South Orange County Traffic Relief Effort
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Environment

Carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks on our roadways are the number one contributor to air pollution in Orange County. The good news is, driving The Toll Roads helps reduce these dangerous CO2 emissions. That’s because a vehicle in slow-moving or non-moving traffic pours out far more pollutants than a swiftly moving vehicle. Improved traffic speeds create emissions reductions, which is why the main goal of the South Orange County Traffic Relief Effort is to reduce north-south traffic congestion throughout South Orange County. This effort will not only reduce traffic congestion, but will also decrease harmful NOx and CO2 emissions, thereby improving air quality throughout the region.

A recent study by Greener Journeys concluded that there is a direct correlation between rising congestion and the increase in harmful NOx emissions, stating that “traffic congestion drastically worsens air quality. In nose-to-tail traffic, tailpipe emissions are four times greater than they are in free flow traffic.” The study also recognized “the importance of speeding up traffic flows to reduce NOx emissions.”

In November 2016, TCA reached a historic settlement of five lawsuits brought forth by the Save San Onofre Coalition*, the California Parks and Recreation Commission, the Native American Heritage Commission and the California Attorney General; thereby ending a 15-year gridlocked dispute regarding TCA’s 2006 and 2013 approvals of the Foothill-South and Tesoro Extension projects.

The settlement agreement eliminates the possibility of TCA constructing a road project through the avoidance area and ensures permanent protection of San Onofre State Beach, the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy and other critical open spaces, wildlife habitats and cultural resources in the San Mateo Creek and adjacent watersheds. The settlement also created a framework for TCA to work in cooperation with environmental groups and the state to formally consider alternative routes. With these designations in place, the Save San Onofre Coalition and the California Park and Recreation Commission will not oppose any route that adheres to the guidelines set forth in the agreement. TCA has also committed $28 million towards a conservation fund that will help preserve and restore the San Mateo Creek and adjacent watersheds, while at the same time being available for future projects.

In December 2016, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board of Directors officially rescinded its 2006 approval of the so-called “Green Alignment” that would have run through San Onofre State Beach and its 2013 approval of the Tesoro Extension project.

* The Save San Onofre Coalition is comprised of the following 12 California and national environmental organizations: Audubon California, California Coastal Protection Network, California State Parks Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Habitats League, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and WiLDCOAST/COASTALVAjE.

Formal Project Development Process

Project Initiation

Ideas that have been submitted by the public and local elected officials will be reviewed for feasibility, cost, and ability to improve regional north-south mobility, as well as reduce traffic congestion on I-5 and arterials that connect to I-5 in South Orange County. Due to the wide spectrum of improvements the ideas will be initially sorted into categories:

Category 1: Ideas that are already being advanced or implemented by agencies other than F/ETCA

Category 2: Ideas that are not effective or outside control of F/ETC

Category 3: Ideas that are not feasible or practical due to regulatory or financial constraints

Category 4: Ideas that provide measurable traffic relief improvements that will be carried forward into the Project Initiation Document (PID).

Environmental Document/Project Approval

Build Alternatives and the No Build Alternative will be evaluated for environmental impacts in the Project Approval/Environmental Document (PA/ED) phase. The first step of PA/ED is environmental scoping, whereby interested parties and public agencies: submit suggestions for project alternatives, provide input on purpose and need for the project, attend a Scoping Meeting and provide comments on the Notice of Preparation/Notice of Intent (NOP/NOI). During PA/ED, a new updated traffic analysis will be prepared. In addition, environmental technical studies will be prepared consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements to identify environmental resources/concerns and identify impacts to these resources for each alternative. Avoidance, minimization and/or mitigation measures will be identified. The information from the traffic analysis and the environmental technical studies, and comments on the NOP/NOI will be incorporated into the Draft Environmental Document (ED), which will include the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft ED will be circulated for public review. Comments received during public review and written responses will be incorporated into the Final ED.

The determination of the selected alternative for consideration will be made by the project development team after public review of the environmental document and consideration of public comments. The project development team will consist of Caltrans, TCA and OCTA. Caltrans and the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board will determine whether or not to certify the Final ED and approve a project.

