Record Snow Removal Costs Despite Less Snow

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013  |  Updated 4:56 PM EDT
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New Jersey set a record for the amount of money it spent on snow removal this year. And it wasn't even a big snowfall winter. Take a look at the numbers.

NBC10.com

New Jersey set a record for the amount of money it spent on snow removal this year. And it wasn't even a big snowfall winter. Take a look at the numbers.

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The Transportation Department spent a record $62 million keeping New Jersey's roads clear of snow this past winter even though less snow fell.

The money spent during the 2012-13 season eclipsed the $56 million spent during the 2010-11 winter.

The state averaged 20.8 inches of snow this winter compared to 44.4 inches in 2010-11.

DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro tells The Star-Ledger of Newark the DOT responded to 37 events, including 24 that required a statewide mobilization.

The state’s “black pavement policy” that calls for crews to get out ahead of storms to keep roads clear contributed to the greater costs.

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"We must prepare to fight snow and ice based on forecasts, before the snow falls or the ice forms," state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing, according to the paper. "We do not wait and hope the forecast is wrong before we call in our crews and the plow contractors to be ready to roll. ... The DOT, under the Christie administration, has a black pavement policy. Nothing less is acceptable. We strive to make sure there is no snow or ice between a rubber tire and the road."

DOT spokesman Joe Dee said the agency can’t afford to wait for snow to accumulate.

"You cannot fight a snowstorm by letting 4 inches fall and then deciding to call in the troops," Dee told the paper.

Officials say nearly half of the money spent involved the 1,700 contractors who help the DOT plow and spread salt. Their average pay increased from $137.62 per truck per hour to $172.15.

The DOT spread nearly three times as much salt as last year.

 


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