DeSaulnier Bills Aimed at Caltrans Transparency and Accountability Pass Committee

June 18, 2014 19:42 pm · 14 comments

Two measures from Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) stemming from the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee’s investigation into the Bay Bridge project passed the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee today.

SB 969 expands the Public Works Project Peer Review Act of 2013 to require administering agencies of transportation megaprojects to improve project oversight by establishing both a peer review group and a comprehensive risk management plan. SB 1337 requires the heads of state agencies or departments to sign written reports submitted to the state legislature or a state executive body declaring that the factual contents of the written report are true, accurate, and complete to the best of his or her knowledge.

“As the construction of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge ran 10 years late and $5 billion over budget, the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee asked international experts for recommendations on improving the management and delivery of California’s transportation megaprojects,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “I am carrying two bills directly aimed at improving the accountability of state officials and increasing the transparency of state agencies involved in transportation megaprojects. SB 969 establishes comprehensive risk management plans at the beginning of megaproject development, so that the public is given a transparent look at financial risks. SB 1337 ensures that heads of state departments or agencies are liable for misrepresenting facts in reports to the legislature or a state executive body.”

SB 969 requires an administering agency to establish a peer review group to review the planning, engineering, financing, and other plans of a transportation megaproject. SB 969 defines a transportation megaproject as one with total estimated costs exceeding one billion dollars.

SB 969 also requires an administering agency to manage the risks associated with a transportation megaproject by doing the following:

  • Establishing a comprehensive risk management plan with a process to identify and quantify risks to the project, track responses, and control risks throughout the life of the project.
  • Qualifying risks in financial terms.
  • Developing documents to track identified risks and related mitigation steps.
  • Regularly updating cost estimates, reassessing its reserves for potential claims and unknown risks, and reporting risks and integrating updated estimates for costs and contingency reserves.

Under SB 1337 any head of a state agency or departments who knowingly signs a false report submitted to the legislature or a state executive body as true would be liable for a civil penalty up to $20,000.

Elwood June 18, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Oooo, I can hardly wait for Marky Mark to work his wonders in

Too Little Too LATE June 18, 2014 at 5:55 PM

WOW a whole $20,000.
Want to clean things up marky make it $75,000

Next reduce the size of State gov by 30%.

Anon June 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

I sadly, can believe enough idiots voted for this loser. He should be rolling in the dough just like George “Pay Me Off” Miller.

Subterfuge June 18, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Under SB 1337 any head of a state agency or departments who knowingly signs a false report submitted to the legislature or a state executive body as true would be liable for a civil penalty up to $20,000.

But, no criminal penalties?

Atticus Thraxx June 18, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Raises hand. “Question, who was the state senator who chaired the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee whilst it ran overbudget and late?….and a followup, since we’re already paying for oversite in the form of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, this isn’t going to cost anything, right?”
Sits down smugly, but has a queasy feeling there’s a bond measure or two on the way.

anon June 18, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Don’t forget we paid bonuses for the over priced, over budget, delayed and and faulty bridge. Where else do you get paid a bonus for doing a bad job? Now we are hearing if they would have used USA steel it would have saved money.

Eddie June 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Any engineering organization worth anything should already have had a peer review process in lace for major projects. This is common sense – but apparently California doesn’t have common sense.

They ought to also have their PE licenses revoked.

Mark – too little, too late. Don’t stick your nose into anything of which you have no knowledge.

Whoops……guess he better not run for anything……

puh leeze June 18, 2014 at 8:18 PM

@6 anon Where else can you get paid a bonus for doing a bad job? I dunno, where I work, Wall Street investment firms, big banks… public works projects by no means have a monopoly on awarding huge sums to incompetent managers instead of just firing them. Actually I don’t think the government can hold a candle to the private sector in this field.

Dorothy June 18, 2014 at 9:10 PM

This should work as well as the PUC.

AClaycordian June 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Were there any false reports knowingly submitted to the legislature? I didn’t hear any publicized. Kinda makes you wonder what this will actually accomplish, other than creating “an administering agency” a “peer review group” (see: spending more money on not creating a solution) and, of course, some kind of oversight committee for the newly created agency.

Hey, Mark? How about you actually come up with solutions, instead of making even more red tape to deal with, and more agencies and groups and committees to throw money at? Fiscal responsibility isn’t what you do years after the fact. If you’re having budget issues, you need to deal with it proactively, not by passing some fluff legislation which will accomplish nothing.

Safety Second June 18, 2014 at 10:32 PM

The useful idiots are sure to re-elect this career politician who has left our county with an unfunded public sector pension plan approaching $1 billion.

Anonymous June 18, 2014 at 11:40 PM

He will think of a new fee or tax to pay for this. He can’t help it.

typical concord resident June 19, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I can’t WAIT for this LOSER to get his butt kicked out of office… Judge Phan will make sure we get GOVERNMENT out of the transportation industry and let PRIVATE BUSINESS do it right…. goodbye Marky Marx!

Concord Guy June 20, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Caltrans is the most bloated bureaucracy in Sacramento. Anyone who has done business with Caltrans knows how difficut and intracable their staff can be. The problem is that Caltrans is heavily unionized, and their Democrat patrons in the legislature won’t take any steps toward reform.

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