Milestone Moments as Fiscal Year Winds Down

By Ted Nguyen
Manager of public communications & media relations

With the Board of Directors’ direction and support, OCTA’s most significant milestone was delivering a balanced budget of $1.2 billion for fiscal year 2009-2010, which ends June 30. And it's especially noteworthy because of these troubling economic times.

Moving Forward in Difficult Times

Most of us will agree this year has been difficult because of the far-reaching impacts of the state's budget crisis. OCTA board members made difficult decisions to ensure a balanced budget in response to declining sales tax revenues and significant losses of state transit dollars.

Next fiscal year’s budget includes a reduction of approximately 400,000 service hours for the bus system to address a five-year $272-million budget shortfall. With many negative impacts to our customers, we carefully and thoughtfully balanced the need to protect our core transit service with our mandated responsibilities as stewards of diminishing transit funds.

Freeway Improvements Continue and Transportation Hub Becoming Reality

The budget also includes the close out of Measure M funds for the completion of the construction of the I-5 Gateway project planned for completion in 2010 and the beginning of construction for the West County Connectors project also in 2010.

The budget also utilizes a short-term and tax-exempt financing option called "commercial paper" to accelerate numerous projects in the Renewed Measure M program – improvements to the Orange (SR-57), San Diego (I-405) and Riverside (SR-91) freeways. Progress of the CEO’s goals also includes the required work on capital investments for high-frequency Metrolink commuter-rail service and the award of the design contract for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), a planned transportation hub for high-speed rail, Metrolink, Amtrak and other transit services.

Fast Tracking Other Improvements

Other key accomplishments are implementing new state statues to help streamline important transportation projects in Orange County, including streamlining environmental processes, utilizing public-private partnerships and employing design-build authority. This means fast project delivery of much-needed transportation improvements for Orange County.

New CEO Begins Aug. 3

Interim CEO Jim Kenan will work closely with the newly appointed CEO to ensure a smooth transition. Caltrans chief Will Kempton, a 35-year veteran of transportation, hits the (Orange County) ground running Aug. 3.

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