Wednesday, August 29, 2007

VTA to face state audit and more

The word came earlier from Sacramento that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee has approved the state audit of VTA. The state audit was requested by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, Assemblyman Jim Beall, and Senator Senator Elaine Alquist, as a deal for Lieber to allow the 1/8 cent VTA sales tax bill (SB264) to go through the Assembly.

Although VTA officially has no position on the audit, it is obvious that VTA would prefer not to be audited. Before the committee meeting, Senator Alberto Torrico of Fremont, who is a member of the joint committee, suggested to delay the audit. However when the hearing came, he was not present and did not vote on the VTA audit.

The audit will include VTA's structure, decision-making process, planning, and finances.

Mr. Burns' extra perks

When VTA's General Manager Michael Burns wants to call it a day and don't want to face the commute home in San Francisco, he is able to get the VTA to foot his hotel bills. This perk, according to the Mercury News article, was not disclosed upon hiring nor was included in his contract.

Perhaps on one of these nights, he should instead ride part way to San Francisco on VTA and experience Hotel 22.

COA missed opportunities?

Although the revised COA plan addresses some of the community concerns, some suggest on the VTA Rider's Union group that VTA new plan continues to be a reduction in service (of about 9%)because of the reduced overall peak vehicle demand, and that the improved service on some routes doesn't equal to the services that would be removed.

Although some routes have the potential to be popular, including lines 11, 168 and 181, some areas like the Valley Medical Center would lose direct service to Downtown San Jose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noticed in today's Mercury that VTA General Manager Michael Burns was ''adament'' that the choice of VTA directors should never be allowed to be decided by the taxpaying citizens. His arrogance is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

After reading that story, I started looking online for the total VTA budget. Whaddya know? It's really buried. In fact, I was unable to find the current VTA budget.

It would be helpful if this site [which I've now bookmarked] would provide a running total for the following information in a convenient sidebar:

The total annual VTA budget, broken down into the major categories, such as the cars given to individuals that act as private taxis;

All past ridership projections, along with the current, actual ridership;

The amount of each fare that is subsidized by the taxpayers;

The compensation in pay and benefits for each VTA voting member;

Future ridership comparisons by VTA, and by outside entities;

The dollar amount of personal/property taxes estimated to be lost due to government ownership of all VTA rights-of-way, buses and cars.

And so on. Easy access to this information would be extremely helpful to the taxpayers, when we are *again* asked for ever *more* mega-$millions per year, to fund this self-serving and totally inefficient money-burning bureaucracy.