IRVINE, Calif. - February 19, 2019
The San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Boards of Directors nominated and welcomed new Directors at February’s Board Meeting. SJHTCA Chair Fred Minagar administered the Oath of Office to:
The SJHTCA and F/ETCA Board of Directors also nominated and elected new leadership for 2019. For SJHTCA, Director Fred Minagar (Laguna Niguel) was re-elected as Chair and Director Cynthia Connors (Laguna Woods) was elected as Vice Chair. For F/ETCA, Director Christina Shea (Irvine) was elected as Chair and Director Chuck Puckett (Tustin) was elected as Vice Chair. Shea previously served as Vice Chair of the F/ETCA Board.
The Boards of Directors voted to approve the 2019-2020 State and Federal Legislative Platforms. The legislative platforms provide staff and consultants with policy direction to advocate on behalf of the Agencies. Legislative platform highlights include support of reliable funding for transportation projects, and available low-cost federal loans and loan guarantees; exploring opportunities to expedite and improve the environmental review process and protecting the Agencies’ ability to complete its capital projects. The State Legislature introduces new legislation each year. TCA staff, in conjunction with the Agencies’ state legislative advocates, Nossaman LLP and Robert W. Naylor Advocacy, review and evaluate bills as they are introduced based on the criteria outlined in the legislative platforms. A list of relevant bills to be watched in 2019 will be presented to the Joint Strategic Planning Committee for recommendation to the Boards of Directors at the March meeting.
Staff provided its first quarterly update on the status of the South County Traffic Relief Effort (SCTRE). The presentation highlighted the robust public outreach engagement process that the Agencies have conducted since 2016 and the formal environmental review process that is anticipated to begin with a public scoping meeting in summer 2019. The first step to beginning the environmental phase includes Issuing a Notice of Intent/Notice of Preparation (NOI/NOP) and Project Scoping. Scoping is a term that is used during the environmental phase to solicit input from the public, local cities and agencies, as well as the regulatory agencies. It provides an opportunity for the Agencies to obtain input and feedback on the project’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be studied and issues and concerns that should be evaluated. In addition to issuing the NOI/NOP and conducting Scoping, the Agency will conduct an alternatives screening analysis that will help refine the alternatives recommended for further study as part of the future technical studies phase.
TCA is committed to continuing its proactive public engagement process to find mobility solutions that include input and engagement from all stakeholders. Throughout the project development process, staff will continue to keep the F/ETCA Board of Directors and the public apprised of the project status and alternatives under consideration as part of its on-going Quarterly Updates to the Agency’s Board of Directors and through its Public Informational Meetings . It is important to note that no project has been selected or approved. Once the Agency has completed its initial scoping and alternatives screening activities, staff will return to the Board with a recommended list of alternatives to be studied as part of the technical studies phase that includes evaluating each alternative based upon a number of factors, including meeting the project’s purpose and need, environmental considerations and funding. The process is expected to take several years and will include many opportunities for the public to provide input. The formal environmental process, which will conclude with a preferred alternative, is projected to be complete in 2021.
Due to six days of moderate to heavy rains in January 2019, with no comparable rain days in 2018, the weather affected traffic on The Toll Roads. However, F/ETCA experienced an increase in traffic while SJHTCA experienced a slight decrease. Transactions decreased by 2.2 percent and revenue increased by 0.1 percent for the 73 Toll Road. On the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads, transactions increased by 0.6 percent and revenue increased by 2.7 percent. New Year’s Day also fell on a Tuesday this year, versus Monday in 2018, which also appeared to affect transactions for the remainder of the work week.