Anderson targets Caltrans at Ramona Tea’d meeting

By Karen Brainard

Calling for possible elimination of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), State Sen. Joel Anderson criticized the spending and activities of the state agency during his speech at the Ramona Tea’d meeting.

“One of my hot button issues is Caltrans,” he told those at the March 31 event.

Anderson said Caltrans’ budget is $12 billion to $15 billion per year but either road projects are not getting built or completed — or they have excessive cost overruns.

“The return on our investment is absolutely outrageous,” said Anderson.

State Sen. Joel Anderson stands by photos of what he calls "Caltrans' San Diego Palace" and talks about wasteful spending at the state transportation department during the Ramona Tea’d meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Anderson said Caltrans employs 20,000 to 22,000 workers and when benefits are included the average pay per worker is $104,000.

One of those employees is at the center of an investigation that Anderson recently requested of Gov. Jerry Brown. That employee allegedly fabricated bridge safety tests over a three-year period and charged for 400 hours of overtime. Although he was fired, Anderson said, the employee was reinstated and allowed to retire without repercussion. Anderson is asking the governor and state attorney general to investigate allegations of criminal activity at Caltrans.

Anderson noted that there are skilled people at Caltrans and said he wasn’t picking on the “rank and file,” but, he added, “The management needs to go.”

The senator stood on the stage with two large poster boards depicting what he targeted as wasteful spending. They showed photos of what he referred to as “Caltrans’ San Diego Palace” — the transportation department’s offices, built in 2006, on Taylor Street that he said cost $86 million ­— and a “Caltrans’ taxpayer-funded junket to ‘Paradise in the Desert,’” that reportedly cost around $72,000.

“The bottom line is start spending our money wisely before you ask for more,” Anderson said as a message to Caltrans.

If Caltrans were eliminated, Anderson suggested federal and state highway funding could go to city or county governments or to local transportation agencies that could partner with construction firms to get roads built and repaired.

Anderson introduced a bill last year, SB 851, which states the intent to change the way highways are built and maintained in California. He encouraged those at the meeting to send letters to his office, saying an abundance of letters in support of proposed legislation creates a tidal wave into other counties and helps to get a bill approved.

More information is at cssrc.us/web/36 or his El Cajon office at 619-596-3136.

Related posts:

  1. Caltrans worker dies after being hit by vehicle on I-15 Monday morning
  2. Town meeting tonight targets sex offender’s proposed placement in Ramona
  3. Caltrans to work on SR67/Dye intersection
  4. Caltrans to lower H67 speed limit in Ramona
  5. Meeting targets county’s transportation impact fees

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Posted by Staff on Apr 16 2012. Filed under Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Anderson targets Caltrans at Ramona Tea’d meeting”

  1. Enough Already

    What a windbag. Here is the complete text of Mr. Anderson's work product for over one year's worth of work as your elected representative:

    BILL NUMBER: SB 851INTRODUCED
    BILL TEXT
    INTRODUCED BY Senator Anderson
    FEBRUARY 18, 2011
    An act relating to transportation.
    THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
    SECTION 1. It is the intent of the Legislature to enact
    legislation that would address the need for highway construction.

    (source: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov)

    How about Anderson gets off his fat rear and starts earning his salary by doing more than complaining about a seven year old building. Oh, by the way, I heard the I-15 opened on time and budget. So did the recent I-5 expansion in Solana Beach. And SR-76 middle segment is on time and budget. When are people going to call BS on this clown? The biggest taxpayer waste is his salary, per diem, state car, free gas, staff and offices. Where's the outrage?

  2. Guest

    I find that most of what drives up costs in public agencies are the laws that are passed that require the staff of those agencies to spend more time and resources on. I'd be interested in "why" there are alleged cost overruns and whether it has to do with the excessive studies, permits, and regulations that have been created by our elected officials and resource agencies. Rainwater from construction sites is now permitted requiring an entire study for every construction project. How about fixing the problem and stop targeting the people that are hired to enforce the problem.

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