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.