TCA has been working in collaboration with other local agencies, including Caltrans, OCTA, SCAG, the County of Orange and local cities to solicit traffic relief ideas.

Ideas that provide substantial north-south traffic relief will be evaluated during the environmental review process. It is currently anticipated that Caltrans will provide the federal oversight and approval as the lead agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board of Directors, comprised of elected officials from the County of Orange and South Orange County cities, will provide oversight and approval as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If an alternative is approved, TCA may need to seek approval and permits from various state and federal regulatory agencies, such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Coastal Commission, the Native American Heritage Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before construction can proceed.

Read more

During the early stages of developing the environmental document, Caltrans and TCA will develop a coordination plan, which will document the lead agencies’ structured interaction with the public and other agencies and inform the public and other agencies of how the coordination will be accomplished.  The coordination plan will outline (1) how the lead agencies have divided the responsibilities for compliance with the various aspects of the environmental review process, such as the issuance of invitations to participating agencies, and (2) how the lead agencies will provide the opportunities for input from the public and other agencies in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies. The plan will also identify coordination points, such as:

  • Notice of intent publication and scoping activities.
  • Development of purpose and need.
  • Identification of the range of alternatives.
  • Collaboration on methodologies.
  • Completion of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
  • Identification of the preferred alternative and the level of design detail.
  • Completion of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS).
  • Completion of the record of decision (ROD)
  • Completion of permits, licenses, or approvals after the ROD.

The coordination plan will also document the roles each regulatory agency will have throughout the environmental document phase, including which agency is considered a cooperating agency or a participating agency.  A cooperating agency is any federal agency, other than a lead agency, that has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved in a proposed project or project alternative. A state or local agency of similar qualifications, or a Native American tribe when the effects are on lands of tribal interest, can also become a cooperating agency by agreement with the lead agencies.  Participating agencies are those with an interest in the project.

The roles and responsibilities of cooperating and participating agencies are similar, but cooperating agencies have a higher degree of authority, responsibility and involvement in the environmental review process. A distinguishing feature of a cooperating agency is that the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations (40 CFR Section 1501.6) permit a cooperating agency to “assume on request of the lead agency responsibility for developing information and preparing environmental analyses, including portions of the environmental impact statement concerning which the cooperating agency has special expertise.” An additional distinction is that, pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.3, “a cooperating agency may adopt without recirculation the environmental impact statement of a lead agency when, after an independent review of the statement, the cooperating agency concludes that its comments and suggestions have been satisfied.” This provision is particularly important to permitting agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who, as cooperating agencies, routinely adopt USDOT environmental documents.

As part of the formal environmental review process, a No Build Alternative will be considered.

Almost every major infrastructure project goes through a right-of-way acquisition process in accordance with the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970. Right-of-way needs will be identified and studied through the environmental review process. Eminent domain would only be utilized if necessary.

Yes, ideas not selected as part of this formal environmental review process could be studied by any local, regional or statewide agency.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board of Directors, which is comprised of elected officials from the County of Orange and South Orange County cities, will vote on the project.

After receiving numerous traffic relief ideas from a two-year public outreach effort, TCA has now transitioned into the technical evaluation process. This process could include modifying, combining or generating new ideas. The next formal opportunity for public input will be part of the scoping phase of the environmental review process (see Question 27).

Beltway and Toll Road Ideas

Public Forum 1/SOCMWG
Click here to view Forum 1 Public Feedback

Idea 1: Dynamic Pricing of TCA Facilities
Idea 2: Greater Train Frequency
Idea 3: Synchronized Lights on Arterials
Idea 4: Add Mobility Hubs at Train Stations, etc.
Idea 5: Build-out District 5 Bike Facilities
Idea 6: Widen Ortega Highway to 4 Lanes
Idea 7: Widen Arterials to MPAH Maximum
Idea 8: Extend La Pata to Cristianitos
Idea 9: Connect Ortega Hwy & Antonio Pkwy to Avery Pkwy & SR 73
Idea 10: Add I-5 HOV Lane (Pico to County Line)
Idea 11: Add I-5 General Purpose Lane
Idea 12: Add I-5v HOT Lane (I-405 to County Line)
Idea 13: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Western Alternative
Idea 14: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via La Pata Crossing
Idea 15: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Cristianitos
Idea 16: Autonomous Vehicles/Technological Enhancements

