Senate OKs $16.5 million for repairs stemming from truck ramming
SACRAMENTO (AP) – The Senate on Thursday approved the use of $16.5 million in state funds to repair damage caused when a trucker drove his big rig into the south side of the Capitol on Jan. 16.
”It’s a huge price tag but we need to get this done,” Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, said before lawmakers voted 27-5 to approve the appropriation bill.
The damage was caused when truck driver Mike Bowers, 37, of Hemet, drove his truck-and-trailer rig into the Capitol’s south portico
The big rig, carrying evaporated milk, burst into flames, killing Bowers and damaging the building, particularly a Senate committee hearing room.
Damage was initially estimated to be a few million dollars, but state officials said the price tag went up as repairs became more complicated.
Workers had to use special methods to safeguard against mold because water from fire hoses and the building’s sprinkler system had seeped into the basement and walls.
Special care also had to be taken to protect the building’s artifacts against chemicals in the smoke.
The state is hoping to recover the money from Bower’s employer, Dick Simon Trucking of Salt Lake City, or the company’s insurer.
”The state Department of General Services and the attorney general’s office are involved in ongoing discussions with Dick Simon Trucking Co. and its insurance carrier,” said Robb Deignan, a spokesman for the department.
”The state expects these discussions will soon lead to settlement negotiations, thereby avoiding the necessity of litigation.”
The bill, by Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, now goes back to the Assembly, which passed a different version of the measure in March. Assembly approval of the Senate version of the bill would send it to the governor.
On the Net: Read the bill, AB115, at http://www.assembly.ca.gov
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