Transportation Corridor Agencies Boards Approve Balanced Fiscal Year 2023 Budgets
Budgets support activities from recently adopted Strategic Plan and include first planned early paydown of bonds totaling $125 million
Irvine, Calif. - June 09, 2022
At their joint meeting today, the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) Boards of Directors approved expenditure budgets totaling $278.6 million – $134 million for the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) and $144.6 million for the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA). The budgets focus on continued debt management, delivering transportation improvements, incorporating innovative technologies and considering regional mobility partnerships.
The Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budgets support activities from TCA's recently adopted, inaugural Strategic Plan. Key highlights include:
- The F/ETCA's first planned early paydown of bonds totaling $125 million
- Advancing the 241/91 Express Connector Project, State Route (SR) 73 Catalina View Improvements and SR 241 Loma Improvements
- Beginning implementation of TCA’s Saddle Club Preservation Property Site Use Plan
- Research and planning efforts for innovative technologies and services that will shape transportation and position The Toll Roads as corridors of the future
The budgets also reflect positive transaction and revenue trends while maintaining the Agencies’ history of cost containment to meet fiduciary responsibilities to bondholders.
“Our conservative fiscal approach over the years ensured our stability through the pandemic. Post-pandemic, we continue to advance important mobility initiatives like the 241/91 Express Connector, a project that will reduce travel times for SR 241 drivers headed north and along State Route 91 in both directions. The project will improve the quality of life for residents in both Orange and Riverside Counties,” said F/ETCA Chair and Yorba Linda City Council Member Peggy Huang.
The 241/91 Express Connector Project is a near-term priority reflected in the Agencies’ Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
Along with the budgets, the Boards of Directors approved TCA’s FY23 CIP, which is updated annually to provide a summary of projects completed and an outline of proposed on-system improvements to be delivered by 2030 for residents and commuters. The initial system of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads (accounting for 20% of Orange County’s highway system) was built to accommodate future, long-planned median and interchange operational improvements on an as-needed basis to keep pace with changing traffic conditions, the needs of drivers and regional mobility.
The FY23 CIP represents an approximately $500 million investment in transportation improvements that will be entirely funded by the Agencies without incurring additional debt or relying on local, state or federal sources.
“The Agencies have a proven record of creating reliable infrastructure and ensuring our roads support the movement of people and goods through strong fiscal stewardship,” said SJHTCA Chair and Newport Beach Council Member Will O’Neill. “The adoption of the budgets continues that stewardship and will allow us to continue providing transportation solutions in our region.”
The budgets reinforce TCA’s commitment to meeting bond obligations following a SJHTCA bond refunding in December 2021, saving $138.7 million, net of all transaction costs. In January 2021, the F/ETCA executed a bond refunding that resulted in a reduction in debt service payments in excess of $210 million net of all transaction costs. The two refundings decreased annual debt payments without extending any bond maturity dates.
“TCA is the model for the nation’s most successful toll agencies utilizing non-recourse financing,” said TCA CEO Samuel Johnson. “Our approach to fiscal responsibility has served us well in achieving continued bond rating upgrades from Wall Street, reducing our debt and providing liquidity that allows us to plan for necessary system improvements without incurring additional debt or dependency on tax-based sources.”
In accordance with TCA policy adopted by the joint Boards of Directors in 2016, a 2% toll rate adjustment is included in the adopted budgets and will take effect July 1. The rate adjustment amounts to pennies per transaction for drivers and the $1 per toll discount program continues to provide savings of hundreds of dollars annually for drivers who pay with a TCA prepaid FasTrak® account. Toll rates can be found at https://thetollroads.com/tolls/map-rates.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California Legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system comprised of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.