OCTA Adopts 2012-13 Budget

The Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors Monday adopted a $1.075-billion budget for fiscal 2012-13, slightly less than the agency’s current budget.

As a county program, OCTA’s financial size is second only to the $1.4-billion CalOptima health plan for the county’s 400,000 poor, most of them children.

OCTA staff members said the new budget is 2.8 percent or $30 million less than the current $1.105-billion spending plan. The drop was attributed to a slight change in spending on large construction projects.

The staff report estimates changes in revenue next year to include a 6.3-percent increase in sales tax revenue and renewed assistance from the state to help run buses.

Bus fare income is expected to rise by about 10 percent due to a 25-percent fare increase scheduled for February 2013.

OCTA staff also estimated tolls from the 91 Freeway will be 11 percent or $4.7 million less because new, free lanes will be opening and fewer drivers will pay to drive the freeway between its connection with the 55 freeway and Riverside County’s 241 freeway.

Overall, the budget includes $267 million for bus operations, including adding 23,000 hours of bus service on high-ridership routes.

Another $580 million will be spent to improve bridges and the 91 freeway.

Metrolink, the rail service to Los Angeles, will receive $20 million, and $16 million will be spent on construction of the Metrolink station in Placentia.