Taxpayer Safeguards and Audits Features
Implement and maintain strict taxpayer safeguards to ensure that the Renewed Measure M Transportation Investment Plan is delivered as promised. Restrict administrative costs to one percent (1%) of total tax revenues and state collection of the tax as prescribed in state law [currently one-and-one-half (1.5%) percent].
Administration of the Transportation Investment Plan and all spending is subject to the following specific safeguards and requirements:
- All spending is subject to an annual independent audit
- Spending decisions must be annually reviewed and certified by an independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee
- An annual report on spending and progress in implementing the Plan must be submitted to taxpayers
- Integrity of the Plan
- No changes to the Plan can be made without review and approval by 2/3 vote of the Taxpayer Oversight Committee
- Major changes to the Plan such as deleting a project or shifting projects among major spending categories (Freeways, Streets & Roads, Transit, Environmental Cleanup) must be ratified by a majority of voters
- The Plan must be subject at least every ten years to public review and assessment of progress in delivery, public support and changed circumstances. Any significant proposed changes to the Plan must be approved by the Taxpayer Oversight Committee and ratified by a majority of voters.
- All tax revenues and interest earned must be deposited and maintained in a separate trust fund. Local jurisdictions that receive allocations must also maintain them in a separate fund.
- All entities receiving tax funds must report annually on expenditures and progress in implementing projects
- At any time, at its discretion, the Taxpayer Oversight Committee may conduct independent reviews or audits of the spending of tax funds
- The elected Auditor/Controller of Orange County must annually certify that spending is in accordance with the Plan
- Local jurisdictions receiving funds must abide by specific eligibility and spending requirements detailed in the Streets & Roads and Environmental Cleanup components of the Plan
- Funds must be used only for transportation purposes described in the Plan. The penalty for misspending is full repayment and loss of funding eligibility for a period of five years.
- No funds may be used to replace private developer funding committed to any project or improvement
- Funds shall augment, not replace existing funds
- Every effort shall be made to maximize matching state and federal transportation dollars