Blog

Forward Motion, December 2022


Mobility 21 to Host 7th Annual
Sacramento Legislative Reception

Please join the Mobility 21 Board of Directors and Advisory Board Members in honoring California’s transportation leaders at a reception in Sacramento.

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

The Citizen Hotel
926 J Street, Sacramento

Sponsor the Event
$2,000 Host Level
Includes complimentary attendance for 5 and logo on event marketing and signage

$1,000 Support Level
Includes complimentary attendance for 2 and logo on event marketing and signage

$500 Small Business Level
Includes complimentary attendance for 1 and logo on event marketing and signage

Contact Kristin Slocum to sponsor the event.

Registration
$95 Private Sector
$45 Public Sector/Nonprofit
Elected Officials and Elected Staff complimentary

Click here to register.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Brandon Davis
Partner
Nossaman

Brandon Davis is a partner in Nossaman LLP’s Infrastructure Practice Group. He guides public agency clients through all elements of the procurement, construction contract drafting and contract implementation processes for alternative delivery projects in the United States, including large design-build and public-private partnership (P3) projects. His experience ranges from first-of-a-kind highway, bridge and tunnel projects to high-speed trains, commuter rail and people movers. This experience includes complex transportation-related structures, such as major rental-car facilities, toll service centers and administrative office structures. He offers clients a unique perspective on applying alternative delivery methods because he has helped create state design-build and P3 programs – including passage of enabling legislation – in California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Utah. This experience includes representing the Florida Department of Transportation on the procurement and successful implementation of the first two availability payment P3 transactions in the U.S., and both the California Department of Transportation and the City of Los Angeles on their first P3 transactions.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Stephen Polechronis

Senior Vice President
AECOM

Stephen Polechronis is a transportation industry executive and project manager with over 34 years of experience in the industry. His extensive transit project management experience includes development, design, and construction of light rail, heavy rail subway, and commuter rail projects. He is currently serving as the program manager for the Caltrain Downtown Extension for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in San Francisco. Before joining AECOM, he served as a deputy executive officer with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and as a project manager with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. He has broad experience in communicating through public information meetings and various media outlets.

In addition to his project work, Stephen has held a number of executive positions with AECOM, including his recent assignment as Regional Business Line Leader for West Transportation, South. Stephen’s previous assignments with AECOM include responsibility for development of the Latin American transportation initiative, director of West program management, and West Coast regional manager of business development. He has held positions with both P&L and business development responsibility.

Stephen is active in the Woman’s Transportation Seminar, American Public Transportation Authority, Construction Management Association of America, and the Central City Association of Los Angeles.


Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, recently hit the $1 billion milestone, helping fix potholes, enhance safety and synchronize traffic signals.

OCTA Invests More Than $1 Billion in Orange County Streets

Through Measure M, the Orange County Transportation Authority has invested more than $1 billion in Orange County streets and roads since it went into effect in 2011, helping move people more safely and efficiently throughout the county.

That major milestone was recently highlighted for the OCTA Board of Directors, which oversees how the funds are administered to local cities and jurisdictions throughout Orange County.

“The network of streets we have in Orange County is routinely noted as the best in the state and that comes only through careful planning and strong partnerships between OCTA and our cities,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange. “Ultimately, it’s the voters of Orange County who should be thanked for this significant milestone because they had the foresight to support Measure M.”

The voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, first approved in 1990 and renewed in 2006, is expected to generate a total of nearly $15 billion through 2041 to improve Orange County’s transportation network.

The money collected is used to continue building an efficient and sustainable transportation network, with 43% going to improve freeways, 32% going to streets, and 25% going toward public transit. Measure M also helps OCTA, the county’s transportation agency, leverage state and federal money to make improvements.

The funds that go specifically toward streets are distributed both through fair-share formula funding and through competitive grants, helping to fix potholes and resurface streets and to synchronize traffic signals in every community.

Measure M, also known as OC Go, provides money for streets through:

  1. The Regional Capacity Program: Provides competitive funding to improve busy streets and intersections on Orange County’s Master Plan of Arterial Highways.
  2. Regional Traffic Synchronization Program: Provides competitive funding to support projects across city boundaries that synchronize traffic signals to ensure drivers hit the most green lights during peak traffic hours. That includes regularly synchronizing more than 2,000 traffic lights along 750 miles of streets, which reduces congestion and improves air quality.
  3. Local Fair-Share Program: Provides formula-based funds to preserve existing streets and roads and provides other transportation improvements based on the priorities and needs of local agencies.

