Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

ORANGE – During the last 20 years, more than 277 million trips have been taken on the 91 Express Lanes and, under the innovative leadership of the Orange County Transportation Authority, more than $2 billion has been dedicated in Orange and Riverside counties to improve transportation along the Riverside (SR-91) Freeway.

This month, OCTA is marking the 20th anniversary of taking over ownership and operations of the 91 Express Lanes, which in Orange County consists of 10 miles in each direction between SR-55 in Anaheim and Riverside County.

“When you look back at the last two decades and the millions of people who have traveled the 91 Express Lanes since OCTA took over ownership and operations, you see a great example of how improving transportation truly enhances people’s lives,” said OCTA Chairman Gene Hernandez, also the Mayor of Yorba Linda. “The pioneering work OCTA has done on the 91 Express Lanes has given commuters a reliable, time-saving option and has also led to billions of dollars invested for everyone who travels the 91 corridor through Orange and Riverside counties.”

The success of the 91 Express Lanes dates back to January 2003, when OCTA spent approximately $208 million to buy the lanes from a private for-profit company. The purchase eliminated a so-called “non-compete clause” that had previously prohibited any improvements from being made to regular lanes of the 91 freeway adjacent to the toll lanes.

OCTA directors had the foresight to envision how purchasing the toll lanes would lead to a more valuable investment for everyone who travels between the established job centers of Orange County and the booming housing centers in the Inland Empire.

Since OCTA’s purchase of the 91 Express Lanes, excess toll revenues have led to more than $2 billion being earmarked or spent by both OCTA and the Riverside County Transportation Commission to improve the regular 91 lanes and make other transportation improvements, and another $1 billion in multimodal improvements are planned over the next 20 years.

The public can see more about how those improvements have been made at

The 91 Express Lanes has become an international tolling model. It was the first in the world to use transponders and pioneered congestion-management pricing – setting tolls based on traffic demand.

OCTA also has established a reputation for conservative investments, proactive management, and forward-thinking improvements, leading to strong financial ratings, including an AA- rating from S&P Global Ratings.

The success of the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County led to a $1.4 billion investment by the RCTC, which included extending the lanes in 2017 for an additional eight miles.

“We are proud of the model the 91 Express Lanes has become for providing a quicker, more reliable commute for those who choose to use the lanes,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “We’re also thankful for the strong partnership we’ve cultivated with our counterparts at RCTC, recognizing that traffic doesn’t stop at county lines and regional collaboration is the best approach to keeping pace with the growth in Southern California.”

About OCTA:

The Orange County Transportation Authority is the county transportation planning commission, responsible for funding and implementing transit and capital projects for a balanced and sustainable transportation system that reflects the diverse travel needs of the county’s 34 cities and 3.2 million residents. With the mission of keeping Orange County moving, this includes freeways and express lanes, bus and rail transit, rideshare, commuter rail and active transportation. To sign up for more OCTA news, visit

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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