Blog

Forward Motion, October 2021

Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Hasan Ikhrata

Chief Executive Officer
San Diego Association of Governments

Considered one of the preeminent transportation planning experts in the nation, Hasan Ikhrata is the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). SANDAG is the leading research, planning, and transportation agency for the San Diego region. The agency builds consensus; makes strategic plans; obtains and allocates resources; plans, engineers, and builds public transportation, and provides information on a broad range of topics pertinent to the region’s quality of life. Agency policymakers are elected officials from each of the area’s 18 cities and the county. Hasan leads a staff of over 350 professionals who develop public policy initiatives for elected officials on numerous issues encompassing population growth, transportation, environmental management, economic development, municipal finance, binational coordination, and public safety.

Hasan has more than 35 years of public and private sector transportation planning experience. As Chief Executive Officer of SANDAG, he directs day‐to‐day operations of the agency and implements policies set by its Board of Directors. In addition, Hasan is the Chief Executive Officer of the SANDAG Service Bureau, the nonprofit public benefit corporation chartered by SANDAG.

Hasan has received several awards and honors from various organizations and agencies including the American Society of Public Administration, Southern California Leadership Council, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange County Business Council, League of California Cities, City of Los Angeles, State of California, Association of the San Bernardino County Special Districts, the Building Industry Association, regional chapters of the Women’s Transportation Seminar, and numerous others.

Hasan holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil and Industrial Engineering from Zaporozhye University in the former Soviet Union, a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA, and a PhD Candidacy in Urban Planning and Transportation from the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining SANDAG in 2018, Hasan worked for Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Hasan is an adjunct professor in the business school at California State University, Northridge.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Steve Huff, PE

Vice President, Transportation
Business Development  (West Region)
Michael Baker International

Steve Huff, PE is Vice President, Transportation Business Development in the West Region for Michael Baker International (Michael Baker). In this role, he advances the practice while supporting a robust team of transportation professionals throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington (Seattle) on projects ranging in size and complexity.

Based in Orange County (CA), Steve has spent nearly four decades working with public- and private-sector clients to improve transportation infrastructure. His experience has included the planning and design of major highway improvements and management of complex interstate freeway projects totaling more than $6 billion in construction cost. During his 38-year career with Michael Baker, Steve has worked extensively with clients including Caltrans, OCTA, TCA, Metro, RCTC, and SBCTA. Most recently, Steve completed his role as Design Manager for SBCTA’s $673 million I-10 Corridor Express Lanes Design-Build Project, which is now 18 months into construction. He also is Project Principal for the SBCTA I-15 Express Lanes PS&E Project.

Steve’s leadership style employs an integrated, collaborative approach to project delivery. He draws on Michael Baker’s extensive highway design and design-build experience nationwide, in addition to our local team’s long-established reputation for delivering significant infrastructure projects across California. This approach has resulted in year-over-year growth of Michael Baker’s transportation practice, which fosters opportunities for young professionals and seasoned experts to work on exciting projects at every level while advancing their careers.

In addition to his role as a Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member, Steve is Co-Chairman of the Caltrans District 12 Professional Liaison Committee and member of the Caltrans Statewide Professional Liaison Committee. He is currently President of the ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies)
Los Angeles County Chapter, and an active member of WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar).

Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and is a registered civil engineer in California. He and his wife, Satomi, live in Orange County and have two daughters (21 and 17 years old).


South County’s Transportation Future Solidified Through Agencies’ Joint Agreement

The Orange County Transportation Authority, County of Orange and City of San Clemente all recently approved a Cooperative Agreement to support a trio of south Orange County transportation projects that will meet near-term congestion relief needs while minimizing impacts on local communities.

This Cooperative Agreement follows more than two decades of discussions regarding the proposed toll road extension through protected open space in both San Mateo State Park, near San Onofre State Beach and the City of San Clemente. Significant efforts to finally resolve the issue emerged in the past two years with the involvement and leadership of Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, OCTA, City of San Clemente and County of Orange.

“Being able to bring key players to the table and create a blueprint for addressing community concerns and developing local solutions to improve mobility in South County, is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Orange County Supervisor and OCTA Director, Lisa Bartlett, who led the collaborative effort to find an agreement. “Residents can rest easy knowing what the future holds for transportation projects and planning efforts in the City of San Clemente’s backyard and throughout the region.”

“For decades, residents in San Clemente have spoken loud and clear about the importance of preserving our open space and protecting the character of our community,” said San Clemente Mayor Kathy Ward. “Thanks to this agreement, we can finally focus on common-sense traffic solutions to ensure our City and our neighboring cities remain desirable places to live, work and visit.”

“I am heartened to see the spirit of cooperation in Orange County that has allowed transportation leaders to come together to address the environmental concerns of residents and local businesses, and create an agreement for the future of mobility in South Orange County,” said Senator Pat Bates. “Therefore, I am happy to withdraw Senate Bills 760 and 761, which were the impetus for regional leaders to come together to author this cooperative agreement.”

As previously approved, the near-term projects spelled out in the Cooperative Agreement to improve South County mobility include:

  • Construction of the Los Patrones Parkway Extension as a non-tolled county arterial from its current terminus at Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata in San Clemente
  • OCTA’s and Caltrans’ efforts to complete high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane improvements on Interstate 5 between Avenida Pico and the San Diego County Line
  • The Ortega Highway (SR-74) widening in San Juan Capistrano from two lanes to four lanes between Calle Entradero and the city/county border

OCTA, Transportation Corridor Agencies, and Caltrans agreed on those three projects in March 2020, in lieu of extending the SR-241 Toll Road. The approach supports protection of previously approved conservation easements and protected lands within San Clemente, is consistent with OCTA’s commitment to follow a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process that provides all partner agencies and stakeholders opportunities to engage and provide input.

