Chapter 1: Caltrans Construction Organization, Section 5: Field Expenses and Purchases


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Published: July 2019


Section 5 Field Expenses and Purchases

1-501 General

This section contains guidelines for paying for travel expenses and obtaining goods and services.

1-502 Travel Expenses

The Division of Accounting administers payment for travel expenses that Caltrans employees incur.

Supervisors must ensure employees do not abuse travel expenses. The Caltrans Travel Guide, issued by the Division of Accounting, contains instructions and the policy for submitting travel expense claims.

Pay particular attention to the charging information on travel requests and travel expense claim forms. Employees who attend training or work on task forces must obtain from the group coordinator or leader the correct charging information.

1-503 Miscellaneous Purchases

Whenever possible, obtain supplies and equipment from district warehouses and stockrooms. Use the procedures established in the district for obtaining these supplies. The Division of Procurement and Contracts provides information and guidelines about acquiring the following:

  • Commodities
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Information technology products and services

For items that are unavailable through district warehouses, use commercial vendors. The following two procedures are the most frequently used by field personnel to purchase from such vendors.

1-503A CAL-Cards

CAL-Cards are credit cards used to purchase items that are not available in district warehouses and stockrooms. For guidelines and information about CAL-Cards, refer to the CAL-Card Handbook on the website of the Division of Procurement and Contracts. To use CAL-Cards, follow the procedures established by Procurement and Contracts and the districts.

In general, use the CAL-Card for office and engineering supplies necessary to support the construction project.

1-503B Cash Purchase Transactions

You may make cash purchases of no more than $50 plus tax for the following:

  • Incidental supplies not stocked by the district
  • Minor emergencies, services, or other nontravel outlays

Typical cash purchases include items such as postage stamps and post office box rental fees. Obtain and submit receipts for all cash purchases.

For reimbursement for approved purchases, submit Form FA-0302, “Travel Expense Claim.”

1-504 Service Contracts

The resident engineer uses service contracts to obtain services or rent equipment to fulfill construction engineering obligations. For many services, such as repair of office equipment, a master service contract may be in existence. For other services, such as repair of state-owned buildings used for field offices, obtain a specific service contract. Do not use service contracts to purchase supplies or finished articles.

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