Public Forum 2
Click here to view Forum 2 Public Feedback

Idea 17: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Shore Cliffs

4/4/2017 Letter to TCA
Click here to view the Letter

Idea 18: Connect SR 241 to 73

Forum 3
Click here to view Forum 3 Feedback

Idea 16: Technological Enhancements
Idea 19: Connect SR 241 to I-15 in the City of Temecula
Idea 20: Double-Decking I-5

All traffic relief ideas were submitted by either the public or South Orange County elected officials to TCA through a two-year public outreach effort. The public outreach effort included the South Orange County Mobility Working Group (SOCMWG) and three (3) Get Moving Orange County public forums.

Through a two-year public outreach effort, the TCA collected numerous traffic relief ideas from the public and local elected officials. In its efforts to be inclusive of all suggestions, TCA has included every idea for consideration. Any idea that is included in the formal environmental review process will be studied to determine the impact that it has a result of proximity to schools or previously mitigated lands.

Through a two-year public outreach effort, TCA collected numerous traffic relief ideas from the public and local elected officials. In its efforts to be inclusive of all suggestions, TCA and included every idea for consideration. Any idea that is included in the formal environmental review process will be studied to determine potential right-of-way impacts.

Idea #14 (Connect SR 241 to I-5 via La Pata Crossing) is different than any central corridor studied previously by TCA. The preliminary concept is depicted in the rendering below. This rendering is subject to change due to environmental concerns and engineering refinements, including interchanges and access points. Again, this rendering is what the route could look like and is subject to environmental studies and engineering refinements, including interchanges and access points.

Determination as to whether Los Patrones Parkway will be a free arterial highway or a component of The Toll Roads system is an ongoing discussion. No decision has been made.

There are conflicting studies regarding the impacts of highway construction on home values. In Appendix D: Transportation Effects on Property Values of the Environmental Handbook Volume 4: Community Impact Assessments, Caltrans provides guidance on this topic. While a majority of the studies found that abutting properties do not appreciate as rapidly as other properties, several studies determined that there is a net gain in value in the general vicinity of the freeway due to increased accessibility.

Through a two-year public outreach effort, the TCA collected numerous traffic relief ideas from the public and local elected officials. In its efforts to be inclusive of all suggestions, TCA has included every idea for consideration. Idea 18 was submitted by the City of San Clemente. A rendering of Idea 18 is provided below. The rendering of Idea 18, which is what the route could look like, is subject to change due to environmental studies and engineering refinement, including interchanges and access points.

Camp Pendleton

Since 1988, the United States Marine Corps has stated that a toll road alignment through Camp Pendleton may be possible, only if the toll road alignment closely adheres to the bases’s northern boundary and does not negatively impact the base’s training mission. Over time, the TCA have provided the Marine Corps with several possible SR-241 extension alignments. The Marine Corps will only work with TCA on a route that runs through San Onofre State Park’s lease of base property, and that route was denied in 2008 by the California Coastal Commission (see Question #2).

Furthermore, in 2010, United States Secretary of the Navy State Ray Mabus sent a letter to California Senator Dianne Feinstein stating that the proposed toll road extensions through Camp Pendleton “would unacceptably impact the Marine Corps’ ability to train and prepare for all contingency operations.” Later that same year, Major General Anthony L. Jackson sent a letter to news outlets, including the San Diego Union Tribune, stating that “the only viable option in the view of the Marine Corps would be to route it somewhere within the State Park’s 1,300 acre lease of base property east of the I-5,” and that any other alignment that runs further into the base“…is not acceptable to Camp Pendleton or the Marine Corps as it does not meet the Marine Corps’ long maintained stipulation that this proposed project not negatively impact the Base mission.” In 2016, Brigadier General K. J. Killea reiterated the Marine’s Corps long-standing position in a letter to TCA stating, “the consideration of a single route that does not impact MCB CamPen mission, that any MCB CamPen alignment must closely adhere to the Base northern boundary, and that any mitigation of adverse environmental impacts is entirely at TCA expense off MCB CamPen.” Most recently in July 2017, Camp Pendleton released the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan which again reiterated the Marine Corps position that “any planned Camp Pendleton alignment must closely adhere to the Base’s northern boundary” and “that any on-Base alignment must not impact the Marine Corps’ mission nor interfere with the Base’s operational flexibility.”

