By Jeremy Los and Miriam Raftery
“Californians can no longer afford to build roads and infrastructure with golden shovels. We need to send the money where the rubber meets the road. Literally.” – Senator Joel Anderson
“Eliminating Caltrans would result in an ineffective and scattered patchwork of local projects, hamper the movement of goods and people, and ultimately hurt our economic competitiveness… During the 2007 wildfires, we partnered with first responders and helped with emergency road repairs and evacuations.” --Matt Rocco, Caltrans
June 27, 2011- State Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) is revved up over his new bill to cut state spending by eliminating the California Transportation Department (Caltrans). SB 851 would shift responsibilities for highway building and maintenance onto local cities and counties, also allowing local governments to outsource to private companies.
Can local communities afford those cost? How will motorists and taxpayers be impacted?
Supporters say the bill would save money and cut waste. Opponents question whether public safety could be jeopardized, particularly in San Diego--where a Grand Jury investigation found roadway conditions "appalling" and where local agencies have relied on Caltrans for quick highway repairs during major wildfires and other disasters.