An op-ed from Bryan Starr, Senior Vice President, OCBC Government Affairs
On two separate occasions Orange County voters expressed their approval of a half-cent sales tax, known as Measures M-1 and M-2, in order to fund badly needed transportation projects and improve mobility in Orange County. To date, the implementing agency, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), has done a fantastic job of delivering projects. Thus far, promises made have been promises kept to the voters of Orange County. This year, OCTA embarks on the largest single transportation project this county will likely see for the next couple of decades – the I-405 expansion project. As promised under Measure M-2, OCTA is slated to widen I-405, adding one general purpose lane in each direction on portions of the freeway through Orange County. That proposal is approved and is moving forward through the planning process. Sounds pretty good right? But wait, there’s a bonus.
Just like the ol’ gift with purchase mantra of the retail world, OC voters may get lucky with the added bonus of choice in their commute – choice. A choice to pay a little extra in order to get to their kid’s little league practice quickly; a choice to get to an important meeting on time if they have fallen a little behind in their day; a choice to use “managed lanes” that employ congestion pricing technology to relieve gridlock.
Managed lanes are the way forward for California. Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and the Bay Area have already employed managed lane technology with great success. Orange County Transportation Authority must seize the opportunity during the planned widening of I-405 to execute a plan that incorporates managed lanes this year. To wait would be a major fumble at the goal line and you’d better believe there’s a player from another team waiting to scoop up that ball and run with it. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.