California Department of Transportation

Right Column


The transportation system in California is one of the state’s greatest assets, unmatched in size,capacity, and convenience to the traveling public. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)is the public agency responsible for designing, building, operating and maintaining California’s state highway system, which consists of freeways, highways, expressways, toll roads and the area between the road and property line

Caltrans is subdivided into twelve business units called Districts that form the geographic whole of California. Each District has jurisdictional responsibility related to a county or a group of counties, and is led by a District Director who is authorized by State law to carry out responsibilities related to state highways within the District. That delegation of authority is from the Caltrans Director in Sacramento, a statutory state government officer who is appointed by the governor and confirmedby the state senate.

Caltrans District 12 encompasses the entirety of Orange County and was established by the California State Legislature in 1988. The jurisdictional boundaries of the District, Orange County, encompass a metropolitan area of 794 square miles, including 34 cities and 3 million people (as of 2009), and is crisscrossed by 17 state highway routes. To provide for the transportation needs of the traveling public, District 12 maintains and operates 279 route miles of highway and 226 directional miles of full time High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes, one of the largest HOV lane networks in California.

The revenue that funds Caltrans is the fuel tax collected on fuel sales. The revenue is distributed by mathematical formulas; some set by state law, some by Caltrans’ policy. District 12’s annual budget is determined by those formulas, and with dollars used to fund expenses related to office facilities, payroll and benefits, capital construction and equipment.