Transportation Corridor Agencies February Board Meeting Highlights
Highlights from the Joint San Joaquin Hills and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies February 8 Board Meeting
Irvine, Calif. - February 08, 2024
Toll Roads Mobile App Maintenance Contract Approved
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (SJHTCA) Boards of Directors approved a three-year contract with Axiom xCell Inc. for maintenance and enhancement services for The Toll Roads mobile app. Future enhancements to the app would allow new features such as Google Pay, Android Pay and push notifications.
The Agencies have experienced significant success with The Toll Roads app, which was originally developed in 2013. The current version, launched in 2016, has grown in use due to its convenience to toll road customers:
- Average of 35,000 new downloads per month
- Approximately 186,000 active users monthly
- 22% of payments are made via the app
Recognized by The International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association (IBTTA) for a Toll Excellence Award in the technology category, The Toll Roads app is a cost-effective tool allowing users to quickly and easily pay a toll, sign up for an account, manage an existing account, request a transponder, or add/delete vehicles from an account.
Investment Banking Services Contract Approved
F/ETCA and SJHTCA Boards of Directors unanimously approved the selection of BofA Securities, Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC, and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as the firms to provide investment banking services for a five-year term. Engagement of an investment banking team enables the Agencies to receive support in meeting the Boards of Directors’ Strategic Plan goals of debt reduction and additional opportunities to further enhance the Agencies’ strong financial position.
In recent years, TCA has focused on bond refundings, early bond paydowns and open market bond buybacks, which has been accomplished with the assistance of the investment banking team. Since 2019, these actions have reduced debt service by $1.39 billion ($1.05 billion in interest and $335 million principal), including the F/ETCA Board approved early paydown of $60 million of 2013A Senior Lien bonds in January that reduced future interest payments by $54 million.
By 2030, the Agencies plan to pay down another $902 million of bonds early, saving an additional $806 million in interest. This future debt reduction, when combined with the current reductions of $1.39 billion, will collectively reduce debt by $3.1 billion by 2030.
Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) Appoints New Chief Financial Officer
Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CFO) Howard Mallen was introduced at the February 8 meeting. As CFO, Mallen is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and monitoring TCA’s fiscal activities and long-term financial planning as directed by the Boards of Directors.
Mallen joined TCA in 2013 as the Director of Finance and was promoted to Senior Director of Finance in 2020. During his tenure, Mallen has played a role in the Agencies’ bond refundings and early bond paydowns that have reduced debt by nearly $1.4 billion since 2019, the management of the Agencies’ $1.7 billion investment portfolios, the conversion to all-electronic tolling, the transition to 6C tolling technology (sticker transponders), the elimination of customer account maintenance fees, and, most recently, the conversion to a new customer service back-office system in 2023.
With over 30 years of finance experience in both the public and private sectors, Mallen has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1995, is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA).
Mallen assumes the CFO role from Amy Potter, who has been serving a dual role as CFO and Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Potter will continue to serve the Agencies as Deputy CEO.