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Orange County’s Toll Roads’ Fiscal Year 2019 Budgets Reflect Strong Financial Health

IRVINE, Calif. - June 19, 2018

The Boards of Directors of the San Joaquin Hills (SJHTCA) and Foothill/Eastern (F/ETCA) Transportation Corridor Agencies, approved budgets totaling $342.8 million – $140.7 million for SJHTCA and $202.1 million for F/ETCA – to fund operations and debt service on bonds issued to build the roads, enhance customer service and advance initiatives and capital improvement projects for the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads for the upcoming fiscal year. Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) begins July 1, 2018.

The FY19 budgets reflect continued year-over-year ridership and revenue growth.

“More people are choosing to drive our roads every day and Orange County’s transportation infrastructure has benefited greatly over the years from the value The Toll Roads provide,” said Mike Kraman CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA). “We are entering FY19 following five consecutive years of strong growth and our finances have never been better condition, as evidenced by recent bond rating upgrades, strong liquidity and growing reserve fund balances.”

In FY19, transactions and toll revenue are projected to increase by 2.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, for SJHTCA; and 3.1 and 3.5 percent, respectively, for F/ETCA.  Currently, more than 330,000 daily transactions are recorded on the 51-mile toll road system that represents 20 percent of Orange County’s highway system and is the largest toll road network in California.

“Toll financing has allowed this critical transportation infrastructure to be built in Orange County and TCA continues to bring much-needed traffic relief to Southern California drivers every day,” Kraman said. “TCA’s solid financial health and continued growth in ridership, reflect the system’s value to Orange County’s transportation network.”

The FY19 budgets provide funding for:

  • Constructing a bridge overcrossing at Oso Parkway to enhance mobility by allowing cars to safely travel to and from the new Los Patrones Parkway and the 241 Toll Road
  • Growing cash reserves to protect against economic downturns and to allow for future capital project financing
  • Planning for improved customer service and operations for our 1.2 million accountholders including the transition to 6C tolling technology along with a streamlining of customer account options
  • With TCA as the sponsoring agency, initiating the formal environmental review process, in partnership with Caltrans, for the South County Traffic Relief Project
Highlights from the June 14 Joint San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies Board Meetings is provided below.

IRVINE, Calif. - June 14, 2018

Fiscal Year 2019 Budgets Approved

The Boards of Directors of the San Joaquin Hills (SJHTCA) and Foothill/Eastern (F/ETCA) Transportation Corridor Agencies approved Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budgets totaling $342.8 million – $140.7 million for SJHTCA and $202.1 million for F/ETCA. The approved combined budgets fund operations and debt service issued to build The Toll Roads, enhance customer service and advance initiatives and capital improvement projects for the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.

The FY19 budgets are reflective of The Toll Roads’ continued year-over-year ridership and revenue growth and contributions to the Agencies’ healthy reserves. The FY19 budgets will provide funding for construction of the Oso Parkway Bridge, initiating a formal environmental review of traffic relief options for South Orange County, planning for improved customer service and operations with the transition to 6C tolling technology and streamlining customer account options for all 1.2 million accountholders.


F/ETCA Board Re-Elects Chair and Vice Chair For FY19

The F/ETCA Board of Directors re-elected Director Ed Sachs (Mission Viejo) and Christina Shea (Irvine) as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, for FY19. Both F/ETCA and SJHTCA Boards also adopted a regular meeting schedule for August 2018 through August 2019. F/ETCA and SJHTCA regular meetings will continue to be held simultaneously every month at
9:30 a.m. in the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) board room.


Third Year of Marketing Services Contract with DB&M Media Approved

The Boards of Directors approved the third year of the current marketing campaign with DB&M Media, a full-service advertising and promotion firm based in Costa Mesa. The FY19 general marketing plan will continue the current “Enjoy the Drive” campaign targeting commuters in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties and will support the launch of new sticker tags to pay tolls and the account simplification initiative through a series of short educational videos. The TCA utilize marketing services to reinforce the value of driving The Toll Roads to current accountholders, promote FasTrak® and ExpressAccount® sign ups, and reach out to visitors and tourists to build awareness about paying online with the One-Time-Toll® payment option. DB&M Media will continue to provide the Agencies with specialized strategic planning, creative and design services, advertising production, and planning and procurement of media.


