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Watchdog group OKs Measure B, BB expenditures

Tax dollars spent in accordance with the intent of the two voter-approved measures, committee says

An independent watchdog committee (IWC) reported Tuesday that tax dollars from Measure B and Measure BB transportation funds were spent in accordance with the intent of the two voter-approved measures.

The report by a committee assigned by the Alameda County Transportation Commission (CTC) also provided an update on the delivery of programs and projects funded by Measure B, Alameda County's half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, and those funded by Measure BB, which augmented the half-cent sales tax to one cent and extended the tax through 2045.

Tess Lengyel, deputy executive director of Planning and Policy for the CTC, said that each year the IWC reviews and analyzes Alameda CTC's Measure B and Measure BB expenditures to help ensure that funds are spent in accordance with these measures. For the 14th year in a row, the Alameda CTC received a clean, unmodified opinion from the agency's independent auditors.

In fiscal year 2014-2015, Alameda CTC received $132.5 million in Measure B revenue and expended $195.2 million, which includes the expenditure of sales tax revenues received in prior years, as follows:

-- $116.8 million for public transit, including operations, capital investments and special transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.

-- $33.5 million for highway and street capital projects.

--$34.6 million for local transportation improvements, including local streets and roads and bicycle and pedestrian projects.

--$5.6 million for debt service.

--$3.6 million for general administration.

--$1.1 million for direct program and project management and oversight.

Alameda CTC issued $137.1 million of Measure B Sales Tax Revenue Bonds in March 2014 to bridge a short-term funding gap that existed while many large capital projects in the 2000 Measure B Expenditure Plan were closed out. The bonds incurred $5.6 million of costs related to debt service in FY2014-15 and mature in March 2022.

Collections of the new Measure BB sales tax began in April 2015. Therefore, FY2014-15 included only three months of revenue collections - for the period of April 1 through June 30 - in the amount of $27.7 million.

The IWC is a continuation of the Citizens Watchdog Committee created in 2002 after reauthorization of the local sales tax measure in 2000. The 2014 Transportation Expenditure Plan, which guides the expenditures of Measure BB (approved by Alameda County voters in November 2014), requires the IWC to review all Measure BB expenditures for compliance with the Transportation Expenditure Plan.

The IWC reports directly to the public on the agency's Measure B and Measure BB expenditures.

The 14th Annual Report and audits of each agency receiving Measure B and Measure BB funds are available to the public on the Alameda CTC website. Visit www.alamedactc.org to learn more, and follow Alameda CTC on Facebook and Twitter.

Hard copies of the Annual Report are available by request via e-mail to hbarber@alamedactc.org, via mail to Alameda CTC offices at 1111 Broadway, Suite 800, Oakland, CA 94607, or via telephone to (510) 208-7439.

Alameda CTC plans, funds and delivers transportation programs and projects that expand access and improve mobility in Alameda County. It coordinates countywide transportation planning and delivers the expenditure plan for the Measure B sales tax approved by 81.5% of county voters who voted on the measure in 2000 and the expenditure plan for Measure BB, approved by more than 70% of those voting in November 2014.

The Independent Watchdog Committee is made up of 17 members, all of whom must be residents of Alameda County. IWC members are not elected officials at any level of government, nor individuals in a position to benefit personally in any way from the sales tax.

IWC members are appointed for a two-year term, as follows:

-- One per district, appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

-- One per district, appointed by the Mayor's Conference.

-- One per representing organization specified in the Expenditure Plan, which are:

-- Alameda County Economic Development Alliance for Business

-- Alameda County Labor Council

-- Alameda County Taxpayers' Association

-- Alameda County Paratransit Advisory and Planning Committee

-- Bike East Bay

-- League of Women Voters

-- Sierra Club

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