million has been awarded to 22 projects to fund regional, capital-intensive projects.
Board Makeup:

Section 130052 of the Public Utilities Code defines the 18 member governance structure of the board.  Members include: (1) five members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors; (2) five city member with one from each of the five supervisor districts selected by the City Selection Committee members within each district on a population-weighted voting basis; (3) five city members, with one from each of the five supervisor districts, elected on a “one city, one vote” basis by the City Selection Committee members within each district; and (4) two public members appointed by a majority vote of the other 15 voting members of the Authority.  In addition, the Director of Transportation, District 12, who shall be appointed by the Governor as a nonvoting member. 

A city that is within more than one supervisorial district shall be considered part of the district where the highest percentage of the city’s population resides.  Under this circumstance, the entire city’s population shall be used for population-weighted voting purposes.  Each city member shall be a mayor or a city council member serving within the county.  Terms of office of each city member shall be determined by the City Selection Committee.  A city member’s term shall cease if he or she no longer serves as a member of a city council or as the mayor of a city. 

Each public member shall be a resident of Orange County who is not then serving, and has not within the last four years served, as an elected official of a city within the county, as an elected official of any agency or special district within Orange County, or as an elected official of the county.  Each public member shall serve for a term of four years.

Executive Director: Darrell Johnson
CALCOG Board Representative: Lori Donchak, Council Member, City of San Clemente
Web Link: http://www.octa.net/default.aspx