March 29, 2011

Calif.'s OCTA completes sales tax program, touts benefits

California-based Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) brings to a close the Measure M program this week. During the past two decades, the program has paved the way for more than $4 billion in transportation improvements.

Collection of the half-cent sales tax officially stops on March 31, ending a program approved by voters in 1990.

“Measure M has transformed the way in which our residents and visitors travel throughout this county,” said OCTA Chair Patricia Bates. “The program has improved each one of our freeways, hundreds of miles of city streets and our transit system and, more importantly, it has significantly benefitted our quality of life.”

Measure M improvements have been split into three general categories, with 43 percent funding freeway projects, 32 percent funding streets and roads projects, and 25 percent funding transit improvements:

•    $1.75 billion to upgrade to every Orange County freeway

•    $1.3 billion for city street and road projects

•    $1 billion for Metrolink service and senior and disabled bus fare stabilization

The accomplishments of Measure M include:

•    Adding 192 freeway lane miles

•    Improving 170 intersection and 38 freeway interchanges

•    Providing $600 million to local agencies for improvements

•    Implementing Metrolink service in Orange County

The voters of Orange County again decided to entrust OCTA with their tax dollars by renewing Measure M in 2006. On April 1, the first half-cent of what is estimated to be $15 billion over the next 30 years will be collected for Measure M2.

“The success of Measure M is a shining example of what can be accomplished when government agencies, residents and the business community work together to achieve a common goal,” said OCTA CEO Will Kempton. “We look forward to once again delivering on our promises to voters through Measure M2.”

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