Jul 6, 2017 (SACRAMENTO) California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) today won the Senate Government and Finance Committee’s approval of her legislation to make San Diego County transportation planning and funding more accountable, transparent and responsive to community needs.
The Senate finance panel specifically focused its review of the bill on the component of AB 805 that would break the San Diego Association of Government’s monopoly on proposing tax measures for transportation projects by allowing the county’s two transit agencies – the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the North County Transit District – to approach voters for that purpose.
“SANDAG is failing to do its job on public transit, greenhouse gas reduction, and meeting even the most basic standards of accountability and transparency,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. “Mismanagement and truth-bending may cause voters to distrust SANDAG with the management of their transportation dollars, so we need to allow the region’s transit agencies to step up to the plate and propose way to finance projects that keep San Diego County moving.”
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) was established in state law to administer transportation planning and funding in San Diego County. Recently, SANDAG has been at the center of a number of controversies, including the discovery that SANDAG officials deliberately misinformed voters on Measure A by not correcting revenue estimates SANDAG officials knew were false. SANDAG’s greenhouse gas reduction plans were so inadequate that legal challenges against SANDAG have escalated to the California Supreme Court. And local transit advocates have long been critical of SANDAG’s meager investments in public transit.
AB 805 makes a number of changes to the governing structure of SANDAG. The bill requires SANDAG to hire a full-time auditor to monitor spending and financial decisions. The decision making process will be adjusted so voting is more proportional and representative of the community at large. Additionally, AB 805 allows North County Transit and the Metropolitan Transit System to seek revenues directly from the voters to fund transit projects.