About Us > Background & History

Background & History

The Beginning

Studies conducted during the 1970s identified that several new roads were needed to serve Orange County's booming population. Roughly sketched into county road plans by 1981, the future San Joaquin Hills, Foothill and Eastern corridors were so-named because road planners wanted to keep all transportation options available.

Innovative Government and Funding

But the money to build these new corridors was nowhere in sight. Compact, fuel-efficient vehicles were popular, gas purchases plummeted and, as a result, revenue from gas taxes declined as statewide maintenance needs for aging highways grew. Local officials looked to their own backyard for seed money that would demonstrate their commitment to building these roads.  The seed money was in the form of development impact fees assessed on new construction under Section 66484.3 of the California Government Code.

Two Joint Powers Authorities were organized under the provisions of state law and a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreements (JPA) among the County of Orange and certain cities within the County to plan, design, finance, construct and operate major thoroughfares and bridges in Orange County.  In 1987, Senate Bill 1413 passed, giving the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) the authority to construct the new roads as toll facilities and issue bonds backed by future toll revenues and development impact fees.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency  JPA members include the County of Orange and the cities of Anaheim, Dana Point, Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin and Yorba Linda.

The San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency JPA members include the County of Orange and the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ana.

Public Infrastructure, Private Investment

The San Joaquin Hills (SR 73), Foothill (SR 241) and Eastern (SRs 241/261/133) Toll Roads were the first public highways to be constructed in Orange County since 1987 when the Costa Mesa (SR 55) Freeway was extended by four miles. Remarkably, The Toll Roads - which are owned and maintained by the state of California -- were built with virtually no taxpayer dollars.

Construction of The Toll Roads were funded through the sale of bonds to both private individuals and institutional investors. The bonds can only be repaid by future tolls and development fees. Since the bonds are not backed by the government, taxpayers are not responsible for repaying the debt if future toll revenues fall short. Today, toll and development impact fee revenue go toward retiring the construction debt, funding additional improvements and covering costs of operating The Toll Roads.

Commitment to the Future

As the region's population increases and the economy grows, TCA works toward ensuring that The Toll Roads remain valuable, congestion-free alternatives to local freeways.

TCA is committed to excellent customer service, improving mobility and preserving our quality of life now and in the future.