Schwarzenegger Serious about Reducing Car Fleet. Whither Villaraigosa?

7_20_09_schwarzenegger.jpgPhoto: MSNBC

Anyone that has been reading LA Streetsblog for any period of time knows that we haven’t been shy about criticizing Governor Schwarzenegger for talking a good game about the environment but never asking Californians, including himself, to make any changes in their lives when it comes to transportation.

Well, this time we have to give the Governor his due.  The Times reported over the weekend that in response to a Caltrans report about waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s take-home car program for employees that the Governor is ordering a 15% reduction in the state’s take-home fleet.

“Today I am taking action to get rid of waste and abuse in the state’s vehicle fleet and ordering my administration to reduce the [entire] fleet by 15%, eliminate all wasteful home storage permits and sell surplus cars at our state garage sale next month,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The fleet reduction will save at least $24.1 million the first year, according to the Department of General Services.

Of course, the state response to this Caltrans report shines a harsh light on Los Angeles’ less tough response to a similar report by then-Comptroller Laura Chick showed similar waste earlier this year.  Rather than cutting the fleet to a  more-manageable size, Villaraigosa declared he was “putting the brakes” on abuse by putting a freeze on permits for new staff members and required more paperwork before filling one’s tank for free at city pumps.

But let’s give credit where credit is due, congratulations to Governor Schwarzenegger for taking a stand to save taxpayers millions of dollars and engage in some good transportation policy at the same time.  Now if only we could get him to do something about his jet-commute from L.A. to Sacramento for work or his chauffeured trip across the street from the Capitol to a hotel across the street on days he stays in Sacramento.