Irvine to Get $121 Million for Citywide Public Transit

The California Transportation Commission has given final approval to $121 million in public transit funding that will one day go to Irvine for a citywide public transit plan, Mayor Sukhee Kang said.

The money will allow the city to expand its ishuttle program and could eventually make it so Irvine residents would be able to get around town without needing a car, Kang said.

The money is possible because of a funding trade agreement brokered between the city and the Orange County Transportation Authority.

The funds will be doled out through Proposition 116, a 1990 statewide mass transit bond measure. Irvine will turn over its share of that pot of money to OCTA in exchange for matching credit under Measure M2, a countywide initiative, which directs a half-cent sales tax toward local transit projects.

The reason the city had to broker such an arrangement is that Proposition 116 money can only be spent on rail projects, while M2 money can be spent on a variety of transportation projects like the ishuttle.

Kang last announced the city would receive $66 million under the agreement in April. But this final approval means the city will get every penny of the $121 million it is eligible for, Kang said.

Kang said he’ll be making the official announcement at tonight’s Irvine city council meeting.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the funding trade agreement between Irvine and the Orange County Transportation Authority was finalized last week. It was finalized in 2009. Also, the post incorrectly identified Measure M2 as statewide measure. We regret the errors.