Sen. John Moorlach said Monday he has introduced legislation limiting Caltrans to allocating money for road projects and having counties do the work.
Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, envisions having two pilot projects, one in a Northern California county and another in Southern California.
Said Matt Rocco of Caltrans: “We don’t discuss pending legislation.”
Moorlach, a frequent critic of Caltrans, announced the legislation following two critical audits of its spending practices. Moorlach has criticized Caltrans for what he says are false claims it is using an economic model it received from a consultant.
“The timing seems rather appropriate now that Caltrans has another audit by the state auditor, this time saying, ‘Hey, you’re doing a whole lot of things that need to be improved on and you paid $250,000 for an economic model you’re not listening to or using and yet you’re telling everybody that you are,’ ” Moorlach told City News Service.
Moorlach also criticized Caltrans for “not even keeping track of costs on their jobs that provides room for fraud and abuse.”
Moorlach said he would rather the agency grant money to counties and let county officials take it from there.
“If you didn’t have to do it with all the overhead that comes with Caltrans and give it to the smaller, leaner, meaner transportation departments on the county level you might have more money to put into roads,” Moorlach said.
Moorlach acknowledged, “Yes, the unions will hate it and, yes, the Democrats will vote against it,” because it could amount to a loss of jobs on the state level. But Moorlach added the state may have to come around to this model eventually if the state’s finances require it.
“When this state hits the proverbial wall and runs out of money we’ll have to look at all this stuff anyway,” Moorlach said.
Moorlach said Caltrans spends $500,000 per mile on road projects, which he added is three times the national average.
–City News Service
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