Supervisor Foley Underscores OCTA’s Strong Financial Footing
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, who serves as a Director of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), issued a statement following the Board of Directors meeting today, where action was taken to approve emergency track stabilization measures and OCTA’s $1.7 billion budget. These actions underscore the approach to responsible planning by OCTA, which was recently given an unprecedented A+ rating by Fitch Ratings for its 91 Express Lanes program. With this, OCTA is the only toll lane manager to receive an A+ asset rating in the United States.
Following Supervisor Foley’s request, the OCTA Board approved an emergency resolution to protect the railroad tracks impacted by the latest landslide beneath Casa Romantica in San Clemente. Since June 5, 2023, passenger rail service into Oceanside halted due to debris landed on the tracks. The resolution authorizes OCTA’s Chief Executive Officer to take all necessary actions to protect the rail track, including the construction of a soldier pile wall that will shield the railroad from any further debris.
“Our rail corridor is critical to Orange County’s coastal economy, transportation ecosystem, national security, and way of life,” said Supervisor Foley. “After this latest landslide, I requested our team at OCTA build a barrier, such as a soldier pile wall, next to the tracks to protect the railroad from falling debris and safely resume service. I’m grateful to OCTA staff for following through with my direction with this emergency resolution and for the OCTA’s board’s unanimous support. We must work expeditiously to protect our tracks while simultaneously creating long-term solutions for this essential rail corridor.”
In addition to the emergency declaration, OCTA approved additional funding for railroad track stabilization at Cypress Shores that will be used for additional support structures and planning services.
OCTA also approved their annual budget at their Monday meeting, which underscores a balanced, strong plan for meeting the current and future transportation needs of Orange County.
The revenue projections represent our strong Orange County and California economy with an all-time high increase in sales tax revenue. Funding from the federal government is also expected to grow, due in large part to President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“With OCTA’s strong financial position, we stand at a critical turning point in Orange County where we must strategically invest in our current and future transportation needs. The OCTA budget impacts different aspects of the lives of residents and commuters, from freeway improvement projects to building a zero-emissions fleet to coastal resiliency,” said Supervisor Foley. “Each investment shapes our transportation system. The budget maximizes every dollar, so we continue to build sustainable and reliable projects that meets the needs of Orange County residents.”
The 2023-2024 OCTA Budget includes:
$9,370,000 for Slope Stabilization – to make improvements in south Orange County that will prevent future landslides, protecting buildings and transportation infrastructure. This funding is in addition to emergency funding approved by OCTA and the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and funding provided by the state.
$4,955,000 for San Juan Creek Bridge Replacement – to replace a 100-year-old bridge in San Juan Capistrano near the Camino Capistrano exist on the I-5 freeway, which will increase safety and reduce maintenance needs.
$101,700,000 for Zero Emission Buses & Infrastructure – to purchase 60 clean energy buses and to build various charging and fueling stations throughout the county. “These critical investments are instrumental in achieving the state mandate to deploy a fully zero emission bus fleet by 2040,” said Supervisor Foley.
Freeway & Road Improvements – This budget includes several investments to reduce traffic congestion on various freeways and roads in south Orange County, including the SR-73, I-405, and El Toro Road interchange, and more.
These responsible planning and budgetary decisions have resulted in OCTA becoming the only toll road manager to receive Aa3 ratings from Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. A high bond rating represents fiscal strength, representing solid long-term prospects the agency and its projects.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2022 to represent the newly established District 5, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, a large portion of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, as well as the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, Stonecliffe and Wagon Wheel. This is her second term on the Board of Supervisors, where she previously served District 2.
Supervisor Foley’s Board appointments include the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), OCFA Legislation & Public Affairs Committee Chair, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), TCA Joint Environmental Committee, Coastal Greenbelt Authority, Newport Bay and South Orange County Watershed Executive Committees, Ocean Institute, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Community Engagement Panel, Spent Fuel Solutions Coalition Co-Chair, Law Library Board of Trustees, Orange County Housing Finance Trust, Local Agency Formation Commission (alt), Orange County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, and OC Public Libraries Advisory Board.