Six cities in Orange County will receive funding to expand the reach of transit programs
By Andrea Papagianis
Dana Point has been approved for $2.45 million in transit grant funding to create and maintain a summer weekend and special events shuttle, expected on the roads early next year.
The funding is part an Orange County Transportation Authority project approval announced early this week in which five area municipalities were awarded a total of $9.8 million to fund new and expanded transit services throughout their communities served.
“We are thrilled to partner with cities to provide additional transit services for our growing communities,” said OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom. “These dollars will allow cities to operate new services that best fit the needs of their residents.”
Part of the OCTA’s Project V, which encouraged cities to develop community-based transit systems to fit area needs, the grant will allow the city to implement two, summer weekend services, one down Pacific Coast Highway and the second from Dana Hills High School to the OC Dana Point Harbor. Project V is funded by Measure M2, a half-cent sales tax collected for transportation improvements, which was approved by Orange County voters in 2006.
With the funding, the city will also be able to implement a year-round shuttle service from DHHS for special events like the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s Turkey Trot, the Ocean Institute’s Tall Ships Festival and the city’s Summer Concerts in the Park. The special events shuttle is expected to be operational for the two-weekend Festival of Whales next March, according to Brad Fowler, director of public works and engineering. The city has plans to offer the service on a no fare basis, he said.
To kick-start the program the city needs an estimated $120,000 to build out new bus stops and $260,000 for shuttle operation and maintenance. Additionally, startup marketing and advertising costs are estimated at $75,000, but would lower after the first year, a city staff report said. The transit grant will cover 90 percent of capital and operational costs.
The city currently has $1 million in Coastal Transit Program funds in the bank earmarked specifically for transit—remaining from the 2008 failed tri-city trolley—that can be spent at a rate of $100,000 a year. In order to use these funds, the city must acquire California Coastal Commission approval. Now with OCTA confirmation, the city will move forward in obtaining bids for contracting shuttle services and construction of the new shuttle stops.
Four other city’s projects were awarded funding by OCTA, they include:
• Huntington Beach was allotted about $90,000 for special event shuttle services for Independence Day and the U.S. Open of Surfing competition.
• La Harba was approved for around $3.4 million in funding for a year-round service with stops at St. Jude Hospital and the Fullerton Transportation Center.
• Laguna Beach will be awarded about $3.6 million to expand its seasonal festival service and to add a new off-season trolley during spring and winter months.
• Lake Forest was awarded around $75,000 for van service from the Irvine train station to Oakley, Inc. and $149,000 for van service from the train station to Ossur Americas.