Mass. snow removal funds getting low - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Mass. snow removal funds getting low

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Another winter storm is scheduled to hit the region Tuesday night, and Massachusetts Department of Transportation workers already know they can’t afford to cleanup what Mother Nature will leave behind.

“We’re right up against the maximum amount we are authorized to spend for this fiscal year,” said Michael Verseckes, MassDOT spokesman.

The state of Massachusetts underfunded its snow and ice budget this year.

In 2013, the state spent more than $92 million on snow and ice removal. For 2014, the state allocated less than half that amount, $43 million, with several weeks of winter left nearly all that money is gone.

That means plow drivers won’t get paid until the legislature passes a new bill allocating more money.

Verseckes said it’s too hard to predict snowfall amounts before the winter season so the $43 million starting point is just that. He said the DOT expects to owe plow drivers at the end of the season.

“They will always get paid eventually,” Verseckes said.

However, in Rhode Island, DOT officials say they’re on target financially.

“We’re about halfway through the winter season and we’re about halfway through our budget,” said Joe Baker, of RIDOT.

Baker said RIDOT makes a point to pay plow drivers within a matter of weeks.

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