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Wanted: 7 citizens to hold Metro accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars

Northbound Interstate 405 traffic flows under the Mulholland Bridge at the top of Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Starting July 16, 11 miles of the 405 Interstate which carries some 500,000 cars daily over the mountain pass into the San Fernando Valley, will shut down for 53 hours. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Damian Dovarganes/AP
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is seeking citizens from Los Angeles County to be part of an oversight committee monitoring how the agency spends billions in Measure M sales tax funds.

Last November, Los Angeles County voters approved the Measure M sales tax increase to fund $120 billion in transportation projects over the next 40 years. But how will taxpayers know if they’re getting their money’s worth?

The answer is an Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee created by a county ordinance that helps carry out Measure M.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is seeking seven individuals with at least 10 years of experience across a broad range of backgrounds, including budgeting and public finance, architecture, transit operations, the law and business management.

The committee will meet a minimum of four times a year and help conduct annual audits to assess how Metro spends Measure M funds and how well the agency sticks to the plan approved by voters. The reports will go to the Metro board and be open for public comments. Committee members will receive stipends as compensation for their work.

Metro will be taking online applications for the positions through March 28 and making recommendations for the board’s approval by the end of June.