The Orange County Transportation Authority recently appointed Kirk Avila, a leader in toll-road finance and policy management, as the newly created general manager of Express Lanes Programs.
Avila, who has successfully managed the 91 Express lanes for the past 12 years, will also manage the express lanes program for the I-405 Express Lanes, including budget, operations and strategic planning. The express lane project has the potential to impact Sun Region communities such as Seal Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos.
“Kirk has earned the respect of his colleagues at OCTA and throughout the industry for his leadership skills guiding the success of the 91 Express Lanes and the development of the 405 Express Lanes,” said OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson. “We are fortunate to have his knowledge and abilities in this role as we begin to build, and will soon operate, this new managed-lanes facility, a vital improvement to Orange County’s transportation system.”
Avila began his career with OCTA in 1991, holding various positions in the Finance and Administration division, including department manager of Treasury/Public Finance.
OCTA purchased the 91 Express Lanes from a private company in 2002, and in 2006, Avila took over management of the lanes in addition to his duties in the treasury department. Under his leadership, the 91 Express Lanes has become a model for congestion-management pricing throughout the United States and internationally.
Avila played a significant role working with the Riverside County Transportation Commission to expand the 91 Express Lanes into Riverside County. He also has been a key contributor in developing the 405 Express Lanes project, including creating the toll policy and securing a $629 million federal loan from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).
OCTA, in cooperation with Caltrans, is leading the I-405 Improvement Project between State Route 73 in Costa Mesa and Interstate 605 at the Orange County border with Los Angeles County.
The design-build project will add one general-purpose lane in each direction of the I-405 between Euclid Street and I-605, as promised to voters through Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.
The 16-mile improvement project will also add a second lane in each direction that will be combined with the existing carpool lane to provide dual tolled lanes on I-405 between SR-73 and I-605, called the 405
The project is set to break ground in early 2018 and scheduled to open in 2023.
Avila began his new role this week. Recruitment is underway to fill his former duties in the Treasury/Public Finance department.