MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1141 — March 22, 2016

I guess it is one thing to criticize and it’s another to provide a solution. So, when the State Auditor provided yet another audit report on the deficiencies of Caltrans, it seemed appropriate to introduce my bill, SB 1141. This bill provides for a pilot project to send the funding directly to a county department of transportation. This should avoid the high overhead costs that Caltrans is known for (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Insubordination — March 18, 2016 march 18, 2016 john moorlach).

Now that I’ve been a Senator for a year (I was sworn in on March 22nd of last year), it is apparent that the Governor would benefit by having a Chief Executive Officer that directly oversees all of the state’s departments.

Absent that CEO, we are left to manage much of the State through legislation. So, that’s why we submitted the proposed bill by the deadline. It has been in its 30-day waiting period before it can be heard in committees. So, we announced the bill yesterday and the press release was picked up the Orange County Breeze in the first piece below. Fox & Hounds does the same, in the second piece below,but with a respelling twist.

City News Service provides the media’s perspective on the press release and it was picked up by the Aliso Viejo Patch andMyNewsLA in the third piece below.

The OC Register finishes this three-step process by opining on the dismal state of Caltrans in the fourth piece below. Their conclusion? Instead of outsourcing to counties, take it all out to the private sector. Bravo. But, since this will never happen, with the current union-controlled majority in the Legislature, let’s see if we can start the ball rolling with two counties.

Sen. Moorlach Introduces SB 1141 to Shift Road Funding/Duties to Counties

Sen. Moorlach Introduces SB 1141 to Shift Road Funding/Duties to CountiesGOVERNMENT

Last week, yet another high-profile scandal involving mismanagement rocked the California Department of Transportation – Caltrans, and today Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) announced that he’s introduced Senate Bill 1141, which would launch a pilot program shifting road funds and maintenance duties from Caltrans to county governments.

“Caltrans is one of the worst managed, most inefficient government agencies in the nation,” declared Senator Moorlach. “Just look at the metrics. Californians pay among the highest gas taxes and the highest per-mile road maintenance, yet we also have the nation’s fifth worst roads. Those are clear signs that Caltrans is dysfunctional and wasting taxpayer money. If Caltrans was a private company, it would have been out of business long ago.”

SB 1141 would launch a pilot program that allows two California counties to handle their own road maintenance needs, and to receive the road funding that typically would have been administered by Caltrans for those maintenance needs.

“County governments are much more accountable to the taxpayers than the bureaucracy at Caltrans,” continuedSenator Moorlach, who served eight years as an Orange County Supervisor and an Orange County Transportation Authority Director. “County governments know their needs and have a history of getting the job done. Senate Bill 1141 allows counties to prove they can do much better than Caltrans.”

Last week, the State Auditor found that Caltrans had intentionally lied to legislators about implementing the results of a 2009 efficiency study – one that recommended moving money and manpower to the highest need areas and managing efficiencies to help fix roads with the existing resources. Caltrans management reassured legislators that they were implementing the study’s recommendations, when, in fact, they had ignored them altogether and continued with an inefficient, labor-union friendly resource allocation.

Auditors also found that Caltrans has little, and often no, cost control measures, and that Caltrans often fails to even track project costs. “The State Auditor is telling it straight when she says there are ‘weak cost controls’ that ‘create opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse.’ Sixty-two percent of Caltrans projects are over budget, and now we are beginning to know why. We can no longer tolerate this nonsense. It’s time to provide constructive and necessary solutions,” concluded Senator Moorlach.

SB 1141 would provide a real-world study on moving resources to counties and making our road dollars stretch much further. More information on SB 1141 can be found HERE.

This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.

It’s Time to Shift Road Funding to Counties

Senator John Moorlach

By Senator John Moorlach

California State Senate, 37th District

Last week, yet another high-profile scandal involving mismanagement rocked the California Department of Transportation – Caldrons, and yesterday I introduced Senate Bill 1141, which would launch a pilot program shifting road funds and maintenance duties from Caltrans to county governments.

Caltrans is one of the worst managed, most inefficient government agencies in the nation. Just look at the metrics. Californians pay among the highest gas taxes and the highest per-mile road maintenance, yet we also have the nation’s fifth worst roads. Those are clear signs that Caltrans is dysfunctional and wasting taxpayer money. If Caltrans was a private company, it would have been out of business long ago.

SB 1141 would launch a pilot program that allows two California counties to handle their own road maintenance needs, and to receive the road funding that typically would have been administered by Caltrans for those maintenance needs.

County governments are much more accountable to the taxpayers than the bureaucracy at Caltrans. County governments know their needs and have a history of getting the job done. Senate Bill 1141 allows counties to prove they can do much better than Caltrans.

Last week, the State Auditor found that Caltrans had intentionally lied to legislators about implementing the results of a 2009 efficiency study – one that recommended moving money and manpower to the highest need areas and managing efficiencies to help fix roads with the existing resources. Caltrans management reassured legislators that they were implementing the study’s recommendations, when, in fact, they had ignored them altogether and continued with an inefficient, labor-union friendly resource allocation.

Auditors also found that Caltrans has little, and often no, cost control measures, and that Caltrans often fails to even track project costs. The State Auditor is telling it straight when she says there are ‘weak cost controls’ that ‘create opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse.’ Sixty-two percent of Caltrans projects are over budget, and now we are beginning to know why. We can no longer tolerate this nonsense. It’s time to provide constructive and necessary solutions.

SB 1141 would provide a real-world study on moving resources to counties and making our road dollars stretch much further. More information on SB 1141 can be found HERE.

Sen. Moorlach wants law limiting Caltrans to allocating money

State Sen. John Moorlach. Photo via johnmoorlach.wordpress.com

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,” Moorlachsaid.

Moorlach said Caltrans spends $500,000 per mile on road projects, which he added is three times the national average.

–City News Service

Caltrans on wrong road
Its maintenance tasks should be bid out.

The California Department of Transportation once again has been reprimanded for its mismanagement and inefficiency in a new California State Auditor report released last week.

The auditor’s review of Caltrans’ maintenance division faulted the department for basing funding decisions on historical budget outlays instead of maintenance needs, failing to track responses to service requests and maintaining “weak cost controls over field maintenance work orders,” which creates “opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse.”

Although the division spent $250,000 in 2009 to develop a budget modeling system to help better score highway maintenance needs so that funds could be allocated more efficiently, it never implemented the system. Worse still, Caltrans lied to the Legislature and reported that it was using the model to distribute funds to its transportation districts.

“The audit basically found that Caltrans doesn’t even track how it spends maintenance money,” state Sen. John ‍Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said in a statement. “This is more evidence that California’s road problems aren’t due to a lack of money, but rather a lack of competence at Caltrans.”

Sen. ‍Moorlach has drawn the ire of Caltrans for highlighting a May 2014 Legislative Analyst’s Office report finding that the department’s Capital Outlay Support program, which provides support services such as project design and management, “generally lacks accountability and is not operating efficiently” and contains 3,500 redundant positions at a cost of more than $500 million a year. He also criticized the department’s management after a State Auditor’s report in August noted that a Caltrans engineer played golf during 55 workdays over a 20-month period.

Caltrans has demonstrated a clear pattern of bloat, inefficiency and mismanagement over the years. A lack of competition has apparently led to its complacency and lack of responsiveness to service requests, not to mention a highway road maintenance backlog that has risen from 11,053 lane miles to 15,272 (38 percent) just since 2011.

There is no reason highway maintenance should be the government’s job. It should be competitively bid to the private sector to lower costs while increasing accountability and service quality.

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