Monthly Archives: March 2014

Toll Booths Removed From 73 Toll Road

This week, two iconic tolls booths were removed from the 73 Toll Road’s Catalina View Mainline Toll Plaza in preparation for the end of cash toll collection on The Toll Roads (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261).

TCA SR-73 toll booth 3

Construction crews used a 40-ton crane with a 94-foot reach to dismantle and remove one toll booth from the southbound 73 Toll Road on Wednesday morning and one toll booth from the northbound 73 Toll Road on Thursday morning. Combined, the toll booths (which measure nearly 19 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 11 feet long) have processed more than 10 million cash transactions since they were opened in 1996.


With the removal of a single toll booth in each direction, two current cash payment lanes will be combined into one wider lane that will be used by trucks when cash toll collection ends on The Toll Roads in May.


For more information on the removal of cash toll collection from The Toll Roads, click here.


video-driveAs The Toll Roads prepare to remove cash toll collection from the roadway in May, new and long-time customers also are preparing for the change.

Below are the most commonly-asked questions from customers via The Toll Roads’ social media (Facebook and Twitter), website and customer call center.


Q.        I’ve signed up for an ExpressAccount, now what do I do?  What lane do I use?

A.         Once you’ve signed up for an ExpressAccount, you may immediately use it on The Toll Roads, driving in the lanes marked “FasTrak” and avoiding the need to stop at toll plazas.

With the new, transponder-free ExpressAccounts, images of a vehicle’s license plate taken on The Toll Roads are linked to an account and the appropriate toll is collected. ExpressAccount customers may choose one of three payment options: prepaid, charge or invoice accounts.

Remember, ExpressAccount only works on The Toll Roads in Orange County (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261). To travel on other tolled bridges, lanes and roads in California —  including the 91 Express Lanes —  you must have a FasTrak account.


Q.        Do I have to switch from FasTrak to one of the new ExpressAccounts?

A.         No. FasTrak customers don’t need to make any changes with the introduction of the new ExpressAccounts. FasTrak is still the preferred way to pay tolls electronically because tolls, on average, are 20 percent lower and FasTrak may be used on all tolled bridges, lanes and roads in California, including the 91 Express Lanes and the LA Metro ExpressLanes. ExpressAccounts use license plate tolling technology and are designed for customers who only use The Toll Roads and use them infrequently.


Q.        I have a FasTrak account. With license plate tolling, can I drive without my transponder?

A.         If you choose to remain a FasTrak customer, you must keep your transponder mounted to your vehicle’s windshield.  This ensures that you are charged the reduced FasTrak toll.

If you choose to switch to an ExpressAccount, which uses images of your license plates to collect tolls and may only be used on the 73, 133, 241 and 261, then you must return your transponder to The Toll Roads and transfer from FasTrak to an ExpressAccount. Please call the customer service center at (949) 727-4800 or visit our walk-in centers in Irvine or San Clemente to process this transaction.


Q.        What are the lights I see now flashing at the toll plaza when I drive through? 

A.         Proven state-of-the-art tolling equipment is being installed at every tolling location in preparation for the removal of cash toll collection in May. The equipment supports FasTrak and the three new ExpressAccount types.

Drivers will notice that the lights on overhead gantries have already changed.  Because the ExpressAccount payments use license plate numbers – instead of FasTrak transponders – to collect tolls, each vehicle’s front and back license plates must now be illuminated so that a photo can be taken.

Formerly, only black and white photos were taken of license plates using infrared lighting to identify vehicles that did not pay the toll.  Now, color images with a greater level of detail are required. These photos ensure that the correct license plate is linked to the corresponding ExpressAccount.  The lights are the same type used on police cars, ambulances and fire trucks around the country as they share the roadway with other drivers.  At The Toll Roads’ tolling locations, the light produces a safe, momentary 200 microsecond flash.


Q.        I signed up for an ExpressAccount with the “charge” option. When and how will I see toll charges on my credit card?

A.         With the new ExpressAccount options, customers may choose three ways to pay:

  • Charge – At the end of each day, customers’ tolls are processed to the credit card on file for each trip on The Toll Roads. You may see a transaction that evening or soon thereafter, depending on your bank.
  • Prepaid – Customers open an account with a prepaid balance and tolls are deducted from the amount whenever they use The Toll Roads.
  • Invoice – Customers are sent an invoice at the close of the month for tolls incurred that month; no need to use a credit card or link a bank account to your account. This account type includes an invoice fee.     


Q.        When is the last day The Toll Roads will be accepting cash on the roads?

A.         Cash toll collection will end in May 2014.TCA is currently working on a final schedule for completing the installation of the new technology and posting new signage on the roads.  An exact date in May for the final day of cash collection will be announced as soon as a date is finalized.


Q.        How will tourists and out-of-town guests use The Toll Roads without cash toll collection?

A.         The Toll Roads have also introduced One-Time-Toll, a payment option designed for infrequent toll road drivers and visitors. They may use The Toll Roads at their convenience and pay their tolls within 48 hours after their trip at or via our free app—all without the need to establish an ExpressAccount or a FasTrak account. The app is available for download by accessing the Apple App Store or Google Play Store from a device and, then, typing in “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads” in the search function.


App in phoneThe Toll Roads’ popular app has reached more than 112,000 downloads, allowing customers to open new accounts and manage existing accounts with ease and convenience using their mobile device.

In May, the entire Toll Roads network (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261) will end cash toll collection, so customers who drive on the roads will never have to stop and pay their tolls. All tolls will be paid electronically through five different options: 1) a FasTrak® account 2) one of three new ExpressAccount™ types or 3) the One-Time-Toll™ option, which does not require the driver to have an account and is designed for infrequent users and visitors.

