To better align the maintenance division's allocations with districts' maintenance needs, the Legislature should include language in the Budget Act that requires the maintenance division to develop and implement a budget model for field maintenance by June 30, 2017, that takes into account key indicators of maintenance need, such as traffic volume, climate, service scores, and any other factors the maintenance division deems necessary to ensure that the model adequately considers field maintenance need. Once the model is developed, Caltrans should use it to inform appropriate allocations to the districts.
Caltrans has developed the Maintenance Program's Budget Allocation Tool (BAT) as the short-term solution to enhance budget management capabilities after evaluating how to allocate resources for field maintenance activities. The BAT was developed by considering key indicators of need, while balancing mandated activities and historic demands on maintenance resources (snow, emergency response, maintenance service requests, etc.) with a commitment to system preservation. The BAT uses a combination of climate and geographic location, Average Daily Traffic, LOS performance, and inventory data to project future resource needs with performance-level expectations for the ten highest priority field maintenance activities.
The BAT will be fully implemented by June 30, 2017, to develop the FY 2017-18 allocations for the ten highest priority field maintenance activities.
Caltrans continues to work on the new IT system as the long-term solution.
Once completed, we will review the Budget Allocation Tool to assess whether it addresses our recommendation.
Caltrans is moving forward with its short-term solution to manually modify the Level of Service (LOS) internal database taking into account key indicators of maintenance need and calculating the allocations for the ten highest-priority maintenance activities. Caltrans already started using a zone-based approach for guardrail and litter activities in Districts 7 and 8. As planned, the budget allocations will be based on the ten highest priority maintenance activities by June 2017, in order to incorporate them into the district allocations for fiscal year 2017/18.
Additionally, Caltrans developed a Maintenance Activity Performance Plan (MAPP) outlining expectations and accountability requirements for the 12 districts. The MAPP incorporates a zone-based approach for the highest-priority activities and is signed by the Division Chief of Maintenance and each Deputy District Director of Maintenance. For a copy of the MAPP, please see Attachment 1.
Caltrans recently received approval from the California Technology Agency (CTA) to move forward with its long-term solution to develop an allocation tool that uses climate, traffic volumes, and level of service to address the ten highest-priority field maintenance activities. As a result of this approval, Caltrans developed a Request for Information (RFI) to determine the capabilities of available suppliers. As this will be considered a new IT system, it is unknown at this time how long it will take for full implementation.
It should be noted that Caltrans is modifying the short-term solution to implement a robust budget allocation tool including the characteristics associated with the long-term solution as recommended in the audit report.
Caltrans and the California Transportation Agency met to determine the best approach to implement this recommendation. Maintenance management, in consultation with Information Technology (IT) management, determined that the best approach would be to have a short-term solution and a long-term solution due to the length of time it takes to get IT systems approved and implemented. The short-term solution will be to manually modify the Level of Service (LOS) internal database to take into account key indicators of maintenance needs as recommended in the audit report, as well as to calculate the allocations based on the ten highest priority maintenance activities mentioned in the initial response to the draft report. This effort is expected to be done by June 2017 to allow maintenance management to incorporate the ten highest priority activities into the fiscal year 2017-18 district allocations.
The long-term solution may be a robust budgeting and allocation IT system that automates the budget allocation process for the ten highest priority field maintenance activities, and also utilizes key indicators of maintenance needs as recommended in the audit report. Such a system could be a matter of modifying the existing tool, but there is also the possibility that it could be considered a new IT system by the California Technology Agency (CTA), which then would require the CTA's involvement. If the latter is the case, it is unknown at this time how long it will take for this long-term automated budget and allocation system to be fully implemented.
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.