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Millions for IT Work in Governor’s Caltrans Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year would fund several technology initiatives and deliver an overall increase to the California Department of Transportation.

The California state Capitol building on a sunny day.
California State Capitol
One of the state’s most recognizable transportation entities would receive a nearly 6 percent increase from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget, with funding for several technology projects.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would see its portion of the state’s overall budget rise from $16.5 billion in FY 2023-24 to $17.5 billion in FY 2024-25 in Newsom’s budget, a 6 percent increase. (All numbers in this article are rounded.) Caltrans would also see its authorized positions rise by 172, from 22,413 in FY 2023-24 to 22,585 in FY 2024-25. Newsom’s budget, which lawmakers will consider this winter and spring, would also fund projects with IT components:
  • $13.5 million and 34 positions for planning to onboard to the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal). That’s precisely the amount Caltrans has requested in a budget change proposal (BCP), including $4.9 million for 34 limited-term positions in FY 2024-25 and $8.5 million in operating expenses — $8.2 million of that being professional consulting services — to support its transition and onboarding to FI$Cal. Caltrans’ existing commercial off-the-shelf enterprise resource planning system, Advantage v3.7, is no longer supported and at end-of-life. FI$Cal did a functional business performance fit/gap analysis in May 2020 and indicated its system could meet Caltrans’ critical needs in financial management and business operation. The BCP will provide Caltrans the resources it needs to work closely with FI$Cal to continue onboarding and do master department workplan tasks.
  • $12.8 million for enterprise data storage expansion. In a BCP, Caltrans seeks $12.9 million in FY 2024-25 and $10.2 million in FY 2025-26 and ongoing for expansion of data storage, protecting and maintaining equipment and completing network infrastructure upgrades, enabling efficient access to very large data sets around the state at set locations. The department notes in its request that no consistent funding currently exists, with the exception of FY 2022-23 funding, to pay for projected FY 2024-25 data storage needs and to enable the yearly expansion of storage and data protection. Program data volumes, Caltrans indicates, are going up annually, due to the increasing number of transportation projects and the increasing use of technology for data and image collection — bringing higher-density images and larger file sizes. The BCP, it said, will continue to fund a sustainable data storage and data protection program for the department’s current and long-term needs.
  • $11.8 million and 24 positions for the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP), Data and Digital Services Division. In a BCP, Caltrans seeks $11.8 million — $3.9 million in personal services, $220,000 in complimentary operating expenses and $7.6 million for consulting services — plus the 24 permanent positions, for the California Integrated Mobility Program. The funding will institutionalize Cal-ITP and pay for building out a Data and Digital Services Division. Per the BCP, the funding will enable a greater degree of unity, equity, aggregation, simplification and modernity among the entities in a sprawling, complex statewide transportation ecosystem, and for their customers.
  • $7.7 million for an enterprise data governance technology solution implementation. In a BCP, Caltrans seeks the funding in FY 2024-25 from the State Highway Account for consulting services, equipment and software during the first year of the Enterprise Data Governance Technology Solution implementation. The request will fund activities around implementing an enterprise set of data governance and management tools, to be made available for all Caltrans staff. Implementing an enterprise set of tools to enable a robust approach to data management, the BCP says, is consistent with the California State Data Strategy and in direct alignment with the mission of the Office of the Chief Data Officer — namely, empowering the use of data by ensuring the state has the infrastructure, processes and people to manage, access and use data efficiently, effectively and securely.
  • $4.2 million and eight positions for transportation network system replacement (TNSR). In a BCP, Caltrans requests the eight positions and $4.2 million in FY 2024-25 to meet federal and state mandates to have a safety data system by developing the TNSR. Per the BCP, it will meet Caltrans’ mission to “provide a safe and reliable transportation network that serves all people and respects the environment.” The robust, new enterprise-level safety data system will offer storage for the MIRE FDE data, support advanced safety analysis and performance measures to improve roadway safety, and reduce fatalities and injuries. The funding sought includes a one-time system development cost of $2 million and a system operations and maintenance cost of $737,000, to be paid from the State Highway Account for Transportation System Network Replacement.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.