Audit of Proposition C: Funding the City’s Transportation Priorities

By 1990, traffic congestion in the Los Angeles region had become so unbearable that frustrated residents did something they had not done in a decade: they voted to tax themselves to pay for transportation improvement projects. Prop C, also known as the “1990 Fast-Track Anti-Gridlock Transit Improvement Proposition,” raised sales taxes in the County by a half-cent. Revenue from the tax surcharge was slated for a range of transportation improvements, like doubling the region’s bus fleet, building new park-andride lots, and adding car-pool lanes to area freeways.

When the measure passed, Mayor Tom Bradley stood up at a City Hall press conference and said, “we can all cheer the effective use of funds made available by the will of the people.”

Or can we?

Today my office is releasing a new audit report, “Proposition C: Funding the City’s Transportation Priorities.” The report, which focused on activities from 2009 to 2014, looks at how Prop C funds have been handled by the City’s Department of Transportation, which is responsible for administering and accounting for them. The report focused on three areas: planning, project management, and accounting, and determined that the City has not fully capitalized on Prop C funding opportunities — as a result, we have not been doing all we can to improve transportation in and through our City.