Orange County Branch Newsletter
2013 Presentation by the Transportation Corridor Agencies
By Josue Vaglienty, P.E.
For the first ASCE-Orange County Branch Meeting held this Spring, representatives from the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) were invited to give a presentation on April 18th at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. Mr. David Lowe P.E., Director of Design and Construction and Ms. Kelsie Anderson, P.E., Corridor Manager of Design were at the venue early to meet and greet the attendees prior to the lunch presentation.
Mr. Lowe then went on to describe the current toll road system within Orange County. With 51 miles of toll roads that are available to the public, these roads account for 20% of the freeway network county-wide. Over $200M in revenue is generated annually with approximately 250,000 weekday transactions. Mr. Lowe added that non-toll road users benefit from not having to encounter the same traffic on adjacent freeways or streets. In addition, approximately 2,100 acres of open-space have been conserved and/or restored.
Courtesy of the TCA
Ms. Anderson also provided an overview of near-term and long-term projects and contracting opportunities for the TCA which include:
• SR241 Tesoro Extension – 5 Mile Extension to Proposed Cow Camp Road
• SR241 Extension to I-5 – 11 Mile Extension from Cow Camp Road to I-5
• SR91 Direct Connector – Toll Connection between SR241 and SR91 Fastrack Lanes
• SR241 Weir Canyon Road Interchange
• SR241 Jeffrey Road Interchange
• SR73 Glenwood/Pacific Park Driveway Interchange
• SR133 Trabuco Road Interchange
• Other Widening Projects
Mr. David Lowe, P.E., M. ASCE
In addition to the near-term projects mentioned, Ms. Anderson informed the attendees of the TCA’s plans for All-Electronic Tolling that would effectively eliminate cash as a payment option. License plate imaging technology will be utilized for pre-paid and post-paid transaction, in addition to Fastrak transponders that are already being used.
Ms. Kelsie Anderson, P.E., M. ASCE
Mr. Lowe also addressed some common myths and misconceptions about the TCA regarding authority, funding, and purpose of the toll roads. As the name implies, Transportation Corridor Agencies, there are actually two Joint Powers Authorities that administer the toll roads – one for the SR241/SR261/SR133 Foothill/Eastern Toll Road and the other for the SR73 San Joaquin Hills Toll Road. The TCA are also public agencies that include publicly elected representatives from the County of Orange as well as various cities within the County.
With respect to funding, Mr. Lowe explained how TCA follows a bondholder financing model for construction of roads. The funding for operations and maintenance of the toll roads comes from Caltrans, which owns the toll roads in Orange County, with the exception of the SR91 Fastrack Lanes which are owned by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).
Mr. Lowe also elaborated the purpose of the toll roads as it relates to claims that the toll roads are “roads to nowhere”. In the case of the SR-241 toll Tesoro road extension, Mr. Lowe explained how the road will connect to a master planned community being developed by the Rancho Mission Viejo that is anticipated to have 14,000 housing units. The TCA is focused on being able to provide access to and from this community and the rest of Orange County. Both representatives from TCA encouraged the attendees to find more information on the SR-241 Tesoro Extension by visiting www.relievetraffic.org.