Opinion: Senate report on Caltrans speaks to culture of open government

The recent state Senate investigative report into Caltrans and the Bay Bridge does more than deal with troubled decision-making and construction work. It also includes a strong push for greater public transparency throughout state government.

The report commissioned by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and his Senate Transportation and Housing Committee ends with 16 conclusions and recommendations. The first among them is this: “Transparency in the affairs of the public is paramount and leads to accountability, which leads to better results.”

Caltrans itself, in a July 25 letter and report to DeSaulnier about lessons learned, said the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee that took responsibility for the bridge construction “should have been more transparent.” The committee meetings were closed, and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in the letter that “this process could have been more effective had it occurred during regular public meetings.” Continue>>>