California has long been a transportation innovator, whether battery powered cars, high speed rail or the home of the first managed lanes facility in the United States—the SR91 Express Lanes. The SR91 Express Lanes opened in 1995; the 10 mile project with two managed lanes in each direction connecting Orange County and Riverside County was originally developed as a P3 toll concession and acquired in 2003 by the Orange County Transportation Authority (and also featured the first fully electronic toll collection system in the world). Additional managed lanes projects have been developed in the State, but only on a limited, project by project basis.
Last week Governor Brown signed AB 194, authorizing the California Department of Transportation and regional transportation agencies, including the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, to develop, finance, operate and maintain HOT lanes, with no limit as to number of projects or time frame. Projects must receive the approval of the California Transportation Commission, which is to develop eligibility criteria that include at a minimum a showing of improved corridor performance and that a complete funding plan has been prepared. Toll revenue can be used to pay principal and interest on bonds to finance the toll facility, and cover maintenance, operation and rehab costs and other transportation improvements in the corridor pursuant to an expenditure plan to be developed in consultation with Caltrans. Regional transportation agencies have express authority to issue toll revenue bonds or notes to finance any toll facility authorized under the new law.
We are aware of active planning in Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County to develop new managed lanes projects, including the $1.2 billion I-405 Improvement Project being procured by the Orange County Transportation Authority.
The text of AB 194 can be found here.
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