Octa's transportation blog

OCTA Works Through Pandemic Challenges for O.C.’s Transportation Future

OCTA continues to keep its promise to deliver a balanced and sustainable transportation network for Orange County, pushing through ongoing challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A mid-year report on the status of OCTA’s Initiatives and Action Plan shows that 30 of 32 milestones planned for completion by mid-year have been completed, and another 64 milestones are scheduled for completion during the second half of the calendar year – some of which have been completed early.

“I’m proud of the resiliency OCTA has shown through the challenges of the pandemic to continue delivering on its promises to Orange County taxpayers,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “Measuring that work through these milestones demonstrates the ongoing high-quality work by staff and directors to keep Orange County moving toward a better transportation future.”

The milestones achieved include advancing projects promised to voters through OC Go, the Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, also known as Measure M. Among them are important freeway improvements on the I-405 and I-5, continuing to build the OC Streetcar, funding street improvements and enhancing the OC Bus system.

Each January, the OCTA board and CEO work together to prioritize goals for the year and develop a measurable action plan to ensure progress toward those goals.

“It’s important that we set and assess these milestones to ensure that we remain on track and accountable for enhancing and improving our county’s transportation system,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “Thanks to the diligent work of our employees and contractors, all under the guidance of our Board of Directors, we continue to keep safety as the priority while making strong progress.”

This year’s highlights so far for each initiative include:

Financial Stewardship, Sustainability, and Resilience

  • Provided a Capital Programming Update, including information and recommended actions for the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funding for transit projects. The board approved OCTA’s funding recommendations, ensuring the maximization of federal funds for OCTA projects.
  • Selected a firm to replace the current Enterprise Asset Management system with modern software to meet current and future needs.
  • Adopted the FY 2020-21 Comprehensive Business Plan, reflecting the effects of the pandemic and ensuring the financial feasibility of OCTA’s programs and services for the next 20 years.
  • Approved a $1.3 billion balance FY 2021-22 budget for the current and future transportation needs of Orange County.

Reliable, Accessible, and Balanced Transportation Choices

  • Approved the updated Next 10 Plan, ensuring OCTA fulfills Measure M commitments, maintains fiscal sustainability, and strives to deliver transportation improvement project benefits early. The updated plan includes additional analysis and strategic planning reflecting lower sales tax revenue forecasts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Launched a diversity, equity, and inclusion webpage to strengthen its commitment to providing equitable public transportation and engaging with diverse and disadvantaged communities.
  • Began construction on the Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station Improvements.
  • Developed options to restructure the OC Bus fixed-route bus system to better serve customer needs.
  • Conducted first of two Future of Transit Workshop was held to help guide decision making for shaping the future of transit.

Organizational Excellence and Collaboration

  • Expanded its College Pass Program to Cypress College, enabling enrolled students to travel on any OC Bus free of charge.
  • Added successful terms of its Early Career Academy and Leadership Development Academy.
  • Advancing the environmental phase of the I-5 Improvement Project in collaboration with Caltrans. The project will extend high-occupancy vehicle lanes between Avenida Pico and the border with San Diego County.

The OCTA board will review additional milestones in the fall.