Transportation Planning and Projections

Data and findings from the Cal State University Fullerton Center for Demographic Research, SCAG’s 2016 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and OCTA’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) indicate the necessity for traffic relief solutions in South Orange County. Data presented by OCTA at the June 5th, 2017 OCTA Regional Planning and Highways Committee Meeting indicates that in the next 20 years, Orange County’s population is expected to increase 10%, housing will increase 11%, and employment will increase 17%, all contributing to a 66% increase in traffic delays in Orange County by 2040.

The I-5 HOV expansion and Pico Interchange improvement projects in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, as well as the La Pata Extension Project, are included in the regional transportation planning baseline and traffic modeling. As part of the South County traffic relief effort, which will be a multi-year effort, the traffic benefits of the I-5 and La Pata improvements will be updated using post-construction traffic data to validate the assumption made in the baseline traffic model.

Beyond traffic relief, there is still a need for an alternative to I-5 for safety in the case of emergency incidents and large-scale disasters. According Peter Bastone, Former President and CEO of St. Joseph Health’s Mission Hospital and Regional Trauma Center and Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, “it is vitally important our first responders have an alternative route [to I-5] that can both alleviate traffic congestion on the freeway and allow emergency vehicles to transport patients quickly and efficiently.”

Multiple long-range transportation documents have included a connection of SR-241 to I-5 and this information has been publically available since 1989. Disclosures are outside of the purview of TCA, but some Orange County housing communities, such as Talega and Rancho Mission Viejo, have included these development possibilities in their housing disclosures.

Below is a list of regional transportation plans that have included a SR-241 connection to I-5. Please note that long-range planning documents are not alignment specific.

Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)

1989 Regional Mobility Plan (RMP)
1994 Regional Mobility Element (RME) volume 1
1998 Regional Mobility Plan (RMP)
2001 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
2004 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
1991/1997 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)
1993/1999 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)
1996/2003 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)
2001/2004 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)
2006 Amendement to 2004 RTP/RTIP

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and California Air Resources Board

1996 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
2000 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
1996/2003 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)
2000/2004 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP)

San Diego Air Pollution District

1998 Regional Air Quality Strategy (RAQS)

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and California Air Resources Board

1991 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP)
1994 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP)/State Implementation Plan (SIP)
1994 State Implementation Plan (SIP) Volume 1 & Volume 2
1997 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP)

TCA are conducting preliminary biological and watershed visual surveys in open space areas to determine environmental conditions related to constraints for the proposed ideas, as part of the technical review process.

TCA have been working in collaboration with other local agencies, including Caltrans, OCTA, SCAG, the County of Orange and local cities, to identify South Orange County traffic relief ideas. The public outreach efforts, and list of proposed traffic relief ideas, are intended to inform all agencies involved.

Lowering toll rates on The Toll Roads would not relieve more traffic on I-5. Drivers choose to pay a toll for time savings and reliability. If tolls were reduced, congestion would increase and reliability would decrease thereby diverting traffic from The Toll Roads onto I-5. Toll rates are balanced to manage congestion and to maintain free-flow conditions which maximzes road capacity.

