Caltrans On Senator's Waste List

Katy Grimes: Finally, a legislator who actually wants to cut wasteful state agency spending is stepping up to the plate with a solid plan and specific idea.

El Cajon Republican Sen. Joel Anderson offered one of his own “ideas” in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for Republican “budget ideas.”

Anderson has authored SB 851, which would  enact legislation that would address the need for highway construction, to create a system to localize highway building and maintenance. Anderson wants to give local governments more of a voice in what and how roads and highways are built.

“The Governor asked for our help and we have responded,” said Anderson in a press release yesterday. “Our idea will save billions of tax dollars by realigning, reforming and revolutionizing the way highways are built and maintained in California. We ask the Governor to work with us to get the money to where the rubber meets the road.”

On his Senate website, Anderson has photos of recent taxpayer funded Caltrans conferences in Palm Desert, and offers other evidence of waste, fraud and abuse within the agency, as well as evidence about the decreasing performance and increasing costs of the Caltrans:

  • Scathing reports from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst list overstaffing, high costs and weak management at Caltrans;
  • Taxpayers’ groups and the media have criticized and exposed a Caltrans taxpayer-funded junket to a “Paradise in the Desert” resort;
  • Major projects such as the “$3.2 billion Bay Bridge fiasco” and MacArthur Maze “connector collapse” have been poorly handled by Caltrans;
  • California is rated 48th among all states in highway performance;
  • The average yearly salary and benefits of the 20,000 Caltrans employees is over $100,000 ($2 billion total).

And the Caltrans “palace”  in San Diego that Anderson refers to, was written about in 2004 by the San Diego Union Tribune. “The $72 million office building under construction will move the Caltrans District 11 staff into a modern headquarters and consolidate a work force of engineers, transportation planners, right-of-way agents and others currently scattered among four locations,” the Tribune reported, and offered an artists’ rendering.

This is just too good and so long overdue. I might have suggested cutting Caltrans altogether and starting over, but that’s another discussion…

MAR. 8, 2011

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