On Monday, the Assembly Transportation Committee will hear SB 1545 (DeSaulnier) which will require the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to seek judicial review of their purchase of a new headquarters in San Francisco unless the State Auditor determines that MTC had full legal authority to purchase the building and to use toll payer revenues for the purchase.
The following information is from the Office of Senator Mark DeSaulnier:
“The Legislature gave MTC specific and narrow authority to collect and spend bridge toll revenues,” said DeSaulnier, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This bill protects the interests of the taxpayers by seeking to make sure that MTC is acting within that authority. This bill is a common sense response to independent findings of questionable actions by MTC.”
In an opinion dated May 4th, the independent California Legislative Counsel determined that MTC’s purchase of an office, “was not authorized by law.”
SB 1545 had originally prohibited MTC from spending any additional toll payer revenues on the building until after the State Auditor completes her audit of the real estate deal.
That audit was scheduled to be completed by June, which would have allowed the Legislature and MTC to take appropriate steps should the State Auditor find that MTC actions were not allowed by law.
However, the audit has been delayed and will not be completed until August. Consequently, SB 1545 was amended to require MTC to seek a validation action in court unless the State Auditor finds that MTC clearly acted within the authority provided in law. A validation action authorizes a public agency to bring a matter to superior court for the judicial validation of certain public agency actions.
Without this legislation, MTC is free to continue spending millions of dollars on this building regardless of State Auditor findings. Should the State Auditor find that MTC acted within their authority, this bill would have no effect on their plans to move into the new office building.
What: Assembly Transportation Committee Hearing of SB 1545 (DeSaulnier)
When: Monday, July 2, 2012, at 1:30 pm
Where: State Capitol, Room 4202