Orange County: Epic Levels of Waste, Fraud and Abuse of Gas Tax Funds Exposed in Caltrans and Local Transportation Agencies

Orange County: Epic Levels of Waste, Fraud and Abuse of Gas Tax Funds Exposed in Caltrans and Local Transportation Agencies

With the election just weeks away, the Yes on Prop 6 Gas Tax Repeal Campaign today released government documents and records showing numerous examples of “epic levels”of waste, fraud and abuse of gas tax funds and other taxpayer resources at Caltrans and Orange County’s local transportation agencies.

The records and documents were obtained through the California Public Records Act (CPRA) process – and cover only materials received back from Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). Other local government agencies also receive and spend gas tax funds – raising the question of how many more examples of waste of gas tax funds exist in Orange County.

“These examples of outrageous waste of the gas tax and other taxpayer resources provide the best reason to vote YES on Prop 6 the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative,” said Carl DeMaio, chairman of the campaign.

“Our existing gas tax funds are being wasted and we demand that these revelations of bloated bureaucracies, excessive salaries and compensation, and outrageous expenditures be immediately reformed before we give these people any more of our taxpayer dollars,” noted DeMaio.

Finding 1: Outrageous Roadside Sign Expenses

Everyone is seeing a variety of Caltrans and local transportation signs pop up along the freeways declaring “Your Tax Dollars at Work.” The signs are stirring controversy as a thinly veiled attempt to campaign against Prop 6 using taxpayer funds.

Just how much do these signs cost taxpayers? OCTA issued a “Change Order” for the I-405 freeway project signs that led to the increase cost of $32,644.25 – or a total cost of 6,528.85 for EACH sign! All the contractor had to do is design, produce and install five roadside signs that said “OC-GO ‘Your Tax Dollars at Work’”

Finding 2: The $100,000 Club – Government Employees Earning 6-Figure Salaries from Gas Tax

Orange County Transportation Authority: OCTA has more forty-three of its employees earning $100,000 or more with the average compensation of all employees at $105,560. OCTA’s CEO is getting $519,201 in annual compensation. Unlike any other regional transportation agency we studied, OCTA has 15 employees earning over $300,000 in compensation alone!

Caltrans: More than half (57%) of the Caltrans employees earns $100,000 or more per year – with 11,256 Caltrans employees pulling in $100,000 or more. For every “active” project at Caltrans, there are more than six members of the $100,000 Club! The average compensation at Caltrans is a whopping $113,554 a year.

Finding 3: Are You Kidding Me Club? Outrageous Compensation Well Above Local Labor Market

The politicians will try to argue that the $100,000 Club is arbitrary and the reason why so many government employees are earning six-figures is because of the “special skills” they possess. In a complete refutation to this spin, this review uncovered some shockingly high compensation packages for lower-skilled positions.

Executive Assistant: OCTA is paying an Executive Assistant $173,808 in compensation each year – and six Executive Assistants are making $100,000 or more each. Man, those bosses must be real hard to work for!

Equipment Parts Clerk: OCTA is paying an Equipment Parts Clerk $134,040 in compensation each year. The guys at Auto-Zone are jealous!

Bus Drivers: OCTA is paying a “Coach Operator” $133,460 in compensation each year – and another 113 of the other bus drivers at OCTA also rake in over $100,000 each

Finding 4: Excessive Purchases with Gas Tax Funds

Furniture Movers: OCTA issued a contract for a whopping $240,000 to Western Office for the purchase, installation, reconfiguration and maintenance of office furniture.

Finding 5: Bloated Bureaucracies

LAO Says Caltrans Over-staffed by at least 1000 positions in one program alone!

The Capital Outlay Support (COS) Program has over 10,319 positions, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office on September 17, 2018 reported “the program is overstaffed by more than 1000 positions!”

Despite this Caltrans has recently announced plans to hire more staff!

Engineering Failure: Caltrans has 7,494 “Engineers” – that’s more than three Engineers for every active project!

“These outrageous examples of waste of our gas tax funds is proof that voters cannot trust California government agencies with even a penny more of their money until efficiency and accountability reforms can clean up these excessive expenditures,” said Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Yes on Prop 6 Gas Tax Repeal Campaign. “Voters can send a strong message by voting YES on Prop 6 to repeal the costly and unfair gas and car tax hikes,” DeMaio concluded.