November 27, 2014
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury

2001 Final Report:

Visibility of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority

Summary | Background | Findings | Recommendations | Responses

Summary:

The 2001-2002 Grand Jury reviewed aspects of Transportation Authority (TA) activities related to its administration of Measure A funds-$75,926,134 in FY 1999-2000, the most recent figure available when this report was prepared. TA disburses money for county projects related to transportation.

The Grand Jury's review revealed that the powers, activities and responsibilities of the TA have a low level of recognition and understanding by the general public. The Grand Jury believes that the TA must make a greater effort to keep the public consistently informed of its activities and expenditures by using media releases, a comprehensive website, and newsletters.

Issue: Does the San Mateo County Transportation Authority keep the public sufficiently informed of its duties, responsibilities and activities?

Background:

In 1988 the voters enacted Measure A, which created a sales tax increment of one-half cent to be administered by San Mateo County through an agency to be called the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA). (Measure A expires in 2008 unless extended by the voters.) The Grand Jury reviewed TA's operations. In the course of that review, the Grand Jury found that the TA does not keep the public well informed about its activities and expenditures.

Findings:

The TA is charged with administering the use and distribution of the Measure A sales tax for transportation-related projects, such as freeway on-ramps, street widening, and railroad improvements. The Grand Jury recognizes the extent and complexity of the TA's duties and responsibilities. While the handling of Measure A funds may be routine to the TA board and staff, the Grand Jury found the TA's operations difficult to follow and descriptions of how the agency is run confusing and incomplete. The TA also has a low level of public recognition. The public needs to know how this agency works if it is to have confidence in the TA's ability to effectively carry out its mandate, including the spending of approximately $76 million per year.

The Grand Jury found that TA has no on-going public relations plan, issues press releases only sporadically, and fails to issue an "annual report" every year. Such inadequate efforts leave the public in the dark about the Authority's actions and use of public funds.

Recommendations:


Recommendation

The Board of Directors of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority should keep the public better informed through such means as:

  • More frequent media releases
  • A website that is informative and easy to navigate
  • Newsletters that are widely distributed throughout the county.
    .
Response
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