Still feeling the heat from media scrutiny over the overall safety of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the state of California is taking a hard look at bringing in an inspector general to oversee transportation operations.
California’s Assembly Transportation Committee approved the move in Senate Bill 878 by a 7-1 count. The bill’s author, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulner (D-Concord) said the reason for the change is a result of a series of Sacramento Bee investigations about how Caltrans monitors its bridgework. The reports centered around the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and also raised doubts about the agency’s bridge-testing oversight.
“We have to create a third party with some authority, outside of the agency, that has expertise,” DeSaulner told the Bee. “It’s really important that the inspector general is independent and has to report to both the administration and the state legislature.”
Currently, Caltrans’ audit and investigation unit examines possible fraud and malfeasance, and reports to the agency director.