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Project Profile: 91 Express Lanes

91 Express Lanes

photo credit: OCTA


Orange County, California

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Orange County Transportation Authority

Program Areas

Tolling and Pricing


Highway / Managed Lanes


The 91 Express Lanes is a 10-mile, four-lane express toll-lane facility in the median of SR-91 in Southern California from the Riverside County Line east to SR-55 near Anaheim in Orange County. The facility consists of two lanes in each direction and is separated from five general purpose lanes in each direction by tubular markers. There are single points of access and egress on each end with no intermediate entrances or exits. Tolls on the facility vary by direction of travel, time of day, and day of week on a fixed schedule that is reviewed quarterly for possible adjustment.

The 91 Express Lanes opened in December 1995 as one of four P3 demonstration projects approved by the State Legislature through California Assembly Bill 680 in 1989. The project was conceived and delivered using a design-build-finance-operate-maintain contract method. A private consortium, California Private Transportation Company (CPTC), financed and built the facility, transferred ownership to the state (Caltrans), and was to operate the lanes for 35 years. While CPTC maintained control over the tolls, the state contract capped the rate of return. The contract also included a non-compete clause that prohibited capacity improvements to the SR-91's general purpose lanes.

Because of a dispute over the non-compete clause, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) purchased the operating franchise for the 91 Express Lanes in January 2003 for $207.5 million. The purchase eliminated the clause and has permitted the recent general purpose lane expansion from four to five lanes in each direction.

In 2014, the Riverside County Transportation Commission initiated a $1.3 billion project to extend the 91 Express Lanes into Riverside County by eight miles from the Orange County line to I-15. The extension is expected to open in January 2017.


$135 million (original capital construction cost, YOE)

$207.5 million (purchase price, 2003 $)

Funding Sources

Original construction

  • Variable-rate bank loan (14.5 years) - $65 million
  • Fixed-rate bank loan (24 years) - $35 million
  • OCTA subordinated loan - $7 million
  • Private equity - $20 million

OCTA purchase

  • Taxable toll revenue bonds (assumed from CPTC) - $135 million (debt service provided by $83.6 million internal OCTA loan, refinanced in Nov. 2003 as $200 million in tax-exempt toll revenue bonds)
  • Cash (internal reserves) - $72.5 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) franchise (1995-2003)

Private Partner

DBFOM franchisee - California Private Transportation Company (Dec. 1995 - Jan. 2003)

  • Peter Kiewit Sons, Inc.
  • Granite Construction, Inc.
  • Cofiroute S.A. (operator)

Operator (2003-present)

  • Cofiroute USA
Project Advisors / Consultants

Not available


Original construction

  • Citicorp USA
  • Banque National de Paris
  • Societe Generale
  • Deutsche Bank
  • CIGNA Investments
Duration / Status

The project opened to traffic in December 1995. In January 2003, the operating franchise was sold to OCTA.

Financial Status Closed
  • First priced managed lane facility in the United States
  • First tolled facility with 100 percent electronic toll collection


Related Links / Articles

91 Express Lanes Website

OCTA 91 Express Lanes Website


Kirk Avila
General Manager / Treasurer
Orange County Transportation Authority
Tel: (714) 560-6282

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