Boards Adopt FY19 Capital Improvement Plan

Juliet Su, Corridor Design Manager, presented an overview of the FY19 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and highlighted capital improvement projects that have been constructed since The Toll Roads originally opened. To date, 17 capital projects have been completed to improve mobility, including:

  • Constructing on- and off-ramps to and from the north at Glenwood/Pacific Park Drive on the 73 Toll Road
  • Widening nearly six miles of the northbound 73 Toll Road by adding a fourth lane
  • Widening the north and southbound 133 Toll Road from I-5 Freeway to the 241 Toll Road
  • Widening the Windy Ridge Mainline Toll Point by adding a third lane
  • Adding a second lane to the Santa Margarita Parkway on-ramp at the 241 Toll Road to accommodate high peak-hour traffic volumes

The CIP details the scope, cost and schedule of capital projects planned on the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. The Boards of Directors adopted the FY19 CIP which includes constructing the Oso Parkway bridge, update signs throughout The Toll Roads’ system, efforts related to the 241/91 Express Connector and South Orange County Traffic Relief and two traffic studies for proposed interchanges along the 133 and 241 Toll Roads. The CIP is updated annually to reflect the status of each project and any changes to costs and schedules.


Plans and Contracts For FY19 Initiatives Approved

The F/ETCA and SJHTCA met on June 14 for the last Board meeting of FY18. Along with approving the FY19 budgets, the Boards of Directors also voted to approve the following:

  • Design/program management and specialty consulting services
  • Hispanic community outreach and Spanish language translation services
  • Network security assessment
  • Payment card industry qualified security assessor audit services
  • SCNG Sponsored content
  • State and federal legislative advocacy services
  • Strategic planning consulting services

May 2018 Traffic and Revenue

Compared to May 2017, F/ETCA transactions increased and SJHTCA slightly decreased. Transactions decreased by 0.3 percent and revenue increased by 3.3 percent for the 73 Toll Road. On the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads, transactions increased by 0.5 percent and revenue increased by 4.2 percent.

Highlights from the May 10 Joint San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies Board Meetings is provided below.

IRVINE, Calif. - May 10, 2018

Web Advanced Corporation Approved for Website Design, Development and Management Services

At their joint meeting on May 10, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) Boards of Directors approved a three-year contract with two one-year options for website design, development and management services with Web Advanced Corp. The Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) website, thetollroads.com, has more than 25,000 daily visitors who primarily use the site for account maintenance, account sign up and online One-Time-Toll payments. It also houses general Agency information including Board meeting agendas, finance and investor information, capital projects and environmental programs.  Web Advanced, located in Irvine, will provide the Agencies with planning and design services to enhance the user experience, ongoing maintenance and to ensure the website is functioning properly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Patrol Service to Begin at Saddle Club Mitigation Property and Continue at Upper Chiquita Canyon

The F/ETCA Board of Directors authorized a contract amendment with a private security company, High Level Security Solutions, to patrol the newly acquired Saddle Club property, a 33-acre site located in Trabuco Canyon near the main entrance to O’Neill Regional Park. Additionally, a one-year extension with the Orange County Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit was also approved to continue patrolling the Upper Chiquita Canyon Conservation Area. The Agency began contracting with private patrol companies to reduce trespassing in the conservation area in 2002. In 2015, TCA introduced a hybrid approach including both private patrol and the Orange County Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit, because sheriffs have authority to issue citations. Since the hybrid approach was put into place, trespassing has been reduced by 89 percent. The Upper Chiquita Canyon Conservation Area is 1,158 acres and has a conservation easement requiring the Agency to perform specific management activities to maintain and enhance the property’s habitat and wildlife uses, including restricting public access. The Saddle Club property, acquired in December 2017, includes 14 acres of oak and riparian woodland and 13 acres of coastal sage scrub. Saddle Club will be the first of TCA’s mitigation properties to include public access, but until a site use plan is developed and officially opened to the public for recreational use, patrol services are necessary.


Plein Air Artists Capture the Beauty of Upper Chiquita Canyon

On April 20, 2018, Plein Air artists from the Southern California Plein Air Painters Association were invited to the Upper Chiquita Canyon Conservation Area to paint the natural habitat of rolling hills, grasslands and coastal sage scrub of TCA’s largest mitigation site. In French, plein air means open air or outside, and it allows the artists to better represent the true colors, natural light, form of shapes and feel of a scene. At Thursday’s meeting, Lisa Telles, chief communications officer, shared a few photos of the event and artwork, as well as a short video highlighting the event. For more than 25 years, TCA has been committed to balancing construction and operation of Orange County’s Toll Roads, (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261), with the preservation of more than 2,100 acres of open space and wildlife habitat in Orange County. For more information about TCA’s environmental initiatives, visit thetollroads.com/environment.