The more than $1 billion in funds invested in Orange County has helped:

  1. Allow Orange County to keep up with population growth and economic activities
  2. Lead to a more complete roadway network
  3. Provide safety enhancements by repairing sidewalks, upgrading pedestrian amenities with features in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act
  4. Add bike lanes and signage
  5. Relieve congestion, lessening stop-and-go traffic and benefitting the environment through green-house gas reductions
  6. Maintain Orange County’s standing as having the best pavement conditions in the state.

OCTA will continue investing the money collected through Measure M as Orange County’s transportation network evolves and grows.

For additional information, visit www.ocgo.com/streets.


Valarie McFall Appointed Interim CEO of Transportation Corridor Agencies

McFall will lead the Agencies until a permanent CEO is announced

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) today announced that their two Boards of Directors have unanimously appointed Valarie McFall Interim CEO effective immediately.

McFall is a respected, award-winning industry veteran with more than a quarter century of transportation, environmental and external affairs acumen.

“Valarie has proven her mettle as our Acting CEO and will approach her new role with a true sense of purpose and leadership,” said Will O’Neill, Chair of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency and Newport Beach City Council Member. “She has a strong understanding of the Agencies, our staff, our Boards and the goals of our seven-year Strategic Plan. She’s the right leader at the right time.”

“Valarie has always been a great leader. Over the last seven years she has been an invaluable resource for me as she helped me navigate the world of transportation. Without her guidance it would have been very difficult to deliver the projects that are so important for Orange County and, in particular, South Orange County,” said Joseph Muller, Vice Chair of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and Dana Point City Council Member. “I am proud to be part of the decision to appoint her Interim CEO. She is definitely the right leader at the right time.”

Since joining TCA in 2000, McFall has held several increasingly senior positions. Prior to being named the first Deputy CEO in 2020, she served as Chief Environmental Planning Officer, responsible for managing the Agencies’ 17 mitigation sites spanning more than 2,200 acres of protected open space. Her efforts yielded significant results, including the preservation of multiple key properties throughout Orange County to ensure the continued presence of important native habitat for wildlife species and the protection of core wildlife linkages running from the coast to the inland portion of the county. Her expertise in public policy has proven instrumental to TCA’s completion of the South County Traffic Relief Effort and advancing the 241/91 Express Connector Project — two critically-important, large-scale projects that will provide countywide and regional congestion relief.

“I’m honored by the Boards’ unanimous selection and take the responsibility of leading TCA’s talented team very seriously,” McFall said. “I look forward to leveraging the successful partnerships and collaborations that I have established over the years to keep TCA at the forefront of the tolling industry and The Toll Roads as a vital transportation link in Southern California.”

McFall is a past recipient of the Orange County Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar’s (WTS-OC) Woman of the Year Award, which honors a woman who is a leader in transportation and has made an outstanding contribution to the transportation industry.

McFall earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis and design from the University of California, Irvine. She is an active member of WTS-OC, serves on the board of directors for the Natural Communities Coalition of Orange County and is a member of the Southern California Association of Government’s Technical Working Group. She is past vice chair of the Center for Demographic Research at California State University, Fullerton and past vice chair of education for the Urban Land Institute’s Infrastructure Initiative Council.

McFall was named Acting CEO in September. She will serve as Interim CEO until TCA’s Boards of Directors identify a permanent replacement through a national recruitment expected to commence in January 2023.


RCTC completed construction of the Route 60 Truck Lanes this spring, providing a safer connection between the Coachella Valley and western Riverside County. The project required excavation of 2.1 million cubic yards of dirt through the Badlands. The project was one of five capital projects that RCTC delivered in 2022.

California Transportation Commission Visit Allows RCTC and SBCTA to Showcase Projects and Discuss Regional Needs

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) returned to Riverside on December 7 and 8, its first visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting offered an opportunity for CTC members to see the growing Inland Empire in-person and for host agencies Riverside County Transportation Commission and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) to present highway and passenger rail milestones and reiterate the challenge we face as a region.

“RCTC and SBCTA are leading the way by delivering capital projects, passenger rail, and transit services to a diverse and highly mobile population,” said RCTC First Vice Chair and Lake Elsinore City Council member Bob Magee, who opened the meeting and introduced the executive directors of both agencies before airing a jointly produced video.

