Opinion: Caltrans epitomizes big government waste | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Caltrans epitomizes big government waste

Well it is nice to have safe roads to travel on in the Truckee/Tahoe area, but after three consecutive drought years, one has to wonder how this 15 percent budget increase for snow removal came to pass (see the 12-12-14 Sierra Sun article.)

Caltrans hires additional seasonal employees during the winter so it can operate around the clock; working three, eight hour shifts or switching to two, 12-hour shifts during a snow storm when they feel it is necessary to get more equipment out on the road.

During my experience employed as an equipment operator at Caltrans, there was always an effort to burn the budget. Use it or lose it! In other words, if you don¹t spend the money this year, you may get less money next year when you actually might need it.

Apparently this is the way some state agencies operate, rather than putting that money away for a rainy, or in this case snowy, day, or perhaps pass it on to another agency that could put it to use. There are a number of methods that Caltrans uses to burn the budget.

It has occurred to me that the “somebody there in Sacramento” that Stan Richins referred to in the Sun’s article who approved of this expenditure may have looked at what Caltrans spent last year during a near record drought, and decided that they would need much more money if it does actually snow at lake level this year, when in reality, the opposite is true.

With no record of reliably accurate accountability, this could very well be the logical conclusion that the “somebody there in Sacramento” had.

So, will Caltrans have an additional $10.6 million to flush annually? And that’s just in this district! This scenario epitomizes dysfunctional big government waste.

Neil Pankler


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