April 2018 Traffic and Revenue Report

Compared to April 2017, transactions increased in April 2018 for F/ETCA and slightly decreased for SJHTCA. For the 73 Toll Road, transactions decreased by 0.1 percent and revenue increased by 3.7 percent. On the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads, transactions increased by 2.9 percent and revenue increased by 6.7 percent.

IRVINE, Calif. - April 27, 2018

Amy Potter, chief financial officer for the Transportation Corridor Agencies in Orange County, California, recently provided an update on the finances for the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Public Finance Transportation and Utility Investor Forum in New York, New York.

 

In her presentation, Potter explained how TCA was formed in the mid-1980s to address Orange County’s exploding population, worsening traffic congestion and shrinking traditional transportation funds. The Foothill/Eastern and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies funded construction of The Toll Roads by issuing toll revenue bonds to private investors.

As one of modern tolling’s leading agencies, TCA is bringing much-needed traffic relief to Southern California drivers:

  • TCA built and operates 51-miles of toll roads, the largest network of toll roads in California
  • More than 300,000 transactions are recorded on a typical weekday
  • TCA collects $358 million annual toll revenue – toll revenue bonds were sold as the primary funding source to finance the roads and the bonds are repaid by future tolls
  • With 1.2 million electronic toll collection accounts, TCA offers drivers multiple ways to pay tolls incurred on The Toll Roads
  • The Toll Roads make up more than 20 percent of Orange County’s highway system and are the fastest, easiest and most predictable way to get to and through Orange County’s commercial centers and airport

“TCA’s solid financial health and continued growth in transactions and revenue, reflect the toll road system’s value to Orange County’s vibrant economy and transportation network,” Potter said. “During the last three years ridership has increased by nearly 20 percent.”

 

To celebrate Earth Day, artists painted the landscape of the Transportation Corridor Agencies' (TCA) largest conservation site near the 241 Toll Road

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. - April 20, 2018

On Friday, April 20, Plein Air artists were provided exclusive access to the Transportation Corridor Agencies' (TCA) largest conservation site - Upper Chiquita Canyon Conservation Area - to paint natural habitat that is closed to public and recreational use. 

The artists from the Southern California Plein Air Painters Association (SOCALPAPA) and their easels fanned out across the conservation area to paint the broad landscape of rolling hills, grasslands and coastal sage scrub. 

Originally planned for residential development and a golf course; TCA, in partnership with environmental organizations and resource agencies, placed the nearly 1,200 acres of land into permanent open space in 1996. Closed to public and recreational use, this is the first time TCA has opened the property to local artists. 

"This rare opportunity has been a year in the making to provide SOCALPAPA access to such a pristine outdoor setting that is rarely open to the public," said Caryn Maldonado, President of SOCALPAPA. "We are passionate about plein air art and each artist created up to two paintings to show the years of effort and hard work that went into bringing the non-public land back to its pristine natural habitat." 

The conservation area plays a critical role in supporting and providing habitat for the federally listed California gnatcatcher and coastal cactus wren. The site also provides valuable connectivity for wildlife movement between O'Neill Regional Park and Chiquita Ridge to the south.

"TCA is a leading agency in environmental stewardship, restoration and preservation," said Ed Sachs, Chairman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and Mission Viejo Mayor. "Investing more than $100 million in environmental initiatives, TCA has set aside 17 locations of open spaces throughout Orange County and the tolls collected from drivers help provide funding for long-term environmental initiatives."

For more than 25 years, TCA has been committed to balancing construction and operation of Orange County's Toll Roads, (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261), with the preservation of more than 2,100 acres of open space and wildlife habitat in Orange County. For more information about TCA's environmental initiatives, visit thetollroads.com/environment.

To view photos from the event, visit www.flickr.com/TheTollRoads

IRVINE, Calif. - February 22, 2018

David Lowe, resident of Huntington Beach, recognized as one of Orange County’s finest engineers by civil engineering professional society.

The Orange County Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-OC) last week honored the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) David Lowe with the Outstanding Civil Engineer in the Public Sector Award at the chapter’s annual awards ceremony.

