The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reform and accountability act of 1998

April 8, 2009 

The people of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) do ordain as follows:

Section 1. Title

This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Reform and Accountability Act of 1998 (“Act”).

Section 2. Ballot Language

The Proposition for approving this Ordinance shall appear upon the ballot exactly as follows:
PROPOSITION ___, METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (MTA) REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1998. Shall the ordinance be adopted to require an annual independent audit of Metropolitan Transportation Authority spending of transportation sales tax revenues, to establish an independent citizens’ oversight committee to monitor such spending, and to prohibit the use of transportation sales tax revenues for future subway construction?

Section 3. Purpose and Intent

The people of the County of Los Angeles hereby declare their purpose and intent in enacting this Act to be as follows:

a. To restore the confidence of the citizens of Los Angeles County in the ability of their government to provide a safe, efficient and cost-effective public transportation system.

b. To provide accountability in the expenditure of transportation sales tax revenues through an annual independent audit, and through creation of an Independent Citizens’ Advisory Oversight Committee to review transportation sales tax expenditures, hold public hearings and issue reports thereon.

c. To prohibit the use of any transportation sales tax revenues for planning, designing, constructing or operating any new subway.

Section 4. Definitions

a. “Commission” means the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, as predecessor to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

b. “Effective Date” means the date on which this Act is approved by a majority of the electors voting on it at an election as provided by law.

c. “MOS-1″ means that segment of the Metro Red Line known as Minimum Operable Segment-1, consisting of a 4.4-mile segment of the Metro Red Line including passenger vehicles, fare collection equipment, automatic train control equipment, yards and shops required for the full construction of the Metro Red Line alignment and five stations located between Union Station and Alvarado Street.

d. “MOS-2″ means that segment of the Metro Red Line known as Minimum Operable Segment-2, totaling 6.7 miles in length, consisting of a westward extension from the end of MOS-1 to Vermont Avenue, and thereafter splitting into a west branch which continues west under Wilshire Boulevard to Western Avenue, and a north branch which continues under Vermont Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

e. “MOS-3-North Hollywood” means only that portion of the segment of the Metro Red Line known as Minimum Operable Segment-3 which begins at the end of the north branch of MOS-2 in Hollywood (Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street) and continues generally northward to Lankershim Boulevard and Chandler Boulevard.

f. “MTA” means the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

g. “New Subway” means any Subway (including any extension or operating segment thereof) other than MOS-1, MOS-2 and MOS-3-North Hollywood.

h. “Proposition A” means Ordinance No. 16 of the Commission adopted on August 20, 1980, and approved by the voters on November 4, 1980.

i. “Proposition C” means Ordinance No. 49 of the Commission adopted on August 8, 1990, and approved by the voters on November 6, 1990.

j. “Proposition A Sales Tax” means the ½ cent retail transactions and use tax imposed pursuant to Proposition A.

k. “Proposition C Sales Tax” means the ½ cent retail transactions and use tax imposed pursuant to Proposition C.

l. “Subway” means that part of any rail line which is in a tunnel below the grade level of the earth’s surface.

m. “Committee” shall mean the Independent Citizens’ Advisory and Oversight Committee established pursuant to this Act.

Section 5. Independent Audit

a. Within 45 days after the Effective Date, the MTA shall contract for an independent audit to be conducted by an independent auditing firm, such audit to be concluded not later than June 1, 1999, for the purpose of determining compliance by the MTA with the provisions of Proposition A, Proposition C and this Act relating to the receipt and expenditure of Proposition A Sales Tax revenues and Proposition C Sales Tax revenues. This audit shall cover the period from the respective effective dates of Proposition A and Proposition C through June 30, 1998.

b. Commencing with the 1998-99 fiscal year, the MTA shall contract for an annual independent audit to be conducted by an independent auditing firm, each such audit to be completed within six months after the end of the fiscal year being audited, for the purpose of determining compliance by the MTA with the provisions of Proposition A, Proposition C and this Act relating to the receipt and expenditure of Proposition A Sales Tax revenues and Proposition C Sales Tax revenues during such fiscal year.

c. Prior to entering into a contract with an auditing firm to perform any audit required under this Section 5, the MTA shall solicit bids from at least three qualified firms and shall award the contract to the firm offering to perform the audit at the lowest price. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the cost of performing and publishing the audit of Proposition A Sales Tax shall be paid from Proposition A Sales Tax revenues, and the cost of performing and publishing the audit of Proposition C Sales Tax shall be paid from Proposition C Sales Tax revenues.

Section 6. Independent Citizens’ Advisory and Oversight Committee

a. There is hereby established the Independent Citizens’ Advisory and Oversight Committee of the MTA. The Committee shall meet at least twice each year to carry out the purposes of this Act.

The Committee shall be comprised of five persons, selected as follows: one member shall be appointed by the Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; one member shall be appointed by the Chair of the governing board of the MTA; one member shall be appointed by the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles; one member shall be appointed by the Mayor of the City of Long Beach; and one member shall be appointed by the Mayor of the City of Pasadena. The members of the Committee must be persons who live in Los Angeles County. No elected city, county, special district, state or federal public officeholder will be eligible to serve as a member of the Committee.

All meetings of the Committee shall be held within Los Angeles County. All meetings of the Committee shall be held in compliance with the provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act (Section 54950 et seq. of the California Government Code).
Each member of the Committee shall serve for a term of two years, and until a successor is appointed. No member of the Committee shall be entitled to any compensation, except that the Committee may reimburse actual expenses of members arising out of the performance of their duties as Committee members.

b. The independent auditing firm referenced in Section 5 shall present the results of each audit to the Committee which shall cause a summary of the audit to be published in local newspapers and the entire audit to be made available to every library located within Los Angeles County for public review. The Committee shall hold a public hearing on each audit and report the comments of the public to the MTA. Within 60 days of receipt of the report from the Committee, the MTA shall prepare a report containing its response to the audit and to the public comments thereon.

Section 7. Prohibition on New Subways

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Proposition A Sales Tax revenues and Proposition C Sales Tax revenues shall not be used to pay any cost of planning, design, construction or operation of any New Subway (including debt service on bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued for such purposes after March 30, 1998). Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the use of such tax revenues on or after the Effective Date of this Act to pay debt service on bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued prior to March 30, 1998, or on bonds issued to refund such debt.

Section 8. Construction of Prior Ordinances

Commencing on the Effective Date, the MTA shall, at least annually, comply with the revenue allocation percentages set forth in Section 5(c) of Proposition A and Section 4(b) of Proposition C, such compliance to be determined as part of the annual audit described in Section 5 of this Act. The MTA may, by resolution, adopt a compliance period shorter than an entire fiscal year, but may not adopt a longer compliance period.

Section 9. Improvement of Railroad Rights-of-Way

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Proposition C Sales Tax revenues required to be used to provide essential county-wide transit-related improvements to freeways and State highways may also be used to provide public mass transit improvements to railroad rights-of-way.

Section 10. Effective Date of Act

This Act shall be enacted and take effect immediately on the Effective Date.
Section 11. Construction of Act

This Act is intended to be construed liberally to effectuate its purpose of prohibiting the use of sales tax revenues to fund New Subways.

Section 12. Effect on Existing Ordinances

Proposition A and Proposition C shall remain in full force and effect, except as provided in this Act, and in the event of any conflict between the provisions of Proposition A or Proposition C, respectively, and this Act, the provisions of this Act shall control.

Section 13. Severability Clause

If any provision of this Act, or part thereof, is for any reason held to be invalid, illegal or unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act shall not be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect, and to such end the provisions of this Act are severable.

Print Friendly