Public Outreach

In May 2015, TCA retained Sharon Browning and Associates (an independent consultant specializing in issues management and consensus planning) to conduct a series of one-on-one interviews as a “first step” in understanding how South County residents and leaders view traffic mobility in South Orange County. The purpose of the Community Ascertainment Study was to explore whether or not there is a perceived traffic problem in South Orange County and if, and how, people would like to work together to address any perceived problem. The Study’s findings indicated that while there “high-level of agreement” that a mobility problem on I-5 exists. The perceived degree of severity and definition of this problem varied among interviewees based upon time of day, day of the week, personal travel patterns, and use location. The Study generated recommendations for possible collaboration among community members, regional transportation planners, stakeholders and local elected officials.

The study was comprised of 45 members of the public who provided input regarding their thinking about transportation mobility throughout South Orange County. These members were South County residents representative of  business, environmentalists, the service sector, and retirees, with perspectives from San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Dana Point, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, and La Dera. The 45 members of the public interviewed did not suggest any of the proposed transportation solution ideas currently under consideration, they only provided input related to a framework for TCA to consider as it developed a process for collaborating with leaders, stakeholders and the community-at-large to identify potential traffic relief ideas. Some of the recommendations resulting from the study included creating a forum like the South Orange County Mobility Working Group (SOCMWG) and holding a series of public forums early in the process to solicit public input, foster communication and facilitate collaboration among planners, elected officials and interested community stakeholders.

The South Orange County Mobility Working Group (SOCMWG) was formed as a direct result of the Community Ascertainment Study, which stated that “a forum comprised of South County City Elected Officials will have the greatest potential for garnering community support and successful problem solving”. SOCMWG was formed in January 2016 and was comprised of the following local elected officials:*

  • Hon. Lisa Bartlett – Orange County Chairwoman & Supervisor 5th District, OCTA Director, TCA Director
  • Hon. Lori Donchak – San Clemente City Council Member, OCTA Director
  • Hon. Frank Ury – Mission Viejo City Mayor, OCTA Director
  • Hon. Kathy Ward – San Clemente City Mayor Pro-Tem, TCA Director
  • Hon. Kerry Ferguson – San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro-Tem, TCA Director
  • Hon. Scott Schoeffel – Dana Point City Council Member, TCA Director
  • Hon. Ed Sachs – Mission Viejo City Council Member, TCA Director
  • Hon. Tony Beall – Santa Margarita Mayor, TCA Director

Also participating were the following transportation agency personnel:

Ryan Chamberlain – Caltrans District 12 Director, OCTA Director. Ex-officio TCA Director

Darrell Johnson – OCTA Chief Executive Officer

Mike Kraman – TCA Chief Executive Officer

Shane Silsby – Director of Public Works, County of Orange

City managers, technical staff, and public works directors from each jurisdiction mentioned above were also invited to attend.  SOCMWG met seven (7) times between January 2016 to October 2016 for the purpose of collaborating on ideas to address South Orange County’s north-south traffic problem.  SOCMWG was secondarily utilized to provide policy direction and oversight for public forum planning and execution.

*Titles noted reflected January 2016 elected positions.

TCA, have been working in collaboration with OCTA, Caltrans and the County of Orange, have engaged in an extensive outreach effort in order to gather traffic relief ideas and input from the public, local elected officials, environmental groups and other transportation stakeholders. TCA believed it was important to involve the public from the beginning of the process for identifying solutions. This effort has included a series of public forums throughout South Orange County.

Forum #1, the first Get Moving Orange County Public Forum, was on Monday, June 20, 2016 at the Laguna Niguel Community Room and was attended in-person by over 100 members of the public and online by over 100 individuals. Following presentations made by TCA, Cal State Fullerton and SCAG, attendees broke off into 11 small collaborative groups to draft potential traffic relief ideas.