Lowe, a Huntington Beach resident, retired earlier this year as the Chief Engineer of TCA, the government agency overseeing the operations of California’s largest network of toll roads – State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261.

With more than 2,500 members in the Orange County Branch, ASCE-OC is the fourth largest branch within ASCE, representing an international profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates the built environment, while protecting and restoring the natural environment.

“This year’s awards recognized Orange County’s finest Civil Engineers and projects,” said Jeff Braun, ASCE-OC President. “Dave’s long tenure at TCA demonstrates his commitment and dedication to improving Orange County’s mobility. Through his career at TCA and engineering contributions to the county’s toll road system, he is forever a part of Orange County’s transportation history.”

Lowe has worked at TCA since 1997 and has nearly 40 years of transportation engineering experience. As Chief Engineer he was responsible for the engineering management and maintenance of Orange County’s 51-miles of toll roads. He led a team of engineers and consultants for TCA’s capital projects program, most recently including the 241/91 Express Connector and South Orange County Traffic Relief Program. He also ensured TCA remained at the forefront of the industry through sustainable transportation practices for the 241/91 Express Connector and his active participation in the civil engineering community.

A Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Southern California, Lowe is enjoying retirement with his family of five children and six grandchildren while also squeezing in some time to surf.

Lowe was among six engineers honored at the February 15 ceremony at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

IRVINE, Calif. - February 22, 2018

Juliet Su, resident of Aliso Viejo, recognized for representing the best  of Orange County’s civil engineering professional society.

The Orange County Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-OC) last week honored the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) Juliet Su with the President’s Award at the branch’s annual awards ceremony. 

Su, an Aliso Viejo resident, is the Design Corridor Manager for TCA, the government agency overseeing the operations of California’s largest network of toll roads – State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261. 

With more than 2,500 members in the Orange County Branch, ASCE-OC is the fourth largest branch within ASCE, representing an international profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates the built environment, while protecting and restoring the natural environment. 

“The President’s Award is given to individuals who represent the best of ASCE,” said Josue Vaglienty, ASCE-OC’s Past President responsible for selecting and awarding this year’s recipient. “Juliet is not only a great engineer, be a consummate professional who dedicates her time to ASCE as a mentor to young engineers and volunteer of various committees while balancing family and work with the utmost highest degree.” 

Su has worked at TCA since 2014 and has nearly 25 years of transportation engineering experience. As Design Corridor Manager she is responsible for the planning, design, and construction management for various projects throughout Orange County’s 51-miles of toll roads. She currently leads and manages a $17 million contract for the environmental and design phases of the proposed 241/91 Express Connector and managing the implementation of a new system-wide roadway sign program.

After accepting the award, Su shared her surprise and gratitude. “I’m thankful TCA allows me the opportunity to give back to an industry I love. My parents encouraged me to enter the field of engineering and 25 years later, I’m grateful to be part of a group who work toward growing the world around us.”  

A Civil Engineering graduate of the University of California, Irvine, Su keeps busy out of the office with her husband, also a civil engineer, and two sons – Arthur 3 years old and Tristan 1 year old.  

Su was honored at the February 15 ceremony at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. 
 

The new idea blends two of the public’s suggested solutions, demonstrating TCA’s commitment to finding a viable traffic relief solution

IRVINE, Calif. - February 20, 2018

Following input from the community and stakeholders, a new idea for consideration that results in a balanced solution to provide regional traffic relief to South Orange County was unveiled at the February 8 Joint Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) Board Meeting.

In response to public feedback and initial analysis by planners and engineers, the new idea would extend Los Patrones Parkway in Rancho Mission Viejo from Cow Camp Road to connect with Avenida La Pata prior to the Prima Deschecha Landfill.  The new idea also includes adding managed lanes in the median of Interstate 5 from State Route 73 to south of the San Diego County Line.

“Our planners and engineers are taking a deeper look at the public’s ideas with the goal of finding the best alternative for traffic relief in Orange County,” said Mike Kraman, TCA Chief Executive Officer. “This new idea will be added to the seven ideas that are planned for analysis in the Project Study Report (PSR), expected to be complete in summer 2018.”

TCA will now work to preliminarily analyze eight ideas in the areas of traffic, right-of-way impacts, and other environmental studies. Completing the PSR is the first step to initiating the formal environmental process.

The long-term strategic plan for the South County Traffic Relief Effort involves ongoing discussions with the community, stakeholders, environmental organizations and elected officials prior to beginning the formal environmental process.

