Two of the state's largest departments spent more than $5.5 million on new cars and trucks this year only to leave them idle and gathering dust for months.
One department still has pickup and larger trucks parked in its yard that it bought during 2006, 2007 and 2008, a Bee investigation found. The vehicles are awaiting final assembly and are undeployed.
The departments bought more vehicles as lawmakers slashed state spending, cut state worker pay and eliminated key public services after tax revenue plunged and they needed to balance the budget.
The Department of General Services spent $1.2 million on 50 new hybrid Toyota Prius sedans in February, with state agencies committed to buying only 13 of them, state purchasing records show.
The Bee found and photographed the cars on the top floor of the state garage near the Capitol, where they were parked for months. All were moved after The Bee asked about them.
General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux said the cars are being converted and used in a California Energy Commission pilot project for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. That will cost taxpayers an additional $612,500.
The Department of Transportation has spent $4.3 million since February to buy new trucks and dump-truck bodies, including a $1.7 million flurry of orders June 30 – the last day of the state's fiscal year.
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