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California Governor Wants More Permitting Staff

January 17, 2000

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The California governor wants the state to spend nearly $1 million next year on 15 more workers for the permit department of the California Department of Transportation.

The move comes after a series of routing mistakes led to oversize loads crashing into overpasses, including a fatal accident last July.
An investigation revealed that permit workers made at least 33 such errors in the last four years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Friday, the Times reports, the chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee said she was pleased that Gov. Gray Davis earmarked $901,000 for the Caltrans permitting office. The state Legislature must approve Davis' request this spring as part of the budget-writing process, but transportation officials don't expect much opposition.
State Sen. Joe Dunn is concerned that while Gray's budget includes more money for staffing, there are no funds allocated to upgrade the computers used by the permit office. Caltrans is working on an evaluation of its computer systems. In the past, the agency has estimated it would take at least three years to upgrade to a fully automated system.
Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that at other states have computerized systems that are far ahead of California's manual maps and 60%-complete computer system.

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