IRVINE, Calif. - April 15, 2020
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) Boards of Directors received an update on how the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Toll Roads Customer Service Walk-In Center was closed on March 13 following the governor’s guidance to avoid or slow the spread of the disease. Customers were encouraged to use The Toll Roads’ website and app to manage account activity, resolve violations or pay a toll. The Walk-In Center will remain temporarily closed until further notice.
All TCA staff and approximately 100 Faneuil employees began mandatory telework on March 18. The IT department has been instrumental in ensuring staff is able to efficiently work from home and facilitate TCA Board and Committee meetings.
TCA has been actively evaluating impacts on traffic and assessing potential actions that the Agencies can take in response, if necessary. The Toll Roads began to see impacts to traffic in the second week of March. As COVID-19 social distancing and stay-at-home measures increased, traffic declined further. Since the week ending March 8, total weekly transactions have declined 63 percent for the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads and 74 percent for the 73 Toll Road.
Rating agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, have placed the tolling sector on negative outlook, whereas Fitch is reviewing individual issuers and has reaffirmed both F/ETCA and SJHTCA’s current ratings and stable outlook designation. Board-approved financial decisions coupled with strong growth in transactions and accounts have put TCA in a strong financial position.
While COVID-19 is expected to continue impacting traffic volumes and revenues in the near-term, TCA has had strong and steady traffic and revenue growth during the first eight months of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) to support fiscal year-end results. Staff will continue analyzing traffic and revenue projections for FY21 and will utilize those results for the upcoming budget process.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the California Governor’s recent Executive Orders, the Joint Boards of Directors approved a temporary public policy to limit in-person public participation at public meetings by temporarily leveraging technology and remote work options to allow ongoing business and communications. This temporary policy is an effort to maintain the health and safety of the public, Board Members and staff.
The public policy allows members of the public to participate in public meetings remotely by visiting TheTollRoads.com/about/meetings-agendas to view live broadcasts of Boards of Directors meetings and standing Committee meetings. Public comments may also be submitted for upcoming Board and Committee meetings by emailing email@example.com. The temporary policy is in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be lifted when the Governor lifts his Executive Orders.
At their April 9 meeting, the Boards of Directors took the following actions:
Following a long career of public service and leadership, earlier this month, Mike Kraman announced his decision to retire as TCA’s CEO, after serving in the position for six years. Having joined the Agencies in 2012 as Chief Engineer, then promoted to CEO in 2014, Kraman focused on strategic planning and operations to manage and improve California’s largest network of toll roads.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead TCA during times of success and challenges. The recent action by the F/ETCA Board to extend Los Patrones Parkway Untolled, accomplishes TCA’s efforts to complete the southern extension of the 241 Toll Road, closing a long chapter in our Agencies’ history,” said Kraman. “Having spent more than 35-years delivering major transportation infrastructure projects, this achievement, coupled with the recent 241/91 Express Connector agreement, presented a timely opportunity to transition to the next phase of my life. It’s been my honor and privilege to serve our Directors, employees, loyal customers and Orange County.”
Several TCA Board Members wished him well as he embarks on his next chapter. As a result of his retirement, Samuel Johnson was unanimously appointed Interim CEO. Johnson has been with TCA since 2015 as Chief Toll Operations Officer.
“As a respected leader in the transportation Industry with more than 30 years of public service, Samuel Johnson is well positioned to assume the role of Interim CEO on day one,” said Christina Shea, Chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and Mayor of Irvine. “Having worked with him during my time as Chairwoman, I’ve been extremely impressed by his sound grasp of the issues facing the Agencies, his ability to provide a path forward in challenging times and his demonstrated capacity to serve as a leader, which is critical during a time of transition.”
"I’m confident that Samuel Johnson will approach his new role with a true sense of purpose and leadership,” said Trish Kelley, SJHTCA Chairwoman. “He has a strong understanding of TCA, transportation, tolling, technology and public service. And, his focus on team building and continuous improvement are just what TCA needs in the current climate of unknown and uncertainty.”
As a government agency, the health and safety of the public are important to us and we are committed to complying with efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
While our Walk-In Center remains closed, our call center, website and app are available to manage an account, open a new account, pay a toll, resolve a violation and much more.
For the latest on our response to COVID-19, visit TheTollRoads.com/COVID-19.
For free educational resources to pass time during quarantine, visit TheTollRoads.com/Educational-Resources.