Forum #2 was held on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at St. Andrews by the Sea in San Clemente and was attended in-person by over 200 members of the public and online by over 100 individuals. During breakout sessions, attendees were provided with preliminary estimates of the projected benefits, challenges and costs of traffic relief ideas proposed by members of the public during the Forum #1 on June 20, 2016.  Members of the public were also presented with a transportation index for each idea, indicating how each proposed solution would affect the flow of traffic in South Orange County based on modeling reported by OCTA in their Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

Forum #3 was held on Monday, June 5, 2017 at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo. Both the main forum room, McKinney Theater (max capacity of 400), and the overflow room, SM 313 (max capacity of 238), reached capacity at a total of 628 people prior to the start of the forum. Over 3,000 members of the public participated in the forum online, with Livestream garnering 2,538 unique viewers and Facebook Live on “The Toll Roads” Facebook page garnering 656 unique viewers. The purpose of Forum #3 was to educate the public on the November 2016 environmental settlement and the next steps for the South Orange County Traffic Relief Effort. The first panel included Mike Kraman, CEO of TCA; Dr. Dan Silver, CEO of the Endangered Habitats League; and Richard Katz, former California State Assembly member and transportation expert. The second panel included Valarie McFall, Chief Environmental Planning Officer for TCA; Greg Nord, Principal Transportation Analyst of OCTA; and Lan Zhou, Deputy Director of Planning for Caltrans District 12. The moderator for both panels was Dr. Tod Burnett, President of Saddleback Community College. In-person forum attendees were provided with various public feedback opportunities, including question cards, comment cards, a court reporter comment station and a video recording comment station. Online attendees were also able to submit questions for the panelists and comments in real-time.

Materials from all three public forums, including a list of proposed traffic relief ideas, are available online at GetMovingOC.com.

As part of the formal environmental review process there will be additional opportunities for public input: including during project scoping; after the release of the environemental document; and at various public meetings to consider project approvals and other regulatory permits. Please visit GetMovingOC.com to stay up-to-date on the process.

Public Forum 1/SOCMWG
Click here to view Forum 1 Public Feedback

Idea 1: Dynamic Pricing of TCA Facilities
Idea 2: Greater Train Frequency
Idea 3: Synchronized Lights on Arterials
Idea 4: Add Mobility Hubs at Train Stations, etc.
Idea 5: Build-out District 5 Bike Facilities
Idea 6: Widen Ortega Highway to 4 Lanes
Idea 7: Widen Arterials to MPAH Maximum
Idea 8: Extend La Pata to Cristianitos
Idea 9: Connect Ortega Hwy & Antonio Pkwy to Avery Pkwy & SR 73
Idea 10: Add I-5 HOV Lane (Pico to County Line)
Idea 11: Add I-5 General Purpose Lane
Idea 12: Add I-5v HOT Lane (I-405 to County Line)
Idea 13: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Western Alternative
Idea 14: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via La Pata Crossing
Idea 15: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Cristianitos
Idea 16: Autonomous Vehicles/Technological Enhancements

Public Forum 2
Click here to view Forum 2 Public Feedback

Idea 17: Connect SR 241 to I-5 via Shore Cliffs

4/4/2017 Letter to TCA
Click here to view the Letter

Idea 18: Connect SR 241 to 73

Forum 3
Click here to view Forum 3 Feedback

Idea 16: Technological Enhancements
Idea 19: Connect SR 241 to I-15 in the City of Temecula
Idea 20: Double-Decking I-5

Video recordings and materials from the three Get Moving Orange County forums can be found below. Those who submitted questions in-person or online at Forum #3, and provided an email address, will receive a response to their question soon.

Get Moving Orange County

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen technical issues, the Live Stream feed was not active during the beginning of the forum. This issue was fixed as quickly as possible, and the feed resumed broadcasting during the forum. While the feed was down, TCA linked the Facebook Live video from the San Clemente Time’s Facebook Page to “The Toll Roads” Facebook page, and used their broadcast in the overflow room until the problem was fixed. If you missed any portion of the forum or would like to watch it again, a recording of the entire forum is available at here.

Only four (4) TCA staff members were seated in Saddleback Community College’s McKinney Theater and SM 313. The combined capacity of 628 seats were utilized for public participants who RSVP’d, walk-ins and approximately a half dozen local elected officials.

