The Orange Country Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors have approved taking the lead on portions of the Interstate 405 Improvement Project, a $1.7 billion plan designed to update a 14-mile stretch of the freeway between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles county line.
OCTA will have oversight of the I-405 express lanes between State Route 73 and Interstate 605 and a general-purpose lane in both directions from Euclid Street to I605. The 12-4 decision by the directors comes after the authority has fought adding toll lanes to the highway, according to a report by KPPC public radio.
“If we don’t do it, Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) is going to do it,” OCTA Chairman Jeffery Lalloway said. “And if Caltrans does it … no one’s going to like what comes out.”
The Interstate 405 Improvement Project is being funding partially by Measure M, a long-term sales tax dedicated to funding transportation project improvements in Orange country. The one-half cent tax continues through 2041. The remainder of the funding will come from local, state and federal funds in addition to toll lane proceeds.
OCTA will develop a draft plan for the toll lanes policy, a financing plan, and conduct a traffic and revenue study in the next few months. The authority reports that excess toll revenue not used for the project will be used for local transportation projects.
Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and last four years.