long Senate hearing Feb. 6 offered some serious cussin’ and
discussion of California’s plans to fix an ailing truck permit
system. At the end, truckers, regulators and lawmakers agreed
to proceed as a team to fix problems.
moving oversized and overweight loads down California’s highways
is the solemn responsibility of the California Department
of Transportation’s permit division. The division assigns
more than 180,000 routes a year to truckers.
1999, a Caltrans permit writer erred, sending an oversized
load under an Anaheim bridge three inches too low for the
truck’s load. This was actually one of 14 such incidents
in 1999, but this one was a fatality. An audit in 2000 determined
the trucks were misdirected because the permit office was
understaffed. Problems set state regulators and lawmakers
looking for safety reforms and a plan to build an expensive
computer system to automate permits.
to The Orange County Register, the implementation
of these safety reforms were recently threatened. Caltrans
was considering killing plans to continue spending money
on this automated truck-routing system. Representatives from
the California Trucking Association say they have never been
consulted about the development of the automated system they
are supposed to use. In addition, the state’s finance officials
were moving forward with significant staff reductions in
the truck permit division.
situation prompted Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) to take action.
to published reports, Dunn said if Caltrans received the
system and laid off workers, it might not rectify the problem
the system was aiming to fix. Dunn, a member of the Senate’s
Transportation Committee, called a meeting last week to address
automated project will go on, The Register reported
after the hearing, and staff cutbacks will be reconsidered.
In addition, Caltrans says the truckers who use the system
will be brought into the problem-solving process, and their
input will be important.
complete coverage and a time line, visit www.ocregister.com.