The video spotlighted five capital projects that RCTC delivered in 2022 – the Route 60 Truck Lanes, the 91 Corridor Operations Project, the I-15 Interim Corridor Operations Project, the I-15 Railroad Canyon Road Interchange, and the I-215 Placentia Avenue Interchange. Additionally, RCTC certified its Tier 1 environmental studies for Coachella Valley Rail, a planned 144-mile passenger rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. This certification clears a path for in-depth environmental studies to advance this daily intercity rail service to final design and construction.

In San Bernardino County, SBCTA is finishing its I-10 Express Lanes Project and widening of Route 210, constructing new bridges in San Bernardino and Barstow, as well as 15 interchanges throughout the San Bernardino Valley. In October, the agency opened its Arrow service, providing a new passenger rail connection for southern California residents.

RCTC and SBCTA also work together to promote ridesharing through the IE Commuter program, which encourages carpooling, vanpooling, public transit use, bicycling and walking to work.

Even with the progress made in 2022, Inland Empire residents continue to face heavy traffic congestion, the impacts of goods movement, and limited multimodal options, all of which impede access to jobs and detract from our quality of living.

As the 12th most populous metro area in the United States, the Inland Empire ranks in the top five in growth nationwide. This growth is a result of the region’s affordable living combined with the 300,000 new housing units required to meet the state’s housing plan, further underscoring the need for and importance of expanded transportation solutions.

RCTC and SBCTA are working together at local, regional, state, and federal levels to bring new transportation investments to inland southern California and continue to move the needle to deliver more mobility options than ever before.


One of the Port Of Hueneme’s Air Quality Monitoring Stations is located atop a building at Haycox Elementary School in Oxnard, Calif.

Port of Hueneme Scores Big with EPA Receiving a $500,000 Grant for Air Quality Monitoring

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced their selections for the American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring Competitive Grant. The Port of Hueneme was selected among 131 other projects, in 37 states, to receive a portion of the $53.4 million allocated to conduct air monitoring of pollutants in communities across the country with environmental and health outcome disparities stemming from pollution and the pandemic.

The EPA awarded the Port of Hueneme $500,000 for its “Ventura County Community Air Quality Monitoring Network” project that will expand the Port’s existing monitoring network by installing four air monitoring stations to better understand and communicate air pollution burden from freight and transportation networks in the Oxnard Plain.

“This EPA grant is significant for the Port because it will continue to provide resources needed to
better understand air quality challenges in local neighborhoods,” said Oxnard Harbor District
President, Mary Anne Rooney. “The Port is committed to environmental stewardship and expanding air quality monitoring efforts is an important part of our goals.”

Miguel Rodriguez, the Port’s Community Outreach Manager, said this grant award highlights the importance of air quality monitoring in the community that began in 2019 when the Port purchased and installed an EPA reference grade air quality monitor to address air quality concerns in South Oxnard.

“This grant provides continuation — on a broader scale — for us to continue doing this work through partnership and collaboration with California State University Channel Islands and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas among others,” Rodriguez said. “This is an important step toward gathering data and creating meaningful opportunities for engagement for those who are in frontline communities adjacent to industry and who will benefit from the information gathered which will help craft and inform future environmental policy in our region.”

The Port will develop a community-based team to create communication tools that facilitate understanding of the monitored air quality data, including a multilingual website to provide public access to the data with a focus on engaging with underserved communities.

Giles Pettifor, the Port’s Environmental Manager, said the Port has been investing in new technology to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the community for more than a decade.

“Since 2008, the Port’s emissions from diesel particulate matter have decreased by greater than 80 percent as a result of this technology,” Pettifor said. “The Port is investing tens of millions of dollars installing significant new electrification infrastructure in the next five years that will further reduce these emissions to even lower levels in pursuit of a zero emissions future.”

“This is a win for the Port in terms of continuing our efforts to further improve ambient air quality monitoring in our neighboring communities,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. “This funding is crucial to providing real-time, ongoing air quality information as well as providing additional enhanced air quality monitoring stations.”

The air pollution monitoring projects selected by the EPA are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.

According to a news release issued by the EPA, these air monitoring projects include the first EPA grants funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“The air monitoring projects will ensure dozens of overburdened communities have the tools they need to better understand air quality challenges in their neighborhoods and will help protect people from the dangers posed by air pollution,” said EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan.

About the Port of Hueneme The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. The Port is governed by five locally elected Port Commissioners. The Port consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $2.2 billion in economic activity and creating 20,032 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $173.2 million in direct and related state and local taxes, which fund vital community services. In 2017, the Port of Hueneme became the first port in California to become Green Marine certified and was voted the Greenest Port in the U.S. at the Green Shipping Summit. www.portofh.org.

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