2013-14 Snow Causes VDOT To Blow Winter Budget

Snowplow/Photo Courtesy of VDOT

This snowy winter has had an impact in missed school days for students and missed work days for business owners. It has also greatly impacted the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) snow budget.

VDOT says it will likely exceed its $157 million ($63.7 million for Northern Virginia) snow budget by more than $100 million this season.

However, the agency says it has resources in place from its larger maintenance budget for snow removal, pothole repairs, repaving and other road fixes. 

“Make no mistake, this winter has put a strain on our maintenance budget,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said in a statement. “However, we have sufficient resources to ensure our roads are well-kept and we will continue to be good stewards of public funds. This winter has been rough, but we’re committed to delivering a safe and reliable transportation system. “

Last winter, which was not a particularly snowy one, VDOT budgeted $149 million for snow-removal activities and spent $142 million. The agency used the the remaining money for maintenance. Only 12.7 inches of snow fell in Northern Virginia the entire 2012-13 season.

This season, Northern Virginia got about that much in one storm in mid-February. A typical season sees about 22 inches fall around here.

The additional snow removal costs will be paid out of VDOT’s overall maintenance budget, VDOT said. 

From VDOT:

VDOT is looking ahead at where adjustments can be made to the maintenance budget to compensate for those costs.  With safety always first, VDOT is considering the following adjustments:

  • Extend completion dates of select paving projects
  • Limit use of service contracts (excluding snow removal and pothole patching) and perform needed services with VDOT staff
  • Limit overtime (excluding snow operations/safety related activities)
  • Delay new equipment purchases

“The safety of motorists and our employees is always the first priority,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “Funds will be spent as necessary for snow removal, incident management and other maintenance needs including pothole patching.”

The snow budget is part of VDOT’s overall $1.8 billion maintenance budget for such expenses as pothole repairs, repaving and other activities. VDOT’s $1.4 billion construction budget will not be impacted by snow removal, pothole repair or other maintenance costs.

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