Why won't Metro release 2004's financial information?

If you go to Metro's website you will find annual reports for 2001, 2002 and 2003. Since we are well into FY2005, Tom Bazan has been asking where FY2004's report is. He has sent several requests to Metro, under the Texas Public Information Act, requesting FY2004's official Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and all other audits issued by KPMG.

So far he has been given quite the run-around. His last email with lack-of-progress information noted that Metro unhelpfully mailed him 2003's CAFR, which is available online. That's what I would call a stalling tactic. Very nice.

Bazan believes that KPMG has delivered 2004's CAFR to Metro, and if the information in it had been positive, Metro would have released it right away. Bazan notes that while this information is being withheld, federal funding decisions for new rail lines are being finalized.

That is rather curious, isn't it? Why won't Metro release 2004's information? And will we see the information released after the feds announce light rail funding grants? Hmmmm...

Recently, the Reason blog Out of Control highlighted a new study that concludes forecasting for rail demand is often highly exaggerated:

The study shows with very high statistical significance that forecasters generally do a poor job of estimating the demand for transportation infrastructure projects. For 9 out of 10 rail projects, passenger forecasts are overestimated; the average overestimation is 106%.


The result is substantial financial risks, which are typically ignored or downplayed by planners and decision makers to the detriment of social and economic welfare. Our data also show that forecasts have not become more accurate over the 30-year period studied, despite claims to the contrary by forecasters.

Again, why doesn't Metro release 2004's CAFR?

And where's the Chronicle -- that great champion of sunshine in government?

RELATED: The Boondoggle Files (PubliusTX), Metro needs help figuring out why ridership is down (blogHOUSTON), John Gaver's Action America

UPDATE: Tom Bazan emails that the Metro board has not yet been presented the 2004 CAFR; in fact, Metro has refused to allow KPMG to deliver the 2004 CAFR. Curiouser and curiouser. He is requesting any general purpose statements, which are public documents once signed, and which would have been mailed to Metro already. They contain information that would be included in the final CAFR that Metro has not yet accepted.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 04/17/05 04:08 PM | Print |

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