SANDAG Board To Consider Investigation
The board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday will consider authorizing a series of steps in reaction to the discovery that an economic modeling system provided faulty revenue projections for a tax increase ballot proposition and for a local transportation fund.
The seven-part work plan proposed by SANDAG staff does not, however, include funding an independent investigation being called for by a handful of directors.
Using the model, officials of the regional planning agency supported Measure A last fall by claiming passage would have resulted in $18 billion of revenue to spend on transportation and environmental projects over the next four decades.
Documents obtained by the online publication Voice of San Diego indicated that staff discovered a modeling error that overstated the likely proceeds, but didn't change the projection.
As it happened, Measure A gained a majority of support from voters but not the two-thirds required, since it would have raised sales taxes by a half-cent.
The proposal going before the board at its upcoming meeting includes, according to SANDAG documents:
–reviewing economic model data to ensure accuracy and integrity of result
–identifying key SANDAG reports that used the data and evaluating the significance of impacts from potential forecasting errors on policy recommendations
–convening a panel of experts in economics, demographics and land use to validate a new forecasting model
–developing data transparency standards to ensure that others can see how models were developed, how data was processed and what assumptions were made along the way
Other points included developing and formalizing processes for staff to use, and improving interactions between technical and other SANDAG employees.
NBC San Diego and Voice of San Diego obtained a letter sent by seven board members asking for an independent investigation into the problem.
"At the very least we, and our constituents, needs answers to the questions: Who knew about the revenue forecast discrepancies? When did they know? What was known? Who was the information shared with? Why wasn't the Board or Executive Committee informed?" the board members asked.
They requested that the item on Friday's agenda be listed in a way that would allow them to take action.
The letter was signed by Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, county Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, La Mesa Councilwoman Kristine Alessio and Lemon Grove Councilman Jerry Jones.