General Questions

TCA is a common means of referring to two separate agencies, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) and the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA). In 1986, F/ETCA and SJHTCA were each organized as public agencies under the provisions of state law and separate Joint Exercise of Powers Agreements (JPA) among the County of Orange and certain cities within Orange County. In 1987, Senate Bill 1413 passed, giving TCA the authority to construct new roads as toll facilities and issue bonds backed by future toll revenues and development impact fees.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) member agencies include the cities of Anaheim, Dana Point, Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Yorba Linda and the County of Orange’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Districts. The San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) member agencies include the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana and County of Orange’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Districts.

Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Current Board of Directors (2017)

Community Representative
Mission Viejo Ed Sachs (Chair)
Irvine Christina Shea (Vice Chair)
Anaheim Jose Moreno
County of Orange, 5th District Lisa Bartlett
County of Orange, 3rd District Todd Spitzer
County of Orange, 4th District Shawn Nelson
Dana Point Joseph Muller
Lake Forest Scott Voigts
Orange Mark Murphy
Rancho Santa Margarita Anthony Beall
San Clemente Kathy Ward
San Juan Capistrano Brian Maryott
Santa Ana Sal Tinajero
Tustin Chuck Puckett
Yorba Linda Peggy Huang
Caltrans District 12 Ryan Chamberlain

All communities within unincorporated areas, including Ladera Ranch, Coto de Caza and Rancho Mission Viejo, are represented on the TCA Board of Directors by the 5th District Orange County Supervisor, Lisa Bartlett.

Board members and Alternates earn a stipend of $120 per meeting, for up to 18 meetings per Agency, per quarter. They may also be eligible for reimbursement of mileage costs at the current IRS rate. More information regarding TCA staff and Board member pay can be found on the California State Controller website and The Toll Road’s website.

TCA does not have the authority to approve or deny any residential/commercial developments or development agreements. Land use planning and approvals are conducted by the local jurisdiction, incorporated city or the County of Orange.

TCA are public agencies, specifically Joint Powers Authorities constituted under California state law, overseen by a Boards of Directors comprised of local elected officials. Toll road construction is funded through the sale of toll revenue bonds and the collection of development impact fees. In June 2017, Moody’s Investor Services upgraded both F/ETCA’s and SJHTCA’s bond ratings, acknowledging TCA’s financial strength and healthy reserve fund balance. Fitch Ratings also upgraded SJHTCA bond ratings in July 2017. The bonds can only be repaid by future tolls and development impact fees, not through tax dollars. Taxpayers are not responsible for repaying the debt nor do taxpayers bear any risk if toll revenues fall short.

Today, construction of new roads in California is only financed 30% by state and federal tax dollars compared to 80-90% 30 years ago. The financial burden of making up this 70% gap in funding has thus been placed on local city and county governments. To combat this challenge, Orange County has found innovative funding solutions, including Measure M and The Toll Roads, in order to keep up with 21st century transportation infrastructure demands. TCA’s model to finance and construct public highways with non-taxpayer funding sources has been an extremely successful method of providing needed transportation projects, when traditional funding from federal and state resources has been lacking or unavailable. Over the past 30 years, TCA has provided the State of California with over $4 billion in new highway infrastructure.

Individuals who choose to use the Toll Roads and enjoy their benefits, pay tolls to pay off the debt incurrec to construct them. This similar to user fees for buses, trains and bridges. Everyone, even those who do not use The Toll Roads, benefit from their existence through decreased traffic on local freeways and arterials, particularly during rush hours and weekends.

Orange County’s toll road network takes over 250,000 trips per day off local freeways and arterial roads. In fact, during A.M. rush hours when traffic relief on freeways and arterials is needed most, 42% of traffic traveling north in South Orange County is on The Toll Roads. In 2016 alone, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency’s (F/ETCA) ridership increased 8.5% and the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency’s (SJHTCA) ridership increased 9.4%.

TCA, in partnership with Caltrans, OCTA and SCAG)], are actively pursuing projects to relieve traffic in other parts of Orange County. Currently, TCA, in coordination with Caltrans, OCTA and RCTC, is proposing to add a direct connector linking SR-241 to the SR-91 Express Lanes.

More information regarding the 241/91 Express Connector Project and other TCA projects can be found on The Toll Roads website.

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