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Last Updated: 3/1/2010
Budget Issue: Increased federal environmental workload.
Program: Department of Transportation
Finding or Recommendation: Recommend approval and adopt supplemental report language (SRL) requiring Caltrans to provide workload justification for its staffing level for local assistance once a new federal transportation act is authorized.
Further Detail

The budget proposes to increase Caltrans’ budget by $720,000 and 6 positions (including $154,000 in one-time funding) from the State Highway Account for increased federal environmental workload (BCP #12).

The department currently has about 360 positions in its Local Assistance Division. The program’s staff size has grown by about 25 percent since 2005-06 when the current federal transportation act was authorized. During the past five years, staffing increases were provided for the department to handle changes in workload mainly related to new and updated federal requirements. While Caltrans has provided some workload explanation for the incremental increases over the past five years, it has not provided an assessment of how its total workload relates to overall program staffing.

In order to evaluate future requests, such an assessment of the Division’s positions and workload is needed. Thus, we recommend that the department report on its positions and workload for all local assistance activities. Because much of the local assistance workload is tied to the federal transportation program, which is expected to be reauthorized in the next year or two, we recommend the department report on this information after the next federal authorization by Congress. Specifically, we recommend adopting the following SRL:

Local Assistance Workload. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) shall report no later than 180 days after the adoption of a new federal transportation act on the department’s local assistance workload and staffing levels. The report shall include the following:

  •  A baseline review of the department’s local assistance workload, including a listing of major activities performed, the level of resources needed to complete each activity, and how the workload aligns with current staffing levels.
  •  A description of the changes to the local assistance workload from requirements of the new federal act.