The problem is two-fold. First, projected declines in gas taxes have led to a reduction in the staff size at the Oregon Department of Transportation. At the same time, temporary funding has increased the number of road projects, leading to the use of temporary workers. That means that ODOT inspectors and engineers are frequently spread thin in some areas.
The audit also reveals one-third of the state highway division workforce could retire in the next five years. The Secretary of State’s Office is warning that many of the experienced workers are not teaching younger employees the expertise and skills to oversee road projects and ensure quality.
The audit found that ODOT needs better succession planning to preserve crucial staff expertise during these personnel.