For the 28th consecutive year, Measure M is delivering transportation improvements to Orange County, as promised to voters.

An independent oversight committee closely monitors the expenditure of funds generated by this voter-approved sales tax measure. At its annual Measure M public hearing, the Taxpayer Oversight Committee unanimously found that the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is proceeding in accordance with the Measure M ordinances that were first approved by voters in 1990 and renewed by 70% of voters in 2006.

“The taxpayers of Orange County entrust that OCTA will administer Measure M funds wisely, and the Taxpayer Oversight Committee plays a vital role in ensuring promises made are being kept,” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw. “I’m extremely proud of the fact that the committee has determined for 28 straight years that OCTA is keeping its promises.”

The original Measure M made possible more than $4 billion worth of transportation improvements to help Orange County residents, workers and visitors travel more efficiently throughout all parts of the county. Since 1990, hundreds of local projects have been completed that help residents travel more easily, including improvements to freeways, widened streets, synchronized traffic signals and improved intersections. Measure M also made possible Metrolink commuter-rail service in Orange County.

The renewed Measure M, also known as OC Go, is expected to generate more than $13 billion to fund transportation improvements through 2041. Freeways will receive 43% of the funding, streets and roads receive 32%, and transit receives 25% of Measure M dollars.

OCTA is currently using OC Go funding to widen a congested section of the I-5 Freeway in South Orange County. Located adjacent to the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel, the $580 million freeway improvement project will be built in three segments and include numerous roadway, structural and operational improvements.

Slated for completion in 2025, the project will add a second carpool lane in each direction from Alicia Parkway to El Toro Road, and new northbound and southbound general-purpose lanes to increase capacity between Avery and Alicia parkways. In addition, the project will: reconstruct two interchanges; widen bridges; modify multiple on- and off-ramps; add new sound and retaining walls; and install new overhead signage and lighting.

Agency officials say the project is necessary to address the growing congestion in the Saddleback Valley region. More than 350,000 vehicles pass through the 6.5-mile stretch each weekday, with that number projected to grow to 450,000 by the mid-2040s.

Source: Various