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OCTA's Goal to Buy the 91 Express Lanes

September 08, 2002

Re "A Map for 91 Express Lanes," Orange County Commentary, Sept. 1:

The Orange County Transportation Authority should be commended for its effort to purchase the 91 Express Lanes. A bill is on Gov. Gray Davis' desk that would allow OCTA to take over the franchise currently held by a private company. OCTA's stated goal is to purchase the lanes so it can construct improvements for the 91 corridor.

Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector John M.W. Moorlach suggests that the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency, the public agency that operates the 73 toll road, should purchase the privately operated 91 Express Lanes.

The San Joaquin Hills agency supports the concept of OCTA's goal to purchase the 91 Express Lanes to eliminate the non-compete clause and allow for construction of new connectors from the 241 to the 91 to ease congestion. Like the San Joaquin Hills agency, OCTA is a public agency run by elected officials who put public interests first.

While the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency appreciates the ideas that Mr. Moorlach brings to the table, we are concentrating on ensuring that the 80,000 people a day who use the 73 toll road are provided a reliable transportation alternative to the area's congested freeways. The use of the 73 together with the 241, 261 and 133 toll roads run by our sister agency total more than 220,000 trips a day, helping to relieve the congestion on I-5 and the El Toro Y.

We are proud of what we have accomplished and are working to ensure that the road continues to be a successful addition to Orange County's transportation network. I would be happy to meet with Mr. Moorlach about any of his ideas so that we can be sure that the best decisions are made for the public regarding the future of transportation.

We are also working toward consolidation of the San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies to provide long-term financial stability for the county's public toll road system.

Long-term financial stability is important for the ultimate goal of completing the public toll road system with the extension of the 241 toll road to I-5 in the San Clemente area.

We wish OCTA luck in their endeavor, and look forward to working together on continuing our common goal of providing the best transportation for Orange County commuters, residents and businesses.

Linda Lindholm

Chairwoman, San Joaquin Hills

Transportation Corridor Agency

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