A public scoping meeting and a public review period will be part of the formal environmental process, for more information visit www.TheTollRoads.com.  The formal environmental process is projected to be complete in 2025.

With nearly 1.2 million open accounts, ridership on the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads increased 19 percent during the last three years

IRVINE, Calif. - January 15, 2018

The Transportation Corridor Agencies, (TCA) reached new all-time ridership and revenue highs between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 – nearly 100 million toll transactions and more than $312 million in toll revenue – as highlighted in the recently released Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report.

TCA is the government agency that oversees operations of Orange County’s 51-miles of Toll Roads – State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261 – which represents 20 percent of Orange County’s highway network.

TCA celebrated having more than one million open ExpressAccounts® and FasTrak® accounts last year. FasTrak remains the preferred account type with 60 percent of open accounts. TCA also launched a new version of the One-Time-Toll online payment option to facilitate toll payment for drivers without an account. Drivers without FasTrak or ExpressAccounts simply need to enter their license plate for the automated system to calculate the cost of their trip on The Toll Roads.

In FY17, more than 300,000 trips were recorded on The Toll Roads every week day. The 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads, providing congestion-free alternatives to Interstate 405 (I-405), I-5 and SR-55 freeways, also had five record-setting days when ridership reached numbers never before-seen in TCA’s 25-year history.

  • Record high for a Tuesday was set June 27, 2017 with 324,853 transactions
  • Record high for a Monday was set June 19, 2017 with 306,382 transactions
  • Record high for a Saturday was set June 17, 2017 with 243,615 transactions
  • Record high for a Thursday was set Feb. 16, 2017 with 344,836 transactions
  • Record high for a Wednesday was set Feb. 15, 2017 with 332,226 transaction

“More people are using Orange County’s Toll Roads every day. The value our roads provide as an alternative to Orange County’s congested freeways is underscored by how many trips were taken and accounts opened in Fiscal Year 2017,” said Mike Kraman, Chief Executive Officer for TCA. “The growth in revenue is a sign of a healthy economy and allows us to maintain a strong financial position and continue to invest in The Toll Roads.”

Learn more about TCA’s accomplishments by viewing the FY 2017 Annual Report.


The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s 67-mile public toll road system. Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. TCA continues to meet the region’s growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.

IRVINE, Calif. - January 15, 2018

With nearly 1.2 million open accounts, ridership on the  73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads increased 19 percent during the last three years.

Irvine, Calif - January 15, 2018

The Transportation Corridor Agencies, (TCA) reached new all-time ridership and revenue highs between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 – nearly 100 million toll transactions and more than $312 million in toll revenue – as highlighted in the recently released Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report.

TCA is the government agency that oversees operations of Orange County’s 51-miles of Toll Roads – State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261 – which represents 20 percent of Orange County’s highway network.

TCA celebrated having more than one million open ExpressAccounts® and FasTrak® accounts last year. FasTrak remains the preferred account type with 60 percent of open accounts. TCA also launched a new version of the One-Time-Toll online payment option to facilitate toll payment for drivers without an account. Drivers without FasTrak or ExpressAccounts simply need to enter their license plate for the automated system to calculate the cost of their trip on The Toll Roads.

In FY17, more than 300,000 trips were recorded on The Toll Roads every week day. The 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads, providing congestion-free alternatives to Interstate 405 (I-405), I-5 and SR-55 freeways, also had five record-setting days when ridership reached numbers never before-seen in TCA’s 25-year history.

  • Record high for a Tuesday was set June 27, 2017 with 324,853 transactions
  • Record high for a Monday was set June 19, 2017 with 306,382 transactions
  • Record high for a Saturday was set June 17, 2017 with 243,615 transactions
  • Record high for a Thursday was set Feb. 16, 2017 with 344,836 transactions
  • Record high for a Wednesday was set Feb. 15, 2017 with 332,226 transaction

“More people are using Orange County’s Toll Roads every day. The value our roads provide as an alternative to Orange County’s congested freeways is underscored by how many trips were taken and accounts opened in Fiscal Year 2017,” said Mike Kraman, Chief Executive Officer for TCA. “The growth in revenue is a sign of a healthy economy and allows us to maintain a strong financial position and continue to invest in The Toll Roads.”

Learn more about TCA’s accomplishments by viewing the FY 2017 Annual Report.


The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s 67-mile public toll road system. Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. TCA continues to meet the region’s growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.

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