03.29.2024 | News Release

Chairwoman Nora Vargas Announces Immediate Steps to Improve Transparency and Accountability at SANDAG


At the direction of SANDAG and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas, the SANDAG Board of Directors met today to discuss the results of an investigation into the SR 125 tolling system by SANDAG’s Independent Performance Auditor. 

“Today, as a Board, we examined and addressed the substantial and substantiated results presented by the Office of Independent Performance Auditor’s (OIPA) Investigative report. OIPA’s findings highlight blatant errors and a dysfunctional system that short-changes commuters and all who use our roads. San Diegans deserve better,” said Vargas. “As Chairwoman, I will continue to lead the efforts to institutionalize greater oversight, accountability, and transparency at SANDAG. Our unanimous vote today to adopt initial and immediate steps to begin reforming and restructuring the system is a step in the right direction in my quest to deliver excellence in representation, accountability, and transparency. My commitment is unwavering in ensuring this board takes immediate steps to once and for all make the systemic changes that will restore the public's faith.”

The Board unanimously approved accepting the Audit Committee’s recommendation to implement the 10 recommendations identified in the State Route 125 Toll Operations Investigation Report, and 1) continue to work to confirm customer accounts are accurate; 2) validate with management that no future similar issues identified in the State Route 125 contract process will occur in future contracts; and 3) development of a policy for timely reporting on all multi-million dollar projects. The Board also requests the OIPA conduct an investigation to determine whether the SANDAG Legal team, Executive Team, and/or Board members were made aware prior to the Board. 

Chairwoman Vargas also called for an Ethics and Compliance Office and strengthened Whistleblower Program at SANDAG, and announced an item would be added to the next Board meeting to continue the Board’s assessment of these matters.

In January, the Board approved an action to address tolling system deficiencies and implement a new back-office system, which included contracting with Deloitte and A-to-Be to replace the ETAN tolling system by the end of the year. 

Additional commitments from the action plan include:
• Conducting regular vendor and internal assessments 
• Implementing a quality assurance and quality control plan
• Operational and customer service improvements
• Internal policy changes that include regular and proactive reporting to the SANDAG Board