Response to the Audit
August 8, 2018
Ms. Elaine Howle, CPA
California State Auditor
621 Capital Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Draft Report "Seismic Retrofit: The State Could Save Millions of Dollars Annually by Implementing Lessons Learned from the Program"
Dear Ms. Howle:
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on your draft report, titled "Seismic Retrofit: The State Could Save Millions of Dollars Annually by Implementing Lessons Learned from the Program." We have three comments on your draft report as follows:
First, since submission of your draft report for our review, the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee has issued their 2nd Quarter 2018 TBSRP Progress Report that now forecasts a program cost surplus. The report has been submitted to your staff and we request your consideration to update your draft report to reflect this new information.
Second, we accept your recommendations for MTC to adopt a risk management policy for our major projects and programs.
Third, while we accept your recommendation that having oversight committees over major projects would be beneficial to successful project delivery, we would suggest your consideration of additional flexibility over mega projects selected for additional oversight. The MTC Draft 2019 TIP includes 19 projects with cost greater than $500 million. MTC would not have the capacity to have executive participation in 19 oversight committees. Furthermore, some of those projects are "state of good repair" type projects where oversight committees may not be entirely warranted. Perhaps examination of a risk, higher dollar threshold, and/or focus on certain project types (i.e. capital construction projects) would be appropriate.
Lastly, we have identified some additional suggested minor revisions and comments that are attached. If you have any questions or need additional support, please do not hesitate to call or contact me at (415) 778-5240.
Andrew B. Fremier
Deputy Executive Director, Operations
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Attachment A – Suggested Revisions and Comments
1) On Page 5, Figure 3, the description of Bay Area Toll Authority, rather than "Manages all toll revenues . . . ", it should simply state, "administers toll revenues" For a reference, see SH Code Section 30950.2
2) On Page 8, first paragraph, for consistency to the use of San Diego-Coronado Bridge, suggest revising "Vincent Thomas Bridge" to "Los Angeles-Vincent Thomas Bridge".
3) On Page 9, first paragraph, suggest clarifying MTC and Toll Authority roles and responsibilities as legally separate entities with separate responsibilities, but with shared same staff, directors, and facility.
4) On Page 11, second paragraph, Regional Measure 3 will help complete the Bay Area Express Lanes Network, but does not fully fund the completion of the network.
5) On Page 24, last paragraph, suggest clarifying that the Toll Authority, not MTC, is implementing an asset management plan with Caltrans over the Toll Bridges. MTC is involved in other asset management plans as required/appropriate, including for transit assets and for local roads throughout the region, which are not relevant to this report.
6) On page 35, at end of paragraph, "form" should be "from".
CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR’S COMMENTS ON THE RESPONSE FROM THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response to our audit report from MTC. The numbers below correspond to the numbers we placed in the margin of the response.
We reviewed the 2nd quarter 2018 Progress Report for the Seismic Program and updated our report where appropriate.
We appreciate MTC's perspective related to our recommendation that the Legislature set the threshold for oversight committees on large transportation infrastructure projects at $500 million. However, as we note on page 22, we set the threshold in our recommendation at $500 million because that is the definition of a major project in federal law. When we reviewed the draft 2019 Transportation Improvement Plan, we determined that some of the 19 projects MTC mentions in its response would not be affected by our recommendation because they are not construction projects for transportation infrastructure. Further, our recommendation on page 34 provides flexibility as to which agencies should comprise an oversight committee. We recommend that when practical the committee should include representatives from at least three major agencies involved in the project, but we do not specify which agencies.
While preparing our draft report for publication, some page numbers shifted. Therefore, the page numbers MTC cites in its response do not correspond to the page numbers in our final report.
We incorporated MTC's suggested revision in Figure 3.
Streets and Highways Code section 188.5 specifies the name of the Vincent Thomas Bridge.
We clarified that Regional Measure 3 provides support for the Bay Area Express Lanes Network on page 10.
We clarified that the Toll Authority is implementing the asset management plan on page 24.
We corrected the typographical error MTC identified on page 34.