 “With the removal of cash, The Toll Roads’ app is a convenient way for customers to manage their accounts and pay tolls from wherever they are,” said Lisa Telles, chief communications officer at The Toll Roads.

Originally released in May 2012 (version 2.0 was released in February), the app is available for download by accessing the Apple App Store or Google Play Store from a device and, then, typing in “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads” in the search function. The app allows users to sign up for FasTrak or an ExpressAccount or pay a toll using the One-Time-Toll option within 48 hours after their trip on The Toll Roads.

Customers with a FasTrak or ExpressAccount may use the account management features of the app, including:

  • View account balances
  • Make payments
  • Edit account information
  • Add or remove vehicles, including rental and loaner vehicles
  • Request additional FasTrak transponders
  • Review recent activity.

For the month of February, customers used the app for the following:

  • 828 new accounts (FasTrak or ExpressAccount) were opened
  • 4,259 vehicle updates were made
  • 4,332 payments were made
  • 2,359 payment methods (i.e., updating credit cards on file) were updated
  • 350 people used the One-Time-Toll feature.

For more information about the different account options, please visit An ExpressAccount can only be used on The Toll Roads (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261) and the toll is, on average, 20 percent higher than the toll paid by a FasTrak customer.


Mike%20KramanThe Boards of Directors of the Foothill/Eastern and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) have appointed Michael Kraman as acting chief executive officer of the agencies.  Kraman joined TCA as chief engineer in May 2012 and has a long history in the private sector of leading teams that delivered significant capital projects.

“Mike Kraman is committed to accomplishing TCA’s goals in a financially responsible manner,” said Lisa Bartlett, Chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency.  “He is the right person to lead the agencies as we work toward the May removal of cash toll collection from the roadways and educate drivers about the new ways to pay tolls without stopping.”

During his 30-year career, Kraman has developed complex transportation infrastructure projects including state highways, interchanges, rail and port facilities.  As TCA’s chief engineer, Kraman has been charged with the oversight of environmental planning, engineering design, construction and contracting activities for California’s largest network of toll roads.  As a member of the agencies’ executive team, he has been involved in the strategic outlook and financing for the system, as well as its daily operations.

Prior to joining TCA, Kraman served as the Southern California District Leader for HNTB Corporation – a national infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and construction contractors —   where he was responsible for operations in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.  He served as the design manager for the $1 billion 405 Sepulveda Pass Widening design-build project in West Los Angeles which included its week-long full freeway closure event coined “Carmaggedon” that took place in July 2011.

Kraman earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the United States Coast Guard Academy and a master of science in civil engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  He is a registered professional engineer in California and numerous other states.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead TCA during this important time, when we are seeing both traffic and revenue grow on the 51-mile toll road network,” said Kraman.  “The agencies’ staff is experienced, long-tenured, dedicated and focused on our core mission of improving mobility in Southern California without the use of taxpayer dollars.”


CMS WordingOrange County is currently experiencing Red Flag conditions, meaning that fire danger is high.  When fire danger is high, like it is today, The Toll Roads take a proactive approach to preventing wildfires through education and encouraged vigilance. 

Keep the following motorist safety tips in mind during Red Flag conditions:

DON’T PULL OVER:  Don’t pull over to the side of the road unless absolutely necessary, especially onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that you won’t see, until it’s too late!

DON’T SMOKE:  Don’t smoke when driving and never throw a lit cigarette or burning match out of a car.

NO SPARKS:  Sparks from dragging equipment on vehicles or faulty catalytic converters, especially on older trucks on uphill grades, ignite fires. Make vehicle safety upgrades as needed.

REPORT:  Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire. Many wildland fires are caused by arson.  Report suspicious activity to the OC Fire Authority Arson Tip Line at 1-800-540-8282.

Planter Sign PhotoOn The Toll Roads, during Red Flag conditions, changeable message signs and special toll plaza planter signs carry a warning.  We also provide the above motorist tips for fire safety and prevention via our blog, website, Facebook and Twitter.

We do all of this because we are part OC Fire Watch. Led by Orange County’s Fifth District Supervisor Patricia C. Bates, the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Parks, OC Fire Watch is a countywide program to alert the public when fire dangers are elevated.

More information on OC Fire Watch, including how residents can get involved in the program, can be found at


We’re hiring a controller.

Reporting to the chief financial officer, this individual is responsible for managing the preparation of financial statements and reports. The controller will monitor and confirm the organization’s financial condition and will provide information to and act as a liaison with external auditors.

In addition, this individual will supervise the accounting efforts between the Finance and Toll Operations departments to ensure that all toll and violation transactions are reflected appropriately in the general ledger.

The controller serves as the principal liaison with banking institutions and reviews transfers and disbursements of toll revenues and construction funds. The controller will also establish, monitor and enforce policies and procedures to maintain effective internal controls. Assuring compliance with master indentures of trust, disbursement from trust funds and assisting with forecasts of indenture funds is a responsibility of the controller.

A thorough knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, internal financial controls, auditing principles and practices is required.  This position requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a closely related field
  • Approximately five years professional accounting experience
  • One to two years of public/government experience
  • Two years of auditing experience
  • Two years direct supervision of accounting staff

A CPA license is preferred and a master’s degree is desirable.  The salary range is $98,601 to $147,902 and resumes will be accepted through Friday, March 21, 2014.

For consideration, e-mail, fax or mail your resume with salary history to: Human Resources 
Transportation Corridor Agencies 
125 Pacifica, Suite 100, Irvine, CA  92618 
FAX:  949-754-3467