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Encouraged by Conversations with VTA Leaders, Berman Pauses Governance Reform Legislation

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) released the following statement in regards to his bill, AB 1958, to implement the good governance recommendations made by the State Auditor in their audit of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).

“I am encouraged by the conversations I have had with VTA leadership in the last week, and therefore have decided to pause legislative efforts to reform VTA's governance structure for this year. While I found VTA's official response to the government audit recommendations to be inadequate, I know that we are all united in a desire to create a governance structure that provides the transparency, the stability, and the expertise that VTA needs and that transit riders and Santa Clara County taxpayers deserve,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “VTA has recently broken ground on some of the biggest, most expensive projects in the agency's history. There has never been a more important time to make sure VTA has a Board of Directors that is equipped and empowered to provide the high quality oversight needed to ensure these projects are successful.”

As requested by Assemblymember Berman in 2023, the State Auditor conducted an audit of VTA regarding the agency’s governance structure, project planning and management, financial viability, and fiscal oversight. Read the state audit here.

The audit identified board appointment transparency and board member experience as key areas for improvement. The audit reported, “the processes for appointing VTA’s directors are not always transparent enough to ensure the appointment of directors with experience in transportation. For example, one group of cities in the county does not meet publicly when it decides who to appoint as its director. Once appointed, VTA’s directors have briefer tenures than those of peer transit agencies, and this is due, in part, to the shorter term lengths that state law establishes for VTA directors compared to the term lengths of other agencies’ directors. As a result, VTA’s board has less experience overseeing the agency’s operations than the boards of peer agencies.”

Read the full audit here: 2023-101 Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority - California State Auditor