Reaffirming the commitment to those projects, the Cooperative Agreement was approved by OCTA on Oct. 11 and by the County and City at their meetings on Oct. 5. In part, the agreement states the County of Orange and OCTA “will not build, support or authorize a new major thoroughfare in the City in an area that is subject to a conservation easement or is protected as open space under a local initiative.”

Additionally, the agencies agreed that OCTA, as the state-designated County Transportation Commission, will work with stakeholders to plan any necessary long-term improvements.

OCTA is currently underway on its South Orange County Multimodal Transportation Study that is looking at a wide range of transportation needs and solutions over the next 25 years, including improvements to streets, bus and other transit options, highways and bikeways. This study, expected to be finished in spring 2022, includes participation of key stakeholders and follows on a similar study that was done in 2008, which resulted in a more than $1.5 billion investment in south county transportation projects and services. In addition, OCTA is working on the 2022 Long Range Transportation Plan, developed every four years and expected to be complete fall 2022, which serves as the vision for Orange County’s future transportation needs.


2022 Discounted Metro Fares are Coming!

To keep riders and our employees safe, we suspended front door boarding on our buses in March 2020 at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also relaxed our rules requiring riders to use the farebox and TAP validator.
With vaccinations well underway and mask wearing on our system required, we will resume front door boarding only and fare collection on Jan. 10, 2022.

We’re working to make sure everyone knows about these changes well in advance. Some big discounts are also coming to our fares.

Need help paying for your rides? We’re also making it easier for you to apply for our Low-Income Fare Is Easy (LIFE) program and providing deeper discounts.

6 Months of discounted LIFE fares:

$26 for a 30-day pass (regularly $76)

$6.50 for a 7-day pass (regularly $19.50).

Additionally, new LIFE riders will get 90 days of free rides starting January 10, 2022, when fare collection restarts.

6 months of half price passes for all riders: We’re cutting the price of our regular passes in half for all customers to make riding easy and affordable.

We will be offering 1-Day, 7-Day and 30-Day passes at half-price savings that riders can start using on Jan. 10. That means you will pay only $3.50 for a day pass, $12.50 for a weekly pass and $50 for a 30-day pass if you are not enrolled in a discounted program.

The fares will be available on our TAP vending machines, taptogo.net and at Metro Customer Centers and will be available for purchase beginning Dec. 15 until July 20, 2022.

Meet the Metro Student GoPass:

Our GoPass fareless program for students allows K-12 and community college students at participating schools and/or school districts in L.A. County to obtain passes to ride the Metro System (and participating transit operators) for free through June 30, 2023.

We’ve had significant interest in our GoPass pilot program — more than 40 districts are in the process of signing up. Earlier this month the Los Angeles Unified School District — the largest district in our region — announced they will partner with Metro on this important program. This will help students reach school and other destinations — and save their families money that can be used for other expenses.

To check if your district is on the list, click here.


SCAG’s Annual Southern California Economic Summit Registration Now Open

On Thursday, Dec. 2, SCAG will be hosting the 12th annual Southern California Economic Summit virtually, focusing on the theme From Inclusive Recovery to Inclusive Growth! While we had hoped to be able to convene in person, out of an abundance of caution we are pivoting to a virtual event model.

This summit will come at a time when the regional economy is still recovering from a time of unprecedented crisis.

The program will feature the debut of new research and analysis on the state of the region’s economy, expert commentary on the issue of how to keep Southern California competitive, and a laundry list of funding programs and innovative approaches to kickstarting inclusive economic growth.

We are also excited to announce that Senator Susan Rubio will be joining us as a special guest speaker, sharing updates on economic initiatives in the California legislature. We will also be honoring her for championing Southern California’s economic empowerment.

Register today to join civic and business leaders from across Southern California for this vital conversation on how we can further our economic recovery and build strength and resilience in a post-COVID world.

Elected officials and city managers of SCAG’s member jurisdictions may attend for free. For more information, visit scag.ca.gov/economicsummit.


The County of Riverside and RCTC are seeking public comments on a proposed 1.7-mile extension of the Santa Ana River Trail in Corona.

Riverside County Regional Parks Seeks Public Comments for
Proposed Santa Ana River Trail Extension

The Santa Ana River Trail may become a little longer, thanks to a proposal by the Riverside County Transportation Commission and the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District to extend the trail another 1.7 miles near the Green River Golf Club in Corona. The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft environmental document through November 8.

A magnet for cyclists, runners, and walkers, the trail, also known as “the SART,” is envisioned to be the longest multi-use trail in southern California, stretching 110 miles from Huntington Beach to the National Forest boundary near Mentone. RCTC is working on multiple segments to fill gaps in the SART between Green River Road in Corona to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area east of Norco.

The 1.7-mile trail segment that is undergoing public review runs along the western boundary of the golf club and includes portions of Chino Hills State Park with connections to the existing SART. Key features include a bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and a bridge over Aliso Creek to allow trail users to cross safely over the tracks and the creek. The proposed project features a dual-track Class 1 multi-use path and natural surface trail.

During preparation of the draft document under the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act, the Regional Park and Open Space District determined that the project would not result in a significant impact to the environment.

Copies of the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration and other reference documents are available for review at Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District, 4600 Crestmore Rd., Jurupa Valley, CA 92509. These documents are also available for viewing and download.

If approved, construction could begin in about two years. This $11 million construction segment is funded by the Proposition 84 State